Veteran journalist Allister Sparks dies
Cape Town – Celebrated South African editor and author Allister Sparks passed away in Johannesburg on Monday at the age of 83.
Sparks suffered a heart attack after spending 12 days in the Morningside Clinic due to an infection.
He was editor of the Rand Daily Mail and authored a number of books, including the internationally acclaimed Tomorrow is Another Country.
His son, Michael, sent out a media statement saying that it was with a heavy heart that he announced the news about his father's death.
“It was a real surprise for me when I landed in London to see the message that his heart had stopped and, despite a valiant effort at resuscitation by the medical staff, they were unable to restart it. The medical staff had stopped the sedation yesterday (Sunday) morning, so when I saw him late yesterday afternoon he was able to recognise me,” wrote Michael.
“When Andrew and Julian (two of his other sons) went a little later there was even more interaction. But the old soldier had taken too much of a battering and his body was unable to carry on. As most of you know, he was 83 in March of this year, and had successfully published his memoirs (The Sword and the Pen) on his birthday, which made it onto the bestseller list, giving him great satisfaction. It was also a concern to him, as he pondered what to do next and whether there was life after the memoirs.”
Sparks was editor of the Rand Daily Mail when it broke the so-called Muldergate story in the late 1970s. He was born in Cathcart in the Eastern Cape in 1933 and began to work as a reporter in 1951.
Sparks was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and South African correspondent for a number of international publications, including The Washington Post and The Economist.
Sparks's four sons, Michael, Simon, Andrew and Julian, spent his last days with him.
“There really had been a sense over the past few days that his condition was improving. His medication was lighter and he seemed to overcome the initial infection. It was a great relief for us yesterday when we were able to get some acknowledgement from him that he recognised we were there,” wrote Michael.
“But he also probably realised that as I returned to London, and Andrew to Kenilworth in the UK last night and Julian to Santiago this morning, that it was time for him to go also. Sadly this also means the end of his insightful columns on developments in SA. Not sure where we will get these from now.”
A memorial is being planned for Friday October 14 at 11:00 at the Braamfontein Crematorium.