By MALUM NALU (The National, July 17, 2013)
RESPECTED senior public servant and PNG Media Council president Joe Kanekane has died. He was 44.
Kanekane, from the Kowengil village in Ialibu, Southern Highlands, was director of the PNG Law and Justice Sector Secretariat (LJSS) at the time of his death from a suspected heart attack at Tabubil Hospital in Western on Sunday. He was on holidays.
His body was flown to Port Moresby from Tabubil yesterday, with funeral now being arranged.
News of his death has shocked the law and order sector, as well as the media, as Kanekane was a well-known journalist and writer before he joined the LJSS.
Kanekane held an MBA, a degree in arts with honours from the University of Papua New Guinea and a post-graduate diploma from the University of Wales.
He was president of the PNG Media Council, chairman of the Individual and Community Rights Advocacy Forum (ICRAF) board, a member of the National Scouts Association Board and was the chairman of the PNG Censorship board.
He was also on the Caritas PNG board, was co-chairman of the Community Coalition against Corruption and was an accomplished poet and writer.
Kanekane travelled around the country while he was growing up as his father, Kanekane Kepa, was a jail warder. He was a trained primary school teacher before he took up university studies in 1989.
His mother Cecilia told The National at his haus krai at Rainbow Village in Gerehu yesterday that Kanekane was born in Maprik, East Sepik, on Sept 9, 1968.
He began primary school in Wapenamanda, Enga, and continued on to Laiagam, Banz in Western Highlands and Mt Hagen.
Kanekane went on to the Madang Teachers’ College where he trained for two years and in Western Highlands before taking up studies at UPNG.
“He said he loved writing and wanted to become a journalist,” his mother recalled.
He did, with a successful career at Word Publishing before joining LJSS.
“It’s a big loss to the family and tribe, law and justice sector, media and the whole country,” LJSS chief internal auditor Robert Tukundo, a cousin of Kanekane, said.