Thursday, May 14, 2020

Coronavirus: Tributes flow after Covid-19 death of etv News and eNCA cameraman Lungile Tom: 'A tender, older-brother figure whose physical size made you feel safe and secure no matter where we were reporting from'.

by Thinus Ferreira

Tributes flowed on Wednesday following the shocking Covid-19 death of the etv News and eNCA (DStv 403) cameraman Lungile Tom, with current and former etv News and eNCA staffers and reporters calling him "A tender, older-brother figure, whose physical size made you feel safe and secure, no matter where we were reporting".

eMedia Investments was stunned over news of the cameraman's death on Wednesday morning who became one of the latest victims of the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in South Africa, with South Africa's TV news and media fraternity who mourned his untimely passing.

On Wednesday as eMedia Investments' Cape Town office went into lockdown for a deep-clean, the channel switched its afternoon, 18:30 and 20:00 etv News TV news bulletins to the eNCA feed which was simulcast on

Lungile Tom, fondly known as "Marawa" joined eNCA in December 2013 from CNBC Africa (DStv 410). He leaves behind his wife Nandipha and their children.

Themba Ntshobodi, eNCA cameraman, said in a video message that "I'll always remember Lungile Tom with his laughter, his love for pictures. And he always liked to take selfies when we were on shoots. He would always ask you to take his cellphone and take pictures of him doing his job.He was passionate about camerawork".

The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) in a statement on Wednesday afternoon said that it was "deeply saddened to hear of the death of Lungile Tom" and that SANEF "believes that this tragic death points to the very dangerous work that journalists do, working on the frontline."

Nisa Allie,'s head of news, described Lungile Tom as "the fist-pumping guy" who was extremely loyal, documented everything, and who liked a muffin and coffee for breakfast.

Parliament’s President Officers spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement Lungile Tom through his "sharp eye and knowledge of parliament" brought parliament's intricate inner workings into South African homes: "His news footage demonstrated remarkable passion, experience and creativity. He spent time in the corridors of parliament and, with patience, humility and passion, highlighted the happenings of parliament to the people".

Tanya Nefdt, eNCA reporter, said "I'm in complete disbelief  This larger than life man wasn’t just a colleague but a dear friend too. RIP my dearest Lungile Tom. My heart is shattered."

Justin Ford, eNCA sports reporter, said "Lungile Marawa Tom. I am going to miss you, more than you will ever know. Your words of inspiration and encouragement. Your direction and conversation. Your laughter and your hugs. Your chirps and good smell and great sense of dress".

Wesley Fester, video journalist, said "Covid-19 has finally hit home for me. My friend and colleague from eNCA, Lungile Tom was struck down by coronavirus complications in hospital this morning. Rest in peace, Lungile. We will always remember that you were the first of our media soldiers to fall in this invisible war".

Anika de Beer, eNCA meteorologist, said "Lungile was a dear man and everyone in the office liked him. Whenever you walked past him, he would stop the conversation he was busy with just to find out how you're doing and to say hi. He would always make time to come and sit and then ask 'How are things? How are things with your family?' He was really omeone who cared and you could see it in his real interest he took in everyone's lives."

Leigh-Anne Jansen, former eNCA reporter, said "Lungile and I had an extremely tight bond and shared deep moments. My heart is broken, but I am honoured to have known him".

Lester Kiewit, former eNCA reporter, said Lungile was "A tender, older-brother figure, whose physical size made you feel safe and secure, no matter where we were reporting from" and that "Lungile was the heart of the camera team when I was at eNCA. He was larger than life, in presence and in spirit. Our conversations while on assignment primarily focused on family. His adoration of his mother, his love for his children. He told stories of his early life, and how adulthood helped him find focus."

Nadine Theron, eNuus reporter, said "If it wasn't for Lungile I wouldn't have worked here. Lungile recorded my job interview for eNuus in the Cape Town office. He calmed me down. He told me to breathe. He prepped me and he was so sweet and he encouraged me and told me 'you're going to get the job'. And when I did said 'I knew you would get it'."
"It was also the case with my first live broadcast which he also co-incidentally filmed. And again I was anxious, and again it was Lungile who prepped me and calmed me down and he had such a calming presence. He was such a compassionate figure in our office. He made us laugh a lot. When you went out on a story with Lungile you laughed until you cried."

ALSO READ: Coronavirus: cameraman Lungile Tom fondly known as 'Marawa' who worked for eNews and eNCA dead from Covid-19, staffers who had contact will be tested and told to stay home. 
ALSO READ: etv News boss Nisa Allie pays tribute to cameraman Lungile Tom who died from Covid-19: The loyal 'fist-pumping guy who documented everything and who liked a muffin and coffee for breakfast'.
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: eNCA anchor Sally Burdett on the Covid-19 death of cameraman Lungile Tom as more details are revealed: 'It's just so sudden and so shocking and so desperately sad.' 
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: Lockdown of eMedia Investments' building in Cape Town for a Covid-19 deep-clean after cameraman Lungile Tom's death, over 70 staffers sent into home-quarantine to self-isolate for 14 days.