The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) is mourning the death of media freedom activist, editor, and publisher Wandile “Wara” Fana who died of Covid-19 related complications on Friday.
“Sanef expresses its sincere condolences to his family, friends, and the media fraternity as a whole. We also extend condolences to all those who have lost loved ones to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the forum said in a statement on Saturday.
Wandile Fana: Career and legacy
Fana was the president of the Association of Independent Publishers (AIP), a board member at the Press Council of South Africa (PCSA), and a publisher of a community-based publication in the Eastern Cape, Skawara News.
Sanef’s community media subcommittee chairperson, Dunisani Ntsanwisi described the 45-year-old as a “dear brother and friend who was passionate about media freedom and dedicated towards the growth of the community media sector.”
Fana was also described as a “fierce believer and fighter for integrity in journalism, the radical advocate for the transformation of the media and creation of space for communities to speak in their own voice”.
Impact of Covid-19 on media
According to the forum, Fana served as one of its Media Relief Fund panelists, alongside stalwarts Mathatha Tsedu, Joe Thloloe, and Melody Emmett.
“The media relief fund has so far distributed about R2 million to struggling journalists who lost their jobs and/or their income as a direct result of the negative impact of Covid-19 on the media sector, since the declaration of the state of disaster in March 2020,” it added.
Fana is survived by his wife and two children.