Mathatha Tsedu is a veteran media personality and political activist with many decades of experience. He experienced the harsh rule of apartheid but never gave up. At his age, he is still at the forefront to ensure journalism speaks for the ruled and the freedom of the press is not compromised. He has received many accolades for his outstanding work both in South Africa and other countries.
Tsedu is a symbol of excellence in journalism in Africa. It is because of his voice and that of others like Benjamin Pogrund that journalists today enjoy the freedom of expression. Below is a detailed Mathatha Tsedu biography.
Mathatha Tsedu profile summary
- Full name: Mathatha Tsedu
- Marital status: Married
- Nationality: South African
- Occupation: Journalist, editor
Mathatha Tsedu personal life
He was born in the rural area of Limpopo. He grew up on a white-owned farm. His mother died when he was five years old, and his father did not have a job. In an earlier interview with News 24, he said he grew up with the help of people in the community.
Mathatha had a son called Avhatakali Netshisaulu with his wife, Marubini Tsedu. Mathatha Tsedu son was murdered in 2006 through the conspiracy of his widowed wife, Sinhidzho and two other co-accused.
Mathatha Tsedu qualifications
The veteran media personality wanted to be a doctor but did not have the money to register for exams. He worked as a gardener to afford high school at the Mphaphuli High in Limpopo. Tsedu later went to Wits University to study journalism and media. He graduated with honours. In 2016, the University of Western Cape awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Dphil Arts.
Mathatha Tsedu career
The award-winning journalist started as a freelance journalist during apartheid. He wrote for a number of publications from his rural home in Limpopo. He worked as a reporter for the Northern Transvaal Post in 1978. His stories revealed the widespread abuse of human rights that was a common scene at the time. Being a liberation journalist landed him in trouble with the apartheid government. He was detained without trial, tortured, and placed in solitary confinement from 1981 to 1986, but this never diminished his dream and aspirations for the country.
He is a writer in residence at Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS) and an Adjunct Professor at the Wits University School of Journalism. Mathatha has worked for a number of leading media outlets and other organizations in the following capacity.
- SA National Editors Forum (SANEF) as executive director (2016)
- Print and Digital Transformation Task Team as project director (2012 to 2013)
- Press Freedom Commission of South Africa as project director (2011 to 2012)
- Media 24’s Journalism Academy as the head (2008 to 2011)
- City Press as editor (2004 to 2008)
- Sunday Times as editor (2002 to 2003)
- SABC News as deputy chief executive (2001 to 2002)
- SANEF chairperson (2000 to 2003)
- The Star as senior editor (1999 t0 2001)
- Sunday Independent as deputy editor (1998 to 1999)
- The Sowetan as investigations and political editor (1992 to 1998)
He also served in the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution, UNISA School of Governance, and the African Media Initiative (AMI) as a board member. Tsedu also helped create the Black Editors’ Forum, African Editors’ Forum, Southern African National Editors’ Forum, SANEF, and the Writers Association of South Africa. The award-winning journalist is currently working on Mathatha Tsedu autobiography, And Still I Rise, which talks about South Africa at the time that he lived.
Mathatha Tsedu awards
The veteran media personality has been recognized many times for his contribution to South African media, politics, and other issues affecting the people. He holds the following accolades.
- Nieman Fellow at Harvard University
- Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards for Lifetime Achiever
- Print Media Fellow at the 2012 Sikuvile Standard Bank Newspaper Journalism Awards
- SANEF-Steve Wrottesly Award for most recognized contribution to SANEF goals
- Silver for the Order of Ikhamanga (2019) at the National Orders bestowed by President Cyril Ramaphosa
- Nat Nakasa Award for Courageous Journalism
- Naspers Phil Weber Award
- Media24 Newspapers All Time Legend Award
Mathatha Tsedu deserves every award and recognition given to him. He has been fighting for a better journalism industry since the 1970s. The legend continues to speak up.
Briefly.co.za reported in August that ANC MP Boy Mamabolo had apologized for intimidating journalist Ngwako Malatji and even threatening to shoot him. The journalist had recorded their conversation, which was done through a phone call. ANC had condemned the incident and launched an investigation. The MP pleaded guilty after which South Africa’s ruling party made him go to anger management classes.
A lot has been happening to journalism in the country. Recently, Peterson Siyaya filed a lawsuit against eNCA, City Press, Sunday Times, and The Citizen for publishing misinformation. KZN Premier, Sihle Zikala had also complained of being belittled by eNCA journalist, Shahan Ramkissoon.