Johannesburg – Spring is a time of awakening and rebirth.
Flowers bloom, the birds return, and baby animals are born.
In the spring of 1968 in Merebank Durban, Vincent Naidoo was born.
A man whose lifetime will leave an everlasting footprint in the print media industry. “Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended.
Some voices are so vibrant and distinctive, it is hard to think of them stilled. A man who seldom rested is laid to rest. And his absence is tangible, like the silence after a mighty roar,” George W. Bush said at the funeral of John McCain.
These words rang true through the Sunday World’s newsroom this week following the passing of Vince, the paper’s production manager. Unassuming, kind, diligent and with a work-ethic second to none, Naidoo was larger than life – his character unblemished.
When Sunday World owner David Mabilu bought the paper in 2019, he needed someone who understood the newspaper industry intimately to help him set up a well-oiled machine. He could not have picked a better man than Vince.
Vince or Vinnie, as he was affectionately called, was a newspaper man through and through. Though not a journalist himself – he had always been involved in the IT and editorial systems side of the business – he had enough news sense in him to not only put the editorial systems in place, but to also take charge of the production of the paper and be part of the team selling the paper to advertisers. It was a coup for Mabilu.
Not only had he hired a systems and operations manager, he had in effect hired a chief sub-editor, production editor, managing editor and advertising representative all in one. And Vince carried out all these tasks seamlessly for the year and a half he was employed at Sunday World – and all this barely without a break. But it would be unfair to paint him as a never-tiring workhorse who lived for nothing but his job.
Vince was not secretive about his life beyond the job. He loved telling stories. Most of the Sunday World team had never met his family (he was divorced with two children) – but we were acquainted to them through the stories he would share about his life with them both before and after his divorce.
There were days he would rush off after work to run one or another errand for his ex-wife.
He loved his two Maltese poodles and would constantly share video clips of his beloved pets.
Through those glimpses into his private life, we knew that when Vince committed himself to something, he did not do it in half measures; he threw himself into his passions – his family, his work and Sunday World. To him, the Sunday World family was his family.
As freelancers, some of the sub-editors would turn to him in times of need, and he was always willing to lend a hand to help.
He became a friend to many of us. But when it came to producing the paper, he was uncompromising about what he expected of his team. He demanded quality – anything less than that drove him mad and he could be heard from his corner office shouting about a late page or careless error. After the paper was put to bed, he would be the first to raid the fridge for a cold beer.
He would take a big sip and ask “whose beer is this?’ That was Vinnie for you – walking the earth lightly without a care in the world.
During lighter moments, he was jovial, sharing jokes and anecdotes. It was during these breaks that we learnt that Sunday World was more than just a job for him.
As Fundudzi Media’s first employee, he had nurtured the company as if it were his own business. Goodnight Vinnie, the industry is poorer without you.
Message of condolences to family and friends of our production manager Vincent Naidoo:
To my all-time friend Vince, the time we spent as colleagues and friends will be measured throughout my life and treasured always. Working on the rebirth of the new Sunday World with you will stay in the fabric of this publication forever. Thank you for your support and walking by my side. Farewell Vince, I will miss you. – Anastacia Martin.
Death has taken you away from us but it will never take away the good memories we have of you. There will never be another you. You will always be in our hearts and thoughts. Rest in Perfect Peace Vinnie! May your soul find the Abode in Heaven. – Takalani Mabilu.
Had I known that Friday when I saw you that it would be the last, I would’ve given you a HUGE hug, held on a little longer, and told you how amazing, fun, generous, kind and absolutely talented you are. Thank you for having shared yourself so selflessly with us Rest well in the Lord, Vince. – Love, Kholo.
“Vinny-V, it’s been an honour sir. May our time in the next life span a little longer. May you rest in perfect peace.” – Koketso Nicole.
Words cannot even begin to express how I feel, your loss has left all of us deeply saddened. Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts someone so special and loving can never be forgotten. I miss you already Vince. Love always Nazz.
He was a genuinely great person. We will always miss you Vinny…..may his soul rest in peace. – Phuti Maupye.
I am going to miss you my Vinny. I love you so much. – Ndindi.
Rest in Perfect Peace Mr Naidoo, We will dearly miss you and your great sense of humour. – Dakalo Mabaso.
Vince in the short time I got to know you, you have silently closed the door of life and departed from this life to a better place. Albert Einstein said, “The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.” You were a person who “always gave”. Gone in some ways, but your presence will forever be near. Go well…stay well…always. – Your colleague Laura.
Vincent will be greatly missed but his warmth, kindness and gentle spirit will be remembered forever. Fare thee well! – Maphala Makgoba.
A great colleague and a warm-hearted individual, always ready to help and get things done! We will miss you Vincent. Those great strides of yours are now in flight. RIP Vincent. – Djam.
‘Bra Vince, you made it possible for me when things were impossible, when people were losing their jobs, you made sure I travel all the way from KZN to Jozi again to do what I love the most’. – Bongiwe.
Your sudden death has touched our live and hearts dear Vince. You were just a God sent to me Vince teaching me everything that I needed to know with ease and I appreciate every bit of it. Now you have returned to the source of life in faith and gratitude watching over us. – From Matshepo.
Vincent As quickly as we’ve known you. As quickly as we have embraced you. As quickly as you have transformed the Sunday World. That is how quickly you departed. You made an indelible mark to all of us at the Vharanani group and yonder. We’ll surely miss your dedication and hard work. Farewell my brother. – Tovho.
It is unbelievable that I write this note to bid you farewell Vincent “Vinie V. You were a brother, colleague most of all a friend. I thank God for availing an opportunity to cross path with you. We will truly miss your jokes, laughter, and your well controlled emotions. Fare thee well our Vinny, – Xolo Mpangeva.
The newsroom will never be the same without you. You may be gone but you will never be forgotten, ever. Rest soldier, rest my leader, rest my friend, you fought a good battle. – Sibusiso Bubesi.
I lost a brother and a friend. The void that you have left can never be filled. You have a special place in my heart, which is filled with love, and now that you have left… It is filled with warm fond memories. I hear your voice, your laughter and your witty jokes… with just an impression of you. The void that you have left can never be filled. Some days are going to be hard soldiering on without you. I have to find a way to cope without you, my brother. It’s going to be hard. The void that you have left can never be replaced. It was your special place. Go well my dear brother. Till we meet again Vinni ma V. – Thuso Motingoe.
It was a truly an honour to have known you in a short space of time VINCE, a mentor, hard worker, colleague and person who believed that everybody deserved a second chance. It is with a sad heart to us to have lost you so soon. Go and rest Big Guy. You have fought a war. I will always remember you and your great teachings. – Thabo Ramookho.
Dear Vince … my dear friend! Blessings my friend! Although you meant so much as a friend we will remain brothers forever more. This is your greatest journey. May you find the peace & eternal love and home you believed in and cherished. – Matthys Moss.
Dear Vincent, it pains me to know that we shared the hometown of Merebank, by the time I had joined the Sunday World team, you had already left, though your impact on the rest of the staff is clearly seen and felt, know that I would have enjoyed your company. Rest well. – Ashley Lechman.