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SANEF Mourns the Passing of Journalism Giant Juby Mayet

15 April 2019

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is saddened to learn of the passing of veteran journalist Juby (Zubeida) Mayet. She passed away Saturday morning at the age of 82.

Born in Freitas (Vredesdorp) in 1937, Mayet a founder and treasurer of the Union of Black Journalists (UBJ) was detained for four months under the apartheid government’s Internal Security Act and banned for 5 years, suffering continued police harassment and surveillance.

Former colleague and press ombudsman Joe Tholoe paid tribute to this “giant of South African journalism” and “freedom writer” who stood shoulder to shoulder with the male counterparts of her time. She wrote for a range of progressive publications including City Post, Drum, The Voice as well as in the UBJ Bulletin Asizuthula and The Worker. She was also a member of the Writers’ Association of South Africa.

Thloloe said, “Juby was a member of the elite Drum journalists that included the Can Thembas, the Casey Motsisis, the Es’kia Mphahleles, Bloke Modisanes and other leading lights of black journalism. When I worked with her at Post and Drum, what struck me most was the way she refused to be detached from the subjects of her stories, she felt their pain.


“I remember driving with her in a hired bakkie to Pampierstad in the Northern Cape, carrying clothing, food and other materials she had collected to donate to the people who were forcibly removed from their homes and dumped in a tent town. This trip was a follow-up to the story of the removals that we had covered the week before,” added Tholoe.


Mayet’s journalism career in brief:


  • Joined Jim Baileys Golden City Post in 1957.
  • She worked at Drum Magazine – 1962-1970.
  • She worked as a columnist for True Love in 1974.
  • In 1976 (after the student uprisings) she was among those who founded The Voice – a political weekly newspaper where she served as Deputy Editor.
  • In 1978 she was detained and banned for 5 years.

Mayet will be remembered for her contribution to journalism at a time when there were few women in the profession. She covered the big stories – including that of the famous “Drum Decade” of the 1950s. She witnessed the 1955 adoption of the Freedom Charter; she was in the field covering the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 and she witnessed the rise of the Black Consciousness Movement of the 1970s.


Our condolences to her family and friends.


For more information contact: 

Mahlatse Mahlase – SANEF Chairperson, 083 399 2852

Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director 082 926 6404

Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Gauteng Convenor 071 682 3695


Joe Thloloe – SANEF member and veteran journalist – 083 791 1792