BY MOSES MATENGA
VETERAN Alpha Media Holdings journalist Conway Tutani has died. Tutani passed away on Monday afternoon at his Houghton Park home in Harare aged 67.
His wife, Isabel, yesterday told NewsDay that his death came as a shock to the family as he died with a tablet (phone) in his hands, an indication that he was writing something.
“He was well all this while and we even drove around as he wanted to buy something from NetOne. I also went out to buy something and when I came back home at 2pm, he was lying on the ground as if he had fallen. He was writing something and he had a tablet in his hands,” she said.
“COVID-19 tests were carried out today (yesterday) and we expect results to be out today. He is likely to be buried tomorrow (Thursday) if the tests come out negative for COVID-19.”
On Monday, Tutani appeared well. He also reported for work to produce The Standard weekly newspaper. He was a renowned wordsmith, and columnist for NewsDay. Yesterday, the media fraternity described his death as a loss to the country and the journalism fraternity as he was a dedicated scribe.
AMH editor-in-chief Wisdom Mdzungairi, who also worked with Tutani at The Herald described him as a solid journalist who was keen on quality.
“I worked with Tutani at Zimpapers and so when I joined NewsDay in 2010, it was at our recommendation that the then editor-in-chief Vincent Kahiya hired him to achieve the quality that we aspired for as a newspaper. He put systems in place to ensure we achieved the quality that we so much desired. His death has left a huge void and it is a tragedy that he is gone.
“He was level-headed and coupled with his shrewdness and keenness for quality, it didn’t take time for him to be promoted to assistant editor. He would write incisive opinions that endeared him to readers. He would not shy away from writing controversial issues and we would always share so much about what to focus next. He mentored many young journalists. Journalism is more poorer without him.”
The Standard editor Kholwani Nyathi said Tutani was a great inspiration to young journalists.
”I first worked with Tutani at NewsDay in 2013 where he was a senior proofreader. We were to meet again at The Standard in 2018 where he held a senior position. He was always professional and was a great inspiration for young journalists in the newsroom. Tutani held strong views on certain issues that might be viewed by others as controversial, but he never allowed that influence to take precedence whenever he carried out his duties. His untimely demise is a huge blow, not only to the AMH family, but to the whole journalism fraternity in Zimbabwe.”
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa also said Tutani’s death was a blow to the profession.
“Mr Tutani boasts of an illustrious career in the media industry spanning four decades, beginning in 1981. Throughout this period, he distinguished himself as a meticulous proofreader, who would later evolve into a columnist of note,” Mutsvangwa said.
Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum national co-ordinator Njabulo Ncube said: “It is another sad day for journalism in Zimbabwe. We have lost doyens of the profession. Foster Dongozi, Sandra Nyaira, Tawanda Gudhlanga and now Tutani has died. God please spare us as journalists.”
Born in July 1954, Tutani, a holder of a Bachelor of Administration degree from the University of Zimbabwe, worked for government at independence as an executive officer before joining Zimpapers in 1981 where he worked as head proofreader till 1999.
He became The Herald’s deputy chief sub-editor from 2004 to 2010. In 2010 he then joined AMH as a proofreader from 2012 to 2018 and he was promoted to Assistant Editor for NewsDay. Thereafter, he was transferred to The Standard where he worked as a proofreader till his untimely death. He is survived by wife lsabel and four children.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists also paid condolences to Tutani. “Zuj would like to pay its deepest condolences to the Tutani family, friends and journalism community following the sudden death of journalist and writer Conway Tutani,” Zuj said in a statement, thanking Tutani for his lengthy service in the profession.
Kahiya said Tutani was a rare breed among writers.
“I learnt with sadness last night of the passing on of Conway Tutani. I recruited Conway in 2010 as a reader when we launched NewsDay,” Kahiya said.
“A man gifted with spotting errors and perfecting copy, he soon became a columnist with a big following on the leader page in NewsDay on Fridays.
“Later in life, he changed a lot in perspective and in demeanour. We differed considerably in public spheres and in private engagements, but maintained mutual respect for one another.”
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