Xolani Gwala was a non-imposing but firm, well-respected media broadcaster whose ideas were evidently comprehensive, helping the Sadmon team coin one of the most successful Campaigns.

Sadmon – a social impact agency, had the honour of working with Xolani Gwala during the 2018 National Cancer Campaign of the National Department of Health and partners. Xolani was one of the Campaign Champions alongside other survivors and advocates of the cause. He provided his oratory dexterity and communications impetus much needed for a campaign less popular in the Public Health Communications circles. During our engagements, he made it clear that the agenda needed to be very clear because Cancer is a growing national health and socio-economic concern of South Africa.

We all had to grasp on the go that, there were increasing cancer incidences, high death rates and significant morbidity experienced by cancer survivors. As the campaign coordinators, ours was to ensure that the issue gets elevated through communications. Rightly so, the strategy was to be concerned with creating awareness, educating patients and the general public about cancer, i.e. its causes, prevention, care, and treatment as well as services. Xolani expressly advocated for improved service and access. He asserted that communications will be in vain if these elements were left wavering. This helped convince client that we needed to elevate focus to incorporate empowerment and provision of educational support to healthcare workers and care givers, an interchange that became an integral part of our communications deliverables.

Our working with Xolani helped add elements of extensive consultation with stakeholders. A media roundtable was coordinated, which was subsequently followed by a social mobilization drive in the uMgungundlovu area where the National Cancer Campaign was to be launched. Our creative anxieties became a communications blithe for the campaign. We saw it apposite to coordinate, establish and strengthen relationships through alignment of services offered by partners so that we are true to comprehensiveness of the campaign.

It became a sobering experience to draw on Xolani’s weight and experience, a non-imposing but firm, well-respected media broadcaster whose ideas were evidently comprehensive, helping coin one of the most successful interventions. His resilience and willpower to fight through the illness was encouraging to all. Xolani contributed to de-stigmatisation of cancer, especially among Black African communities and men in particular. Post his public announcement of his stage 4 colon cancer in September 2017, we saw a large number of other individuals coming to the fore to contribute to the body of advocacy against cancer.

It is, therefore, befitting that Sadmon belatedly pays our tribute to the father, the husband, and son of the soil. As time continues to heal our wounds, our social impact agency joins the family and nation to mourn and come to terms with this harsh reality of losing one of the uncommon broadcast African germs.

His immense contribution to the broadcast fraternity will leave beyond our time. His oratory skills and impeccable journalism remains a treasure for generations to come. Sadmon Social Impact Agency banks on the potent affirmation by the erstwhile Martin Luther King Jr., in his Eulogy for the Martyred Children that, “death is not a period that ends the great sentence of life, but a comma that punctuates it to more lofty significance. Death is not a blind alley that leads the human race into a state of nothingness, but an open door which leads man into life eternal”.

Not only is Xolani solemnly missed in the airwaves, event platforms, his home, and community. The void will forever linger because the cancer cause has been dealt a knock-back. However, the push he left behind, shall endure. Indeed, he was the broadcasting icon and campaigner for cancer awareness and improved service.

Lala ngoxolo Khondlwane, Majiya ka-Mshika. Hamba kahle, Mphephethwa. Oh! Time will tell…

Sadmon is a social impact agency established in 2016 and is 100% black-owned. Its offices are in Marshalltown, Johannesburg. The agency is conscientious and developmental organisation that has been in existence for 13 uninterrupted years. It is registered and enjoy full membership and good standing with ACA and SACCI.