SHE was given a gift of life and now she has given it back! Though death is unavoidable to human beings, when it happens, it sends shockwaves and untold grief to those left behind.
The Tanzania Standards (Newspapers) Limited (TSN) staff found themselves in total disbelief yesterday morning when sad news broke out that their colleague, Rose Massa Athumani, was no more.
Rose, one of the most dependable reporters for the ‘Daily News,’ passed away on Thursday morning at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), where she was undergoing treatment.
She was rushed there on Tuesday, after complaining of severe chest pains, prompting doctors to recommend that she be admitted to pave way for thorough checkups and treatment.
But she was pronounced dead yesterday morning. Rose, who joined TSN on August 2009, was a senior reporter and editor of the Woman Magazine, a ‘Daily News’ pullout published on Thursdays.
She was born on September 21, 1976 in Kilimanjaro Region, and graduated at the Tanzania School of Journalism (now Institute of Journalism and Mass Communication of University of Dar es Salaam and University of Maine (US).
Before joining the Stateowned media house, Rose worked with Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) as a reporter. Prior to MCL, she also worked with Radio Tanzania of Dar es Sa laam and passed as an intern at the Business Times Ltd (Majira).
Acting Daily News Editor, Leonard Mwakalebela, said that the newspaper has lost one of the most hardworking, disciplined and prolific writers.
“We have been shocked by the demise of Rose…she has left a gap not only at the company, but also in the media industry at large, she was one of the most industrious and reliable reporters I ever worked with,” Mr Mwakalebela said.
“ She was a polite, courageous and hardworking journalist, and a mentor who was ready to work with everyone under any circumstances....we will miss her in the media profession and indeed, she has gone when everybody still needed her,’’ remarked Katare Mbashiru, a senior writer at the ‘Daily News’.
Mr Gilliard Sauli, who joined TSN about five months ago, said he knew Rose before joining TSN. “I knew her years back through seeing her by-lines, and I knew that she was among the best reporters in the country. Five months after joining TSN, publishers of Daily News, Sunday News, Habari Leo and Spoti Leo, I realised that Rose was not only a good writer but also a motivator to her fellow scribes, especially on how to embark on other income generating activities.”
She was a soft spoken and cooperative person who never quarreled with anybody. She was always in a jovial mood, and even if she was annoyed over something, she always found a diplomatic way to address it,” Mr Rodgers Luhwago, a senior writer at TSN who also worked with Rose at the Mwananchi Communications Limited, said.
Veteran journalist Wilson Kaigarula remarks: I am picturing her in my mind’s eye. The tallness, slimness, distant chocolate complexion and decent smile assign an elegant outlook to her.
Slow-paced, she moves from Desk A to Desk B in the newsroom. She taps a colleague’s shoulder softly - that’s the signature announcement of her presence. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, she engages him or her in a chat, a serious discussion, or relays a message.
That’s Rose Athumani; to me, a professional colleague and kid sister. Intercepting me along the corridor recently, she remarked: “That T-shirt (one of the ‘amplifiers’ of TSN publications) looks terrific on you, Brother Wilson!”
Light-heartedly, I said the positive remark had uplifted my spirits considerably, since senior citizens, were generally perceived as old-fashioned. I prolonged the camaraderie by wondering whether, if, as a man, I submitted an article for publication in the ‘Woman’ section of ‘Daily News’ of which she was editor, I would be a trespasser.
“Not at all,” she responded, “so long as it has an important bearing on womanhood, I will publish it” and proceeded to urge me to do so. Alas, she died before I fulfilled my promise.
My shock and pain of Rose’s death was deepened by the fact that, she wrote the news story on the death of an ex-colleague , John Kulekana, who died at MNH on October 12, 2017 – where she also spent her last minutes on earth! Last respects will be paid on Sunday and she will be buried on Monday in Kilimanjaro Region.