JOHN Lennon once said, "We all want to change the world." Jimmy Matyu empathised with this view, and sought to achieve it by using his chosen profession and the power of the media ("Journalist Matyu dies at 76", September 21).
I recall with fondness the help and assistance I received from this astute journalist in the early days of my political career. I pay tribute to this man, who was never afraid to tackle critical and challenging issues, fearless of reprimand and steadfast in opinion.
This highly respected journalist was a columnist, reporter and contributing editor during his lifelong career.
His demise must have come as a shock to friend and foe, and my heart goes out to his wife, children and his colleagues.
He was a true gentleman and a professional at his profession. Notwithstanding the fact that he did not have a journalism qualification, he still had a distinguished career.
He built a reputation as a fearless pursuer of uncomfortable truths as a reporter. I have also read that he won the best column category for his weekly column, About Town, at the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards in 2006.
He was an absolute icon and a legend that was a trusted voice during our long hard-fought struggle against apartheid. His political insight and wit, including his empathy for the plight of the disadvantaged, made him an outstanding and top-class journalist.
His kind is a rarity.
I will be doing an injustice if I fail to note that history earns it authenticity by articles written by Matyu and his kind.
He has made an invaluable contribution to the historiography of South African townships, and one just needs to browse through Shadows from the Past to experience Matyu's nostalgia for Jabavu Road in New Brighton.
He was a man known to me to have the tenacity to tackle issues left alone by others and see it through till the end. I will remember this journalist as a person who advocated the truth and his interaction with community members in gathering his facts astounded me.
You get journalists and then you get Jimmy Matyu. I salute you, my friend, for a job well done.
May his soul rest in peace.
Christian Martin, ANC MPL, Provincial Legislature, Bhisho