"Uncle, please adjust the bed up a bit because I am experiencing severe chest pains."
That was the last statement that Katuma Masamba (24) uttered in the form of request to Ben Shija, an employee of Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited (TSN), while in his bed in the emergency room of Temeke Regional Hospital at around 4pm on Sunday. 'Uncle' was how Katuma, who had been working for the TSN's Digital Department until the icy hands of death grabbed him, fondly addressed Ben.
The patient made the request when Mr Shija and two other colleagues from the department had gone to the hospital to see Katuma had been faring.
The young man was undergoing treatment there, after falling ill in Zanzibar where he and three other reporters from the TSN's Editorial Department were covering the company's Business Forum.
Shija swiftly granted Katuma's request by adjusting the bed and did so delightfully, assuming that the patient would feel better and spearhead his recovery. To the utter shock and disbelief of the three-some, Katuma, whom they fancifully addressed as "our little brother" passed away a short while later. The deceased was part of a four-person team that travelled to Zanzibar on March 2, 2018 for a special coverage of TSN the Business Forum, a gathering that attracts the business community.
The thrust of the forum is to share knowledge and ideas on business and investment opportunities. True to his typical disposition as a hard, results-oriented worker, Katuma worked diligently for the two weeks until the climax of the Business Forum last Friday.
Whereas he performed his duties diligently, he occasionally complained of back and chest pains, but on a low-key basis, as he didn't want illness to compromise his productivity. On Saturday's eve, however, Katuma's condition worsened, prompting his colleagues to rush him to hospital for medical treatment.
However, Katuma's condition didn't register immediate, appreciable improvement, prompting his colleagues, in consultation with the TSN Deputy Managing Editor, Ms Tuma Abdallah, who is also in Zanzibar, to decide that he be dispatched to Dar es Salaam immediately for thorough diagnosis and specialized treatment. He returned to the city later that very day and was received by his relatives, but his condition subsequently worsened around midnight, compelling the relatives to rush him to Temeke Referral Hospital.
The TSN management, led by Ms Abdallah and Acting Habari Leo Editor Nicodemus Ikonko visited Katuma at around midday in the hospital's emergency room, where highly spirited doctors strived to stabilize the patient and save his life. However, at around 4:30pm, Katuma passed away. Sentiments of TSN Managing Editor, colleagues The TSN Managing Editor, Dr Jim Yonazi, expressed he was deeply shocked by the tragic occurrence which, besides its suddenness, had robbed the company of a promising and talented practitioner in the digital world of journalism.
He said Katuma was a highly resourceful, multi-faced professional, as photographer, editor, videographer and writer. "By losing Katuma we have lost at least five people at once because he was multitasked. He had multiple skills that we need in today's changing world of journalism," Dr Yonazi said.
According to Dr Yonazi, Zanzibar ministers and other government sent their messages of condolence to the TSN management for losing the highly Katuma. "Zanzibar Minister of Trade and Industries, Ms Amina Salum Alli and Urban West Regional Commissioner, Ayoub Mahamoud Mohamed had sent condolence messages," Dr Yonazi said. Ms Ali and Mr Mohamed attended the TSN Business Forum held in Zanzibar on Friday.
At different occasions the two leaders chaired the deliberations during the forum held at the former chamber of the House of Representatives. TSN Board Chairperson, Mr Hab Mkwizu also sent a condolence message to the TSN Managing Editor, saying he was devastated by the tragic news. Katuma's workmates whom he worked with in Zanzibar until the time he fell sick expressed shock after learning of the departure of their colleague.
Mr Basil Msongo remarks: "When I and my three colleagues, Mr Rodgers Luhwago, Mr Katuma Masamba and Ms Theopista Nsanzugwanko were leaving for Zanzibar on March 2 for the preparatory work on TSN Business Forum held officially last Friday, I didn't expect that Katuma would be struck by an illness serious enough to trigger night-long crying in his hotel room, due to severe pains."
The uncle of the departed journalist, Mr Makame Omari, said yesterday that arrangements for his burial were ongoing and he was expected to be buried today at Mtoni Mtongani Cementary in Dar es Salaam