Malawian journalist and Associated Press contributor dies

AP News
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Posted: May 17, 2015 1:16 PM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — One of Malawi's most prominent journalists was killed in a car accident, his family said on Sunday.

Raphael Tenthani, a contributor for The Associated Press and the BBC, was killed in a car accident outside of Malawi's commercial center Blantyre on Saturday at about 9 p.m., his brother Kizito Tenthani said by telephone.

Tenthani, 43, was returning home after visiting his mother about 180 kilometers (about 112 miles) away from his home, when the car he was travelling in overturned, said his brother.

Tenthani's two sons were injured in the accident and have since been discharged from hospital, said his brother. The driver and another passenger also had minor injuries.

Several Malawian newspapers reported on the death of the columnist and press freedom activist.

With his weekly column, "Muckraking on Sunday," Tenthani debated social challenges, often skewering politicians. Tenthani "had the courage to speak in a silenced land and braved all the insults that come with being a watchdog," wrote fellow columnist, Thom Chiumia, who credited Tenthani as a mentor.

The second of three children, Tenthani wanted to be a journalist from an early age, his brother recalled.

"When we were very, very young, he spent all his money on newspaper subscriptions," said his brother.

As a journalist for both local and international media, Tenthani received several awards, including a United Nations Media award in 2010 for his contribution to an AP series on the Millennium Development Goals, according to an AP newsletter.

Tenthani also scored a scoop for AP when he reported on pop singer Madonna's adoption of a Malawian child, tracking the child's father to a remote village to interview him, according to the newsletter. He reported for AP until his death.

Tenthani is survived by his wife Josephine and their three sons. Former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi and Malawi's Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa are expected to attend his funeral on Monday, his brother said.