PROMINENT Pan Africanist, academic and journalist Thomas Deve has died. He was 52.
His son, Takunda, said the veteran civic society activist-cum-jourrnalist succumbed to cardiac arrest yesterday morning after attending a musical show at the Book Café on Saturday night.
“He had gone for a Transit Crew show at the Book Café and they came home around 11 o’clock. My mother only discovered around 6:30am that he was not breathing and we called in an ambulance, but it was too late,” he said.
Takunda said prior to his death, Deve had not shown any serious health problems except occasional complaints about chest pains.
Deve will be remembered for steering heated but sober academic and social debates, a feat which earned him respect over a cross section of society.
Deve worked at several regional and local think tanks and media houses, among them Sapes Trust, the now-defunct Zimbabwe Mirror, The Daily News, Red Fox Chase Hotel and Step Ahead Productions.
At the time of his death, he was a development consultant with Deep Roots Foundation, specialising in public relations and communications.
By midday yesterday, Deve’s Facebook wall was awash with condolence messages pouring in from fellow journalists and civic society colleagues.
Journalist Robert Tapfumaneyi, who was Deve’s friend for many years, wrote: “Thomas Deve, friend, advisor, voice of reason, strategic thinker, ally: did you have to go so soon? You ran an amazing race and stood firmly and resolutely in your belief . . . a true social justice hero.”
Ivin Lombardt from Namibia said he was devastated by Deve’s death, which came as a shock.
“Is this really true? I am shocked and devastated on hearing the news of your passing. Thomas, you fought for social justice and freedom on the African [continent]. It is a pity this did not happen during your lifetime but the struggle continues. Rest in Peace, my brother,” he said.
“You dedicated your life to this continent and to social justice. You leaving behind an enormous legacy,” Lerato Tsebe said.
Deve is survived by wife, Bernadette, three daughters and a son.
Mourners are gathered at 7982 Cheetah Road, Zimre Park, Harare, and by last night burial arrangements were yet to be finalised.