18 April 2023
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) mourns the passing of two SABC journalists in Limpopo and Free State as well as former EWN reporter in the Western Cape.
Just days apart the journalism fraternity has lost SABC News Free State editor Teboho Letshaba, veteran SABC News Sepedi Radio Current Affairs Producer and Presenter Matome Maupi in Limpopo, and former EWN reporter in Cape Town, Graig-Lee Smith. The 40-year-old Letshaba passed away in his sleep at his apartment in Bloemfontein on 4 April 2023 and was buried over the past weekend.
SABC News’ Head of Input, Angie Kapelianis described Letshaba as versatile, brilliant, and dedicated to education and his work.
The multi-award-winning journalist joined the SABC Bloemfontein newsroom in 2008 and held various positions. He also authored at least five Sesotho books, of which one was turned into a theatre production.
Kapelianis said they were still expecting more from him. “He was disciplined. He was a quiet and thoughtful guy. To Teboho’s family, we feel for you. We are with you… To Teboho, sleep well, go well,” said Kapelianis.
Mandla Mbusi, provincial operations manager at the broadcaster, said: “We are trying to cope with the grief and loss of Letshaba. He would bring you current affair stories, real stories affecting people lives. We have lost a giant in the media industry and as the broadcaster.”
SANEF also mourns the death of 52-year-old veteran Sepedi Radio Current Affairs Producer and Presenter Matome Maupi who passed away on the evening of 13 April 2023 after losing a battle against lung cancer. He’d been sick and on leave since January.
Maupi started his radio current affairs career at Mohodi Community Radio and joined the SABC as the host of popular Current Affairs show Hlokwa La Tsela on Thobela FM in the early 2000s, where he was loved for his robust interaction with politicians and officials when tackling service delivery issues affecting communities in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and Gauteng.
Maupi’s former colleague, Thipa Selala, described him and a great mentor, teacher, and as a walking Sepedi encyclopaedia.
“When I joined the SABC in 2007 he was tasked with training me. He was a diligent man; his cheerful personality will be missed. He was energetic and worked like a man possessed with extraordinary vision. He had exceptional courage and unmatched passion for radio. May God rest his soul.”
SABC regional manager Oupa Mamabolo said; “We are bereft of words of comfort as Matome Maupi was one of a kind- an intersection of assertiveness and humility packed in a human being.”
SANEF is also saddened to learn that former EWN reporter in Cape Town, Graig-Lee Smith passed away on Sunday evening.
Former colleague Crystal Orderson described Smith as passionate and energetic since their student days at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
“He wanted to make a difference in telling stories about communities. He went to speak to rural women and in the Cape Flats who lost children due to violence.
“Graig-Lee hated sitting in the office and loved going to communities and telling their stories,” she said.
Smith joined e-tv Openview team as a producer. He was later appointed as Programme Manager at RSG- the main and oldest Afrikaans radio station- where he ensured the station reflected full diversity of Afrikaans speakers from Kuruman to Mitchells’ Plain to Johannesburg.
“He had a knack to get people to tell him how they feel, and he was able to bring those stories to 702, 567 Cape Talk, KFM in the Western Cape and 947 in Johannesburg. As a multi-faceted journalist, he was also a stand in news reader, helping when we needed a voice to read news bulletins,” said Orderson.
SANEF sends condolences to the families of these broadcasting giants, and colleagues. Their death is a great loss to the media fraternity, and they will be sorely missed.
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
Qaanitah Hunter – SANEF Secretary-General
Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621
Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134
Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334
Dr. Glenda Daniels – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (083) 229-9708
Rochelle De Kock – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (072) 969-8028
Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695
Email: [email protected]