Former Voice Journalist Mmika Solomon reflects on Jackson’ contribution and life
News that a former colleague and friend Jackson Okkert Magalie is no more came as a shock to me.
I saw the news of his passing on Facebook and quickly contacted a former colleague at The Voice to ascertain the truth.
Oteng Tlhotlhologolo confirmed that indeed Jackson was gone. He too was sad.
For me the passing of our beloved Jackson is traumatic. I wept!
Jackson was full of life, a jolly good fellow who liked joking around with people he interacted with.
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I first came into contact with him in 2001, when I joined The Voice Newsroom as a reporter.
He was the first to welcome me into the company. He was a photographer with a keen eye for ‘action pictures’.
Although, he had his own shortcomings like being short tempered and throwing tantrums in public, he respected his craft.
Our first assignment together was to Khudumelapye on the trail of a hot investigative piece about a student who was killed by her boyfriend.
We were driven by Tsitsi Kasale, whom I later realised was more than just a friend to Jackson but a ‘brother.’
In that memorable trip, The Voice had given us a mere P15 to cover lunch for the three of us.
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This did not sit well with Jackson who did not mince his words when he told Tsitsi that the lunch money was an insult.
Tsitsi however being forever calm kept his cool and assured us that things will be just fine.
I bought fat cakes with my share and the two of them bought cigarettes.
We travelled a long distance on a hungry stomach and did our job wholeheartedly and with passion.
The story made it to the front page.
As lady luck would have it, on our way back, when hunger had tormented us and was about to become unbearable, we met the then Bakwena Regent, Kgosi Kwena Sebele.
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I didn’t waste anytime in telling him that we were hungry.
This seemed to embarrass Tsitsi a great deal, but Jackson warned him that if he did not want a similar scenario in future, he must request for a decent budget next time.
Sebele bought us food. We drove back as brothers, and what happened in Khudumepye stayed in Khudumelapye, as management never got to hear that we begged for food.
Back to Jackson! He was so passionate about his craft that he would come to me with story ideas to pursue.
His focus was to take great pictures that would make the front page.
As demonstrated by our Khudumelapye adventure, The Voice in the early 2000’s was struggling financially.
That did not deter Jackson who often sacrificed his own money to do work.
Throughout his career, he has photographed different people from all walks of life.
Working for a tabloid newspaper, which focused on human-interest stories, Jackson was the right man for the job.
He loved ordinary people and enjoyed telling their stories through the camera lens.
He was a humble soul and an excellent photographer with an eye for detail, so it wasn’t a surprise when other newspapers took interest in his work.
Two offers came in, one from Botswana Gazette and the other from The Guardian.
He was excited at the prospect of working for another media company.
We discussed both offers and he settled for Gazette. In his own words he said, ‘I am going for training at the Gazette; my final destination is Sunday Standard.
When his chance came to join the Sunday Standard he didn’t look back. The rest is history.
At the time of his untimely death, Jackson had relocated to his home village of Bokspits to pursue farming. May His Soul Rest in Peace