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Media fraternity mourns journalists’ deaths, Jermaine Craig, and Jeffrey Zikhali

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The late Jermaine Craig; photo: google


04 December 2023

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is saddened by the untimely passing of two seasoned journalists, Jermaine Craig and Jeffrey Zikhali.

Jermaine’s family confirmed that he collapsed while at the gym on Monday, 4 December 2023. He was rushed to the Sandton Medi Clinic so that he can be assisted, where all efforts failed. SANEF, and the entire media industry, passes its condolences to the Michelle, the children, friends and colleagues, and the rest of the Craig family.

Tshamano Makhadi, SANEF’s Treasurer General, said: “I met Jermaine in the early 2000s while working for eNCA, he was at The Star, and we would regularly exchange notes.

“In 2003, Jermaine was assigned to cover the fight between boxers Floyd Mayweather and Phillip Ndou in Michigan, US. This was a big boxing bout of the two champions who were a mirror of each other – born the same year and attended their first Olympic Games in 1996 in Atlanta in the presence of Mohammad Ali.”

“It was a big showdown with Phillip receiving the backing of eminent persons like President Nelson Mandela, George Foreman, Sylvester Stallone, and many others. This fight would have changed the fortunes of SA’s boxing with Phillip already tipped for the HBO contract. Jermaine knew all of this and was the only SA journalist on that trip…  He had all access to both camps and A-listers in the US,” recalled Makhadi.

Makhadi continued: “I called Jermaine last year to discuss a documentary film I was working on that involves Phillip and Floyd. He availed himself for research and as a character to tell the story.

“Production has just concluded, and he is featured as one of the key characters to drive the story. The doccie is scheduled for TX in January 2024,” Makhadi concluded.

Themba Sepotokele, a former journalist and member of the Press Council, remembers Jermaine as one of the “approachable and affable” colleagues in the media.

Sepotokele said he was the alma mater at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, formerly Peninsula Technikon. He later joined Saturday Star as a soccer writer. “He frequently visited The Star newsroom to chat about developments around football. Together with another brilliant writer, Matshelane Mamabolo, they brought life into football writing for Independent Media,” Sepotokele said.

“For some reason, we referred to each other as “Sbali”, brother-in-law … we later crossed paths during the 2010 FIFA World Cup showpiece, the first to be held on African soil,” he recalled.

Sepotokele worked closely with Jermaine as part of the Gauteng 2010 Communications Team, and he was working with veteran journalist Ray Mkhondo in profiling the World Cup on behalf of the Local Organising Committee.

“Throughout his career, Jermaine remained grounded and his passion for football saw him land different positions,” Sepotokele said.

SANEF has also heard of the sad, brutal killing of Jeffrey Zikhali (59), the former eNCA and SABC sports anchor journalist. Jeffrey was killed during the weekend during an alleged hijacking in Ndabayakhe, Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal. Jeffrey was also a former government communicator.

SANEF extends its deepest condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues within the industry.

Note to Editors:

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists, and journalism trainers from all areas of South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics, and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research, and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.

 For more information please contact:

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Nwabisa Makunga – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 555-1972

Dr. Glenda Daniels – SANEF Acting Secretary-General 083) 229-9708

Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621

Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Heather Robertson – SANEF Acting Gauteng Convenor (083) 308 5618

Rochelle De Kock – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (072) 969-8028

Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.sanef.org.za