ONGWEDIVA – There has been an outpouring of grief following the death of legendary broadcaster Johannes Shigwedha, popularly known as John Kady. Shigwedha died in a Windhoek hospital on Sunday after battling liver cancer. He was 52.
The news of his death left many, including colleagues in the media fraternity, shattered.
Shigwedha, who was at the time of his death employed as spokesperson for water utility NamWater, cut his teeth in broadcasting when he joined NBC’s Oshiwambo radio service as a trainee in the mid-1990s while still pursuing a three-year teacher’s diploma. He hosted a youth competition programme, which became quite popular.
“There was something about him that kept the audience hooked and captivated to his shows,” NBC’s chief of news and programming Menesia Muinjo said. “The moment he went on that mic, there was just something that made him stand out. He has also contributed immensely to NBC, and even after he left the corporation for NamWater, we continued to work closely. We will deeply miss him, but we are thankful for the legacy that he has left behind.”
In later years, Shigwedha was promoted to NBC’s national service, where he hosted programmes such as Hit the jackpot, Say it loud, Justice review, and municipal matters, among many others. He was also a news anchor, and renowned for co-hosting the popular entertainment show Penduka along with Rejoice Itembu.
Shigwedha served as part of NamWater’s senior management team for close to 20 years. In an interview with NBC, NamWater’s chief strategy officer Kadiva Hamutumwa described him as “ very smart, energetic and a people’s person who got along well with everybody, regardless of their social standing.” Other than just being a media personality and a corporate person, others remembered him as a mentor who also opened doors for many in the media fraternity. Namibian old-school artist and music business consultant Fidel Nambundunga is one of those who went under the stewardship of ‘John Kady’. “He is the reason I am doing what I currently do. He taught me how to speak eloquently and capture the attention of the audience. He always said something to me that I would never forget, and that was ‘connect with the audience’. Those words keep me going every time I am presenting or doing my MC job,” stated Nambundunga.
He added that Shigwedha had a vision for the media industry. “He wanted to see an industry where people are not being persecuted for doing their job. He always spoke strongly about press freedom. When he joined NamWater, we were all caught off- guard and never expected it. But through that, he inspired and opened doors for many people in the media to penetrate the corporate space”, Nambundunga said.
Another colleague in the corporate fraternity, Jackson Muma, said Shigwedha was one of the few people with unique characters. “He was professional, humorous, kind and really helpful. A brother indeed,” he added. Namibian Sun journalist Tuyeimo Haidula also shared fond memories of Shigwedha. “This is a great loss to the industry. John was a people’s person. Very accommodating, and always full of jokes,” she said. “I drove my first long-distance trip with him and Victoria Kaapanda in pursuit of finding community stories at Outapi in the Omusati region, interviewing those using the NamWater canal as a catchment area. He was falling asleep while driving on our way back to Oshakati, and I asked to take over. He agreed, and was snoring in the passenger’s seat a minute later.”