Veteran journalist, writer, editor and political commentator Allister Sparks passed away Monday morning.

Sparks, 83, was reportedly suffering from an infection and died this morning in hospital after being there for some days.


Born 10 March 1933, Sparks was the editor of the Rand Daily Mail when it broke the story of how the apartheid government secretly funded information projects, Muldergate.

allister-sparksSparks was particularly interested in South Africa’s transition into democracy and wrote a number of books documenting the movement out of apartheid.

He founded the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in South Africa which is focused on the education of African journalists. Sparks was the executive director from 1992 to 1997.

In 1995, he researched and narrated the documentary series Death of Apartheid.

Sparks however, was not without controversy and early in 2015, he madeinflammatory remarks while speaking at the Democratic Alliance’s Federal Congress, suggesting that apartheid architect, Hendrik Verwoerd, was a “smart politician”.
Sparks was a Nieman Fellow from 1962-1963 and was awarded the Press Freedom Award in 1996 by the Media Institute of Southern Africa, the first South African journalist to receive the award.

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