By Josephine Agbonkhese, reporting from Cairo, Egypt
A 34-year-old South African journalist, Miss Yadhana Jadoo, attending a three-week training course organised by the African Union of Journalists, AUJ, in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Information, was confirmed dead at exactly 7.20am, yesterday, at the Palestine Hospital in Cairo, where she was rushed.
Jadoo, who arrived Cairo last Saturday, April 21, was among 22 male and female journalists selected from different African countries, including Nigeria, to attend the training course which is a biannual initiative of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Jadoo fell ill Tuesday night.
According to the journalist from Ghana, Ankah Gertrude Abra, with whom the late Jadoo shared a room, “Jadoo said she was feeling sick last night, Tuesday. I told her to take a shower but she could not and slept off afterward.
“By past 6am Wednesday morning, her body became terribly hot; I was awake writing some stories. I called the room of two other journalists via the intercom, so they could help contact our Coordinator, Nahla, who immediately sent an ambulance which rushed her to the Palestine Hospital here in Cairo.
“On our way to the hospital, she started jerking and by 7.20am, she suddenly seized to move. The doctors rushed her into the intensive care unit as soon as we arrived the hospital, and soon returned to tell us she was dead.”
According to Gertrude, Jadoo who had met with the South African Ambassador to Egypt, Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, during the group’s visit to the Egyptian House of Representatives, had received an invitation from Mayende-Sibiya to attend an event being organised by the Embassy on Wednesday evening.
Breaking the news at about 10am Wednesday morning to the other journalists, shortly after they had converged at the training venue situated in the Egyptian Ministry of Information, President, AUJ, Dr Samia Abass, said efforts would be made to contact the South African Embassy, so they in turn contact the deceased’s family and her newspaper house, The Citizen News, in South Africa.
In honour of Jadoo, the participants unanimously agreed to cancel the day’s training to mourn their colleague and new friend.
Efforts by the Egyptian Ministry of Information to contact the South African Embassy in the morning proved abortive due to a public holiday.
However, at about 2pm, an official of the South African Embassy had been successfully contacted on telephone.
Meanwhile, an official of the Homicide Department of Egypt has taken stock of Jadoo’s belongings, cleared them from the room and handed them over to the hotel’s management, pending further instructions from the South African Embassy.
Also, plans are being made for an autopsy to be carried out as soon as possible.
According to a Thursday report by The Citizen News, South Africa, which described Jadoo’s death as a great loss to journalism, “After moving to
The Citizen in 2012 following stints at the South African Press Association and The Post, she won numerous awards at the newspaper, including the Journalist of the Year in 2017, due to her accurate storytelling.
“Her continued coverage of the e-tolls saga was brilliant, as were her profiles on SA icons Ahmed Kathrada, Sophie de Bruyn, Thuli Madonsela, Denis Goldberg and George Bizos, to mention a few.
“She produced lead stories almost on a daily basis, regardless of the subject. When in doubt in the newsroom, the lead was always thrown to Yadhana – often on deadline … and she always delivered.
“But as good a journalist as she was, it was her softer, caring side that made her so popular.
“Yadhana, an avid food lover and family person, was respected by the people she interviewed because of her sincere approach, but equally loved by her peers for her fun-loving nature.
“She was always willing to lend a helping hand, mentor youngsters or defend the newspaper against its harshest critics. Her loyalty was especially admirable and she always had a smile, regardless of how late she worked.
“In 2012, as soon as her interview was finished, Yadhana was hired to join the Saturday Citizen team. It was the natural choice and she spent the next six years going from strength to strength.
“She was soon writing leads for the daily newspaper and it was only a matter of time before she was spearheading the news team, Monday to Saturday.
“As news editor, she thrived in the few months she guided the news team. The Citizen family and journalism is poorer without her. Rest in peace, Yadz.”