A dark cloud has fallen on the Malawi media fraternity following the death of veteran journalist Lloyd Zawanda.
Zawanda who was until his death station manager for Joy Media Group died at Blantyre Adventist Hospital on Tuesday evening following a short illness.
Scores of journalists put their pens down and gathered at late Zawanda’s residence in Chitawira Township, Blantysre to pay their last respect and escort him to his final resting place in Traditional Authority (T/A) Chilowamatambe in Kasungu where his body will be buried on Thursday.
In his eulogy, deputy board chairperson for Joy Media Group Anthony Kasunda expressed shock over what he called the sudden death of Zawanda.
He explained that Zawanda was rushed to the hospital after being found unconscious in his room on Tuesday morning.
“He was to leave for South Africa for a meeting on Tuesday, but when the driver went to pick him for the airport, he was told he did not come out of his room. This is when they forced themselves inside the bedroom and found him lying down on the floor unconscious,” explained Kasunda.
Describing him as a humble man, Kasunda said Zawanda’s death is a big blow to the company and it will be hard to replace him.
He said being one of the founding members for the company Zawanda dedicated his life to the growth of the company and the media in Malawi.
Speaking on behalf of the United Democratic Front (UDF) publicity secretary Ken Ndanga said the party was deeply saddened with the demise of Zawanda.
Said Ndanga:”He was an experienced journalist who followed the political history of the country and a civil servant who fought for multiparty democracy through his job.”
In a press statement, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi chapter chairperson Teresa Ndanga said Zawanda departed at a time the media needed his skills and untiring professional guidance.
Reads the statement in part: “Zawanda was a dedicated MISA Malawi member and a pillar of media freedom and freedom of expression. His untiring guidance and support to MISA and the sector at large will forever be missed.”
Born on November 11, 1955, late Zawanda is survived by three children.
He worked for the Malawi News Agency (Mana) for 25 years before joining Joy media group in 2004.