Simiso Nokoyo, the news intern who taught the doyens a lesson

Simiso Nokoyo, the news intern who taught the doyens a lesson

Editor's note: Simiso Nokoyo, pictured, left. Source: Facebook
Johannesburg
- Condolences from within the media industry have been pouring in for a young journalist who lost his life, soon after getting his big break and moving to Johannesburg.
Simiso Nokoyo, 23, was killed when he was run over by a vehicle in Sandton yesterday. He had just taken up a position with international news wire service, Reuters, when he died.
According to his mentor, Jeff Moloi, Mr. Nokoyo was a talented news gatherer who started off as an eager journalism student who wanted to gain experience and ended off as an eager journalism graduate who still wanted to gain experience.
Mr. Moloi said the youngster had worked for media houses like the Daily Dispatch and eNCA while he was still a student. He said Mr. Nokoyo's CV was set apart from others in the industry, in that he did everything he could to educate himself. Mr. Moloi said Mr. Nokoyo worked hard at everything he did.
The sportscaster and lecturer told Newsful that Mr. Nokoyo was an invested journalist who pursued the field to rewrite the legacy of misspent youth in his Eastern Cape community. In essence, he was everything that was right with the millennial journalist -- dedicated, timeous, trustworthy.
Mr. Nokoyo's Facebook page displays a quote that reads: "You won't get much done if you only grind on the days you feel good. No days off."  and if the tributes paid to him on social media are to be believed, then the quote is a reflection of that exact mentality as Mr. Moloi described in his own tribute (read below). 

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Read an unedited tribute from Jeff Moloi, below:

I had read the story in the Dispatch, it moved me and I posted it onto my Facebook page. How could the legendary Lovedale Press close? The very reason anyone can write isiXhosa today. I was so depressed that I didn’t even notice who had written the article. Simiso Nokoyo, one of our second year students already getting bylines. He humbly introduced himself to me late in 2014 after hearing his story had moved me.

Nervously rubbing his palm on his cheek when he did. And again when he came into my office with his mates, to ask for an important favour. They were about to become Walter Sisulu University third year Journalism students, and I was the new Broadcasting lecturer who had missed them, so I felt really good when I was able to get them to ENCA’s Port Elizabeth office in January. The reporter there, Sandy McCowen, says he was still thanking her for it in his last days. I believe it, because Simiso was expressing heartfelt gratitude each time I ran into him in the corridors, making me feel like I was his Mr Miyagi in Journalism…the experience had been for a week or two! 

He and his musketeers Sinethemba Nogude and Aviwe Mtila collaborated in a moving documentary for their third year project about Eastern Cape grandmothers who have to raise their children’s children. It was one of the best productions and could have probably been voted the best if the screening function hadn’t been cut short by loadshedding in East London, forcing the rest of the “doccies” to be viewed on a separate day by a smaller crowd, making it impossible to fairly vote for a winner. The night of the first screening turned out to be the last I was going to see Simiso. He was so excited about moving to Johannesburg and choosing between Reuters and Carte Blanche (whom he had to kindly turn down in the end). Come to think of it, if he had chosen Carte Blanche would he have been on the street he was when the vehicle ended his life on his way to work (in Sandton rather than Randburg) on the morning of August 11? Would he still be around to become one of the best future journalists from the Eastern Cape? What we do know is that not a lot of experienced reporters today will have Carte Blanche and Reuters competing for their talents. 

Even I envied him. 

Who was Simiso Nokoyo? Who was this incredibly enthusiastic budding journalist whose hugely untimely departure has touched people that hadn’t even known him? Who was this genuine young man who accomplished so much in his 23 years that you could swear that he sensed he didn’t have long to live? In the course of finding out about him I wish I had consulted with him longer in my office and asked so much more because his biography is an educational journey. The tender soul that’s been his best friend at Walter Sisulu University, Sinethemba, is not in position to talk at this stage.

The other one, Aviwe, has written so spontaneously when I asked him, that it doesn’t make sense to edit his words: 

Sir, he was born in Mdantsane on the 7th of March in 1992. Growing up he was always surrounded by crime and drugs. Even his role models were in the crime world with his older brother recently released from prison, after serving a 12 year sentence. As a teenager he partook in petty crime and drugs himself. He didn’t write his final matric exams because he was in police custody but he managed to pass because of continuous assessment. He was very intelligent and he often spoke of how his teachers tried to persuade him to follow a career in science. After seeing the reality of a life of crime, he decided to change his life for the better. He enrolled at WSU and that’s when I met him. At first he felt out of place at varsity but his determination to succeed was evident from the first time I met him. With a good heart intact, he always looked for ways to help others. When we went to buy food at the various shops around EL, he’d often stop and talk to young street kids, giving them lectures about their lives and how they should get back to school. He even engaged me in conversations about opening up an NGO that would give shelter to these street kids and educate them, that was the kind of heart he had. In our first year Blogs, his was called Recidivism and was aimed at inmates turning their lives around. 

Simiso joined the Peer Helping society and forced me to do so too. As the year progressed he opened up to varsity life, making lots of friends in the process. I doubt there is a staff member in the Buffalo City Campus that doesn’t know him, even those that aren’t in our department. We formed a group of friends with some of the guys in our 1st year class (Sinethemba Nogude, Lulama Gaushe, Lutho Libala,Lelethu Ngcozelo, Kevin Kompanie) and named ourselves the KG’s. I’m sure the rest of the guys will agree with me that he was the one that always pushed us to do our school work and motivated us to succeed in life. In our WhatsApp group he would often wake us up with what he termed ‘words of wisdom’ which would constantly remind us to work hard towards our goals. He was always the first student to hand in an assignment at school, pushing us to hand in ours as well. The whole department will agree that we have all learned a lot from “Schmidty”. His CV speaks volumes on the level of success that was heading his way. I cannot even begin to describe how I feel about his loss. I’m trying to stay strong but I’m really falling apart, tears are running down my face as I type this. It’s hard to believe that someone who we were with just over the weekend is no more. The guys are devastated by his passing. 

- Aviwe’s words unedited. This fine young writer is at Forbes Africa and his sub-editor must look forward to every article he sends. 

Ultimately this is about Simiso. Do I wish he had been in one of my groups? Yes. Do I wish I hadn’t delayed leaving KayaFM and ENCA in Johannesburg so that I could have found Simiso and his KG group earlier? He mentioned me among his mentors. But looking at his life, I think Mr Nokoyo mentored us. He’s told us so clearly not to wait. Do it now. Do it with all you have. Be grateful about everything they give you, that’s how you end up getting more. Do it like there’s no tomorrow…because sometimes there isn’t. Thank you little brother, go well.

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