Winston ‘Babatunde’ Witter who again changed his name to ‘Tunde Baba’ has now left this temporary place we call home on earth last Wednesday. He went behind other stalwart journalists such as Michael Sharpe and there’s no telling which journalist will go next. According to 2012 article the Jamaica Observer said he postponed death referring to his 1998 bike collision. Now in 2022 they have published heart rendering articles about ‘Tunde’ since his actual death.
I do know I’m loving Babatunde one more time … remembering his lessons on wearing helmets, rights of pillons, Maroon ancestry, turning your hand to mek fashion, preparing for a rainy day – as a journalist, and so on.
Although he lived to expect death anytime, he lived to inspire joy and hope in others – especially the youth of Jamaica. During the times I spent with Winston ‘Babatunde’ Witter, he never did less than encourage an appreciation for life, as he was down to earth and always pulling smiles and laughter through his worse pain.
Like others I remember, reverred and now miss more than ever his wits exposed on his radio talk show, and admire him for his accomplishments otherwise. What I love him for is the spirit of giving and survival to his last he left lingering. Even if he was angry his face would be smiling.
His spirit was resilient, as he lived to reflect the stubbornness of his chiefly Maroon tribe he often spoke of. His most popular question – Do you know who the orginal Maroons are?
Fearing no one, and welcoming any challenge he was outspoken, and appreciated for the times he went with the OAaSIS Foundation network to share about his experiences applying his skills as a journalist – writer, radio talk show host with students across the country. They simply loved to hear about his out of body experiences just after he had his bike collision.
Despite the labels and criticims a few Jamaicans sent his way, Winston ‘Babatunde’ Witter never failed at finding humour in every situation faced. He travelled the streets of Kingston collecting experiences with promise to return to radio one day, with more for todays youth. He rallied for underdogs.
His blog was started, not continued … he never got to start his online radio and tv channels. Did he write a book? Another writer will speak of his accomplishments, political and otherwise.
.. but for his spirit of fighting, informing and challenging .. I know he’ll be loved and missed forever.
Still I do join other journalist like Lloyd B Smith that the Press Association of Jamaica needs to do better at championing the causes of journalists ensuring their financial stability and basic maintenance. There is shame that the likes of Winston ‘Babatunde’ Witter, Carl wint and even Morris Cargill died in squalor for all the rantings, ravings and cravings over their work. More needs to be done as in other jurisdictions the salary of a journalist goes beyond a ‘stipend’.
Tunde Baba is the name he preferred
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