Alistair Sparks

Allister Sparks
“The road to the future is always under construction” – Allister Sparks


Today, Allister Haddon Sparks is a well-known South African writer, journalist and political commentator. He was the editor of the Rand Daily Mail when it broke Muldergate, the article of how the apartheid government surreptitiously funded information plans. Sparks later produced a number of books on South Africa’s transition from apartheid, such as The Mind of South Africa (1991) and Tomorrow is Another Country (1996) His most recent book ‘Beyond the Miracle: Inside the New South Africa’ has taken South Africa by storm and has produced much international interest. Allister Sparks continues to influence the South African Media industry and inspires many students around the globe with his success.

Personal information

Allister Haddon Sparks is a well known South African, writer, Journalist and lecturer. He was born on the 10 March 1933 in Cathcart, a small framing area in the Eastern Cape. Being the son of a farmer, Sparks grew up on a farm, which bordered the reserve of the Transkei. It was here he learnt to speak the local Xhosa language. Sparks first attended a local farm school, and then later attended Queens College in Queenstown, Eastern Cape. At school he was a keen sportsman, playing both cricket and tennis for the first teams at his school. He began working as a reporter on the Daily Representative in Queenstown in 1951. He then went on to becoming a sub-editor for the East London Daily Dispatch. He then became editor of The Rand Daily Mail. Sparks has written various books,Beyond the Miracle,The Mind of South Africa, and Tommorow Is Another Country. Sparks has a very renound and prestigious name throughout South Africa. He has dealt very closely with Apartheid in South Africa, writing and reporting on it. Today he lives in Johannesburg with his wife, Jenny Gandar. He continues to write and lecture.

Career information
Allister Sparks began working in the media industry as a reporter for the Queenstown Daily Representative in 1951. After vigorous travelling between England and South Africa to endure many international news agencies, Sparks settled down as a columnist displaying national and international affairs in the Rand Daily Mail in 1964. He was appointed as Deputy Editor in 1972, and exposed a major scandal in the Government’s information services. Sparks became South Africa Correspondent for The Economist until 1987, where he then travelled to Duke University in Durham to perform a course in South African political history and to write a book, ‘The Mind of South Africa’. His second book, ‘Tomorrow is Another Country’ followed soon after. In May 1993, an independent panel of jurists selected Sparks to be a member of the new Board of Directors of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. In July 1995, Sparks was appointed to the Board of the SABC by President Nelson Mandela, and soon after became the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. Today, Sparks continues to lecture in South Africa and internationally. The Globalist
The Power of Culture

Recognitions and awards
Soon after Allister Sparks portrayed his first column in the Rand Daily Mail he received his first award, the Pringle Award for Feature Writing in Newspapers by the English Academy of Southern Africa in 1965. He was named International Editor of the Year in 1979 and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting of racial unrest in South Africa during 1985. During the same year, Sparks won Britain's David Blundy Award for foreign reporting. In association with the University of the Witwatersrand, in 1992 Sparks founded the Institute for Advanced Journalism in order to promote the standard of Journalism in South Africa. His first book The Mind of South Africa won South Africa's 1990 Sanlam Literary Award and was followed by Tomorrow is Another Country, which formed the basis of a television series on South Africa's political transition. He completed his trilogy, ‘Beyond the Miracle’ in 2003, which documents the events taking place in South Africa after it’s bloodless revolution a decade ago. Allister Spark’s accomplishments continue to amaze the South African media industry as he maintains his media influence around the globe.
Recognition and awards
Allister Sparks Published

Other professional activities Apart from being an avid writer and journalist, Sparks is also a lecturer on politics. (Allister Sparks on South African Politics) He enjoys briefing people and sharing his knowledge on South African politics for which he has a great passion. Throughout his long and successful career, Sparks has dealt very closely with South African politics and the Apartheid times. The three books he has written have all been pertaining to South Africa and its transformation from the apartheid era to the new South Africa and democracy times. It was during his times as editor of the Rand Daily Mail, in the 1970’s that he became well known for helping take down a South African Prime Minister in a government propaganda scandal. He helped to expose the truth about Steve Biko’s death, exposing that it was in actual facet not and accident. And in 1995 Sparks was appointed to the Board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, by Nelson Mandela.

References:
Primary Sources

Secondary Sources
Jonathan Ball Publishers. (2005)
Allister Sparks
Accessed on the 18 October 2009
http://www.jonathanball.co.za/modules.php?op=modload&name=books&file=index&req=search&query=Allister+Sparks

The Globalist. (2005)
Allister Sparks
Accessed on the 18 October 2009
http://www.theglobalist.com/AuthorBiography.aspx?AuthorId=436

The Power of Culture. ( 1996)
Allister Sparks
Accessed on the 18 October 2009
http://www.powerofculture.nl/uk/archive/amsterdam/sparks1.html

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