Veteran journalist Gift Phiri dies

Veteran journalist Gift Phiri has died.He was 44.Phiri died at a local hospital Sunday morning after fighting a long battle with cancer.

At the time of his death, Phiri was working as Assistant Editor at the Daily News.

Tributes have poured in following news of his death, with some of the country’s leading names in the profession eulogising him as an astute journalist.

“In life, it is very rare to meet and work with colleagues as nice and with an eternally happy frame of mind as Gift Phiri. He was always in a jovial mood and had a knack for making people like him a lot,” respected journalist and former Zimbabwe Independent editor Dumisani Muleya wrote on Facebook.

Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum chairperson Njabulo Ncube also wrote: “Now I have found strength folks; it is with deep sadness that I announce the passing on today of our colleague Gift Phiri.”

Caven Masuku, another top journalist eulogised: “Gift Phiri is a jolly veteran journalist I know and met in several workshops when I was still practicing. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe director Loughty Dube described Phiri as a good man who enjoyed life in full.

“Devastating by the passing on of colleague and friend. He was a jolly good fellow who was not hindered from enjoying life to the full,” Dube said.

Sharing a picture of him and Phiri, Europe-based BBC sports correspondent Stanley Kwenda said: “Man of diction, style, big words, best dresser. Rest in peace my friend.”

Zimbabwe Independent editor Faith Zaba said the country has a lost a brilliant and dedicated journalist.

“Today we lost one of our won, Gift Phiri, a very talented journalist. Always smiling. Rest in peace my brother,” tweeted Zaba, who worked with Phiri at The Weekend Tribune between 2002 and 2004.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced yet.Phiri had been unwell for a while. He was admitted at Health Point last week on Tuesday.

He trained as a journalist at a Bulawayo institute. Phiri kickstarted his career at Media Africa Group, the publishers of the Weekend Tribune and Business Tribune at its Bulawayo office. He also worked for New Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Mail before joining ANZ as senior writer.

He rose through the ranks to Assistant Editor of the Daily News. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

Staff Writer