Veteran sports journalist James Mayanja, known for his dedicated mentorship and extensive contributions to sports reporting, passed away on Wednesday, leaving behind a legacy of guidance and influence within Uganda’s journalistic community.
Colleagues and proteges alike expressed their grief and admiration for Mayanja’s impactful career, remembering him as a stalwart figure in the field of sports journalism.
Fred Katende Malibu, reflecting on their time together at WBS spanning a decade, shared heartfelt sentiments about Mayanja. “He was a good and hardworking man. Very righteous and not only taught but also encouraged everyone to work,” Katende reminisced.
“It’s very sad that he passed away before being honored like the heroes we give out medals in Kololo.”
Mayanja’s extensive career spanned decades, during which he not only reported on sports events but also played a pivotal role in nurturing and guiding numerous journalists, shaping the future of sports reporting in Uganda.
Malibu emphasized Mayanja’s significant impact on various sports federations in the country, attributing to him a role in their development through his dedicated reporting and advocacy.
“We have lost a good man, and I personally have lost a good friend who has lifted me to where I am now,” Malibu mourned, highlighting the profound influence Mayanja had on his own career and personal growth.
As the news of his passing reverberates through the Ugandan sports journalism community, many pay tribute to Mayanja’s unwavering commitment and dedication to the field.
They remember him not only as a journalist but as a mentor whose guidance helped shape the careers of numerous aspiring sports reporters.
As the community mourns his loss, thoughts and prayers go out to James Mayanja’s family, friends, and all those whose lives he touched. His legacy as a mentor and an influential figure in Ugandan sports journalism will undoubtedly endure.
Norman Katende wrote on his Facebook (slightly edited):
“Describing the life of James Mayanja is like composing a book. If there ever was a gentleman in life, it was Mayanja; he not only endeavored to make sports universally relevant but also aimed to assist as many journalists as possible in succeeding. Beyond this, he was a repository of tales and stories, evolving into more of a brother as we covered numerous international events together.
“From the adventures in Dar es Salaam with Isaac Mumena—another friend I’ve lost track of—to missing flights, like the time I had to call Fred Malibu Katende persistently from 3 pm to 11 pm because Mayanja’s phone was off. I finally reached him at 1 am, only to inform him the flight was scheduled at 2 am. He humorously responded, ‘I’m too tired, brother, goodnight,’ leaving me laughing uncontrollably. Thankfully, I managed to persuade the airlines to reschedule his ticket without any additional costs. Our experiences in Kumansi, getting lost on streets at 3 am, or the unforgettable moments at events like the Maputo All Africa Games, Khartoum CHAN, and Addis Boxing, among others, were always peppered with Mayanja’s tales. Any trip, local or international, with Mayanja promised moments of laughter as he spun his stories in his own unique way.
“Not to forget the Dollar-Dinnah experience in West Africa—a story for another time. But beyond all these adventures, James Mayanja was a true friend; a person who had your back, offered sound advice, and stood by you regardless of the circumstances. He embraced the truth and held immense respect across journalism, sports circles, and beyond.
“He was indeed a gentleman who perpetually aspired for improvement and wished the same for his friends. Rest in peace, my friend. I will treasure all the memories dearly, yet struggle to find a fitting sign-off. Cherishing the good moments, I’m honored that you chose me as your friend. For that, I bow in respect. 🙏”
Sports Fraternity mourns – Twitter