Allister Sparks leaves behind a proud legacy - Sanef

2016-09-20 12:08
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

(Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Cape Town - The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has paid tribute to veteran journalist, editor and author Allister Sparks who died at the age of 83 in Johannesburg on Monday.

"Sparks leaves behind a proud legacy of fearless journalism that seeks to change society for the good. He was fierce in his belief that journalists should report equally on the good and the bad and tell the stories of normal people with the same zest as we would chase corrupt politicians or businessmen," Sanef said in a statement on Tuesday.

Sparks started his 66-year career in journalism at the age of 17 when he became a reporter on the Queenstown Daily Representative in 1951. He then worked at the East London Daily Dispatch with Donald Woods as his editor before moving to the UK to work for Reuters.

Sanef said the highlight of his career was his tenure as editor of the Rand Daily Mail between 1977 and 1981. He was awarded International Editor of the Year in 1979.

He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and South African correspondent for a number of international publications, including The Washington Post and The Economist.

'Unwavering commitment to reporting'

Sparks co-founded the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ) with Wits University in 1992 and served as editor-in-chief of SABC television news in 1998.

He also wrote a number of award-winning books on South African history, including Tomorrow is Another Country and The Mind of South Africa.

Sparks was honoured with the Allan Kirkland Soga Lifetime Achiever Award at the Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards in 2011 for his "unwavering commitment to reporting quality news".

Sparks suffered a heart attack after spending 12 days in the Morningside Mediclinic for treatment of an infection, it was earlier reported.

His four sons, Michael, Simon, Andrew, and Julian spent his last days with him.

A memorial is being planned for Friday, October 14, from 11:00 at the Braamfontein Crematorium.

Read more on:    sanef  |  allister sparks  |  media

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