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The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) mourns the passing of veteran journalist, editor and author Allister Sparks at the age of 83 in Johannesburg.
Sparks was a journalist for 66 years. His first position was as a reporter on the Queenstown Daily Representative in 1951 at the age of 17. He moved to the East London Daily Dispatch under the editorship of Donald Woods, before joining Reuters in Britain. The highlight of his career was Sparks’ tenure as editor of the Rand Daily Mail between 1977 and 1981, for which he was awarded International Editor of the Year in 1979.
In 1992 Sparks co-founded the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ) with Wits University – a legacy that will continue to shape a young generation of journalists. In 1998 he served as editor-in-chief of SABC television news.
He was the author of numerous award-winning books on South African history including Tomorrow is Another Country and The Mind of South Africa.
In 2011 Spark was honoured with the Allan Kirkland Soga Lifetime Achiever Award at the Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards for his “unwavering commitment to reporting quality news”.
Sparks leaves behind a proud legacy of fearless journalism that seeks to change society for the good. He was fierce in his believe 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.

For enquiries please contact:
Adriaan Basson – Sanef Treasure 082 562 2113