VETERAN journalist and author William (Bill) Sylvester Saidi died in his ancestral home, Zambia, yesterday.
He was 79.
His daughter, Liz Saidi Ben, broke the news on her Facebook page.
In a moving brief eulogy, Liz wrote: “My heart bleeds, tata, you have decided to leave us and be with your maker. I love you and will miss you terribly, my father and one of my greatest role models.”
At the time of his death, Saidi had retired from full-time journalism, although he often contributed in local newspaper columns.
Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe chapter director, Nhlanhla Ngwenya described Saidi’s death as a great loss to the media fraternity.
“His passing-on is quite a sad loss for the media industry. Our pain is softened by the fact that Saidi shared a part of his life in his memoirs that can also be read by posterity. We worked with him in our project — Journalist in Residence — where he wrote his biography,” Ngwenya said.
Saidi started his journalism career during the Rhodesian era and seamlessly switched between private and State-controlled media after independence.
As a seasoned writer and journalist, Saidi had his work published in Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia and in several news magazines such as African Parade, New Writing from Zambia, Okike and Negro Digest.
Some of his works were also published in various anthologies such as Voices of Zambia, and Norton’s Introduction to Literature (2010).
Saidi authored novels that include The Hanging (1978), Return of the Innocent (1979), Day of The Baboons (1988), Gwebede’s Wars (1989), and The Brothers of Chatima Road (1990).
He also wrote Who’s Who in Zimbabwe (1991) and a memoir A Sort of Life in Journalism (2011).
Funeral arrangements had not yet been announced yesterday, although it is highly likely that Saidi will be buried in Zambia, his ancestral home.