MUSI - A doyen of black journalism

OBED Karage Musi, 72, one of the doyens of black journalism, who died of cancer on Christmas Day will be buried today.

Musi died at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. His death came two months after the death of his wife Ruth. He was born in Stirtonville, Boksburg, in 1938.

Musi matriculated at St Peter's College in Rosettenville under the tutelage of Father Trevor Huddleston, one of the Community of the Resurrection fathers who was a vocal opponent of the apartheid regime.

ANC stalwart the late Oliver Tambo also taught at the college.

His journalistic career spanned 40 years and included stints at Sapa and various publications including Drum, Golden City Post, The World, Ilanga lase Natal, Voice, Daily Dispatch and City Press.

He also contributed to various publications including The Star and Spirit magazine.

Musi studied law at the University of the North (Turfloop) in the 1970s but he could not complete his studies due to unrest at the university.

He worked with legendary writers such as Can Themba, Henry Nxumalo, Nat Nakasa, Doc Bikitsha, Enoch Duma, Casey Motsitsi, Joe Thloloe and many others of his generation.

He also had a close professional association with Phil Mthimkhulu, Jubi Mayet, Sophie Tema, Nomavenda Mathiane, Stanley Motjuwadi, Benjamin Pogrund, Patrick Mackenzie and many other celebrated journalists.

Among his protégés were a number of prominent journalists including Jon Qwelane, Arthur Molisiwa and Father Jo Mdhlela.

Some of the leading stories he covered included the Coalbrook disaster of the late 1950s, the Pondoland revolt of 1959 and the Sharpeville Massacre where he was seriously wounded when a bullet lodged in his stomach.

He will be remembered for his sense of humour, using his pen to laugh at the absurdities of South African politics.

Musi was part of the early seminal generation of black writers of the early 50s. He was one of the panel of judges at the Mondi-Shanduka Awards in 2009.

He had just completed a guide to township lingua franca Glossary of Tsotsi Taal. At the time of his death he was completing his memoirs.

He also had a passion for jazz and was a serious clarinet player. He was a dedicated Christian.

His funeral takes place today from 8.30am at the Family Worship Church, 186 West Central Street, Dawn Park, Boksburg. The cortege leaves for the Rondebult Cemetery at 10.30am.

He is survived by his siblings, John and Isabel Musi, and his five children.

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