We feel indebted as the Wits Journalism Department to pay tribute to this fallen giant, Joe Maila, spokesperson of the Minister of Health.
The Wits Journalism Department sends condolences to the Maila family and the corps of government communicators and journalists across the country. Bro Joe as he was affectionately known was a rare breed of note , a proficient communicator, gallant gentleman, always engaging and making animated and informed contribution about the role of development communication in the health ministry.
“Joe managed to be the Minister’s mouthpiece even in class during Development Communication discussions. However, I always noted that he never let slip any personal information about his work and the privilege of being a Minister’s spokesperson. We really feel indebted to pay tribute to this ever effervescent character that will surely be missed by many,” says Felicity Levine, from Wits Journalism.
“I recall Joe using Development Communication assignments – speeches and media releases – to showcase Department of Health programmes. They were so well presented and interesting I once asked him: Did you copy this information? He said: “The information is mine. I wrote the speech”. He worked closely with the Minister and was passionate about what they were doing. He was very knowledgeable and informed.”
Just like the Minister, Joe was a health advocate. In his everyday encounters he promoted the tenets that a healthy life style was the answer to disease. “Don’t smoke, keep your weight down, cut the salt, exercise”. He complained that his youngest child – 10 at the time – was eating too many carbs, so what to do?
As Seuss Geisel once wrote: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”. We will forever cherish the great moments of knowledge sharing and imparting of skills we had with you Bro Joe. We will also never forget how you used to share Scriptures with us – highlighting the significance of the Book in our daily lives. As you used to say : The Book says, – “Brothers, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who are without hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we also believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him” (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14).
It was great pleasure working with you Bro Joe – may your soul rest in eternal peace! May your family, friends and colleagues find grace and solace during these difficult moments.