Biography: Jeffrey Zikhali was a former journalist, TV sports presenter, and government spokesperson who was killed in a suspected hijacking incident on Friday, December 1, 2023. He was 59 years old. He was a well-known figure in the South African media and communication industry, who had worked as a sports anchor for SABC, covering various events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics. Zikhali also served as a spokesperson for the Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. His colleagues and fans remember him as a charismatic, talented, and professional person who had a positive impact on those around him.
Early Life and Education
Jeffrey Zikhali was born in 1964 in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal. He grew up in a family of six siblings who shared a love for sports and music. He attended Empangeni High School, where he excelled in academics and athletics. Zikhali was also a member of the school choir and drama club. He developed an interest in journalism and broadcasting from a young age.
After matriculating, he enrolled at the University of Zululand, where he studied media and communication. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1986 and later obtained a postgraduate diploma in journalism from Rhodes University in 1988.
Jeffrey Zikhali Career and Achievements
Jeffrey Zikhali began his career as a reporter for the Zululand Observer, a local newspaper in Empangeni. He then moved to Durban, where he joined the SABC as a radio news producer and presenter. The producer soon made his mark as a versatile and dynamic broadcaster who could cover a range of topics from politics to entertainment. He also hosted several popular radio shows, such as Morning Live and Metro FM.
In 2002, Zikhali made his debut as a TV sports presenter for e.tv, where he became one of the faces of the channel’s sports coverage. He gained popularity for his lively and engaging style, as well as his in-depth knowledge and analysis of various sports. He covered major events such as the FIFA World Cup, the Olympics, the Rugby World Cup, the Cricket World Cup, and the African Cup of Nations. Zilhali also interviewed many local and international sports stars, such as Lucas Radebe, Benni McCarthy, Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar.
In 2008, Zikhali returned to the SABC as a senior sports anchor, where he continued to deliver high-quality and informative sports news and commentary. He also hosted several sports shows, such as Sport@10, Sport on 2, and Sport on 3. He was widely respected and admired by his peers and viewers, who praised him for his professionalism and passion.
In 2016, he left the SABC and joined the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as a spokesperson. He was responsible for communicating the department’s policies, programmes, and achievements to the public and the media. He also played a key role in facilitating the department’s partnerships and collaborations with various stakeholders, such as farmers, cooperatives, NGOs, and the private sector.
Jeffrey Zikhali Personal Life and Legacy
Jeffrey Zikhali was married to Nokuthula Zikhali, a nurse, and they had three children: Sipho, Ntombi, and Thando. He was a devoted husband and father who enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He was a mentor and role model to many young people, who looked up to him for his wisdom and guidance.
Jeffrey Zikhali Biography [Image: The Witness]
Jeffrey Zikhali was a man of passion and excellence who lived his life to the fullest. He was a trailblazer and a pioneer in the media and communication industry who left a lasting impression on the South African sports and broadcasting landscape. He was a communicator and a connector who bridged the gap between the government and the people. Zikhali was a leader and a visionary who inspired and influenced many people with his words and actions.