Obituary

Our correspondent was found dead

We mourn the death of our colleague Humphrey Nkonde. Regular readers of our Nowadays column will remember him. His reports from the Zambian town of Ndola conveyed a lively picture of day-to-day reality in the region.

Humphrey was deeply committed to the area he covered and took interest in its communities. He was eager to serve the public by providing information and was involved in investigative journalism.

He started to contribute to D+C in 2016, reporting on many relevant issues. His most recent article was about what reduced rainfalls mean for food security and electric-power supply.

We do not know the circumstances of his death. Given that we are based in Frankfurt, we cannot do any meaningful research. However, we gather from reports on African websites, that the police found Humphrey's body and buried him immediately. Apparently, his family members say that he died by suicide, but his colleagues and his employer, Mission Press, a Catholic outfit, are unconvinced.

We know that he was planning to attend a conference on investigative journalism in Hamburg shortly before he died. We find it bizarre that someone should take his life briefly before embarking on an important trip abroad. Humphrey had told members of our team that he was excited about the conference and eager to attend.

None of our team members has an in-depth understanding of Zambia, nor do we know Ndola. We do know, however, that in many countries, people would read a situation like this as a journalist having been murdered because he was about to reveal secrets that some powerful person or group did not want to become public. In such places, his family's suicide theory would be interpreted as a response to further threats of violence. 

It does not make sense for us to speculate about what happened to Humphrey from afar. We find it troublesome that we are living in times in which violence against journalists is increasing in many countries. As far as we can tell, Humphrey's death requires further investigation.  (E+Z/D+C)


The full list of Humphrey’s D+C contributions:
https://www.dandc.eu/en/contributors/humphrey-nkonde

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