#RIPXolaniGwala: Remembering the veteran broadcaster
A year ago, Sowetan S Mag had the honour of featuring Xolani Gwala on the cover. At the time, this was a huge feat, and fitting profile for our Celebrations issue. XG, as he was fondly known, had just returned to radio after a long battle against cancer.
At the beginning of our shoot, Xolani was reserved, not sure about all the outfits we wanted to put him in. But by the end, he was comfortable, chatty and openly sharing about his long and arduous battle.
As we mourn his passing today, we celebrate his memory with some of what he shared with us at a time when he was full of hope.
INTERVIEW WITH XOLANI GWALA, November 2018
What has been your highlight of 2018?
Going back to work after almost a year of battling in hospital. It was extremely emotional: it was a tough day, but in the end it was all just so beautiful.
What has been your biggest lesson?
That nothing is guaranteed in life:anything can happen. You can be very healthy the one day and the next day you are very ill. Nobody says that because you are ill you can’t recover, but recovery is not guaranteed.The lesson is to live every moment — to enjoy every moment.
Describe your perfect celebration.
I suppose time spent with my entire family, chatting, talking nonsense among ourselves — somewhere away from the city. I grew up in Impendle: that is where proper celebrations happen. It may be a feast, but it’s more than that. It’s more than what you eat:it is just about what you share — the positive energy you share among yourselves and just the happiness of being together.
If you could know the absolute truth to one question,what would it be?
I could ask a question about health: like what is the best way to avoid, uhh… You know, it’s not even about not wanting to die or anything like that. It is just about knowing how to live your best life.
What is the one saying you say the most?
So.I say “so” a lot.
What is your hidden talent?
If I tell you then someone may say I must demonstrate, but, ja, I can sing.
What are you grateful for in 2018 and what is your wish for the new year?
I am grateful for life, I’m grateful for my family, I’m grateful for friends. In the new year I just hope to live. Sometimes, all you need is the basics: being able to wake up and face another day.
What’s next for XG?
With my condition, you really have to take things one day at a time. So longer life: that’s what I hope for.
This article first appeared in print in the Sowetan S Mag December 2018 edition.
Radio 702 host Xolani Gwala has died. His family confirmed the news to the station on November 1 2019. Gwala had been battling colon cancer. The radio veteran announced in 2017 that he would be off air as he fought the disease. In July 2018, Radio 702 revealed that Gwala was in remission and recovering well. He returned to the airwaves the following month for a short time, thanking friends, family and fans for their support. Shocked fans flooded social media with tributes to the star on 1 November 2019.