SA’s lead fighter against Covid-19, Prof Salim Abdool Karim pays tribute to 'feisty’ Karima Brown
Veteran journalist Karima Brown was given a special tribute by one South Africa’s leading medical advisers on the Covid-19 pandemic, Prof Salim Abdool Karim, following her death due to Covid-19 complications on Thursday.
Karim joined many others, including political parties, who were united in their tributes to Brown, 53, who was laid to rest on Thursday in Johannesburg according to Islamic rites.
At a separate event in Durban to commemorate Covid-19 - a year later - epidemiologist Karim urged his audience to observe a moment of silence in honour of Brown on Thursday.
Karim described Brown as a feisty journalist who was eager to capture news correctly and accurately.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said: “Karima Brown grew up in the ANC family and dedicated most of her life to the struggle for a just, democratic and non-racial South Africa. She was part of the activists who worked for the launch of the South African Youth Congress (Sayco) as well as the building of the Congress of South African Students (Cosas). Her father, a veteran of the ANC, Achmat Semaar, sadly passed on last year in April at the age of 72.”
According to Mabe, Brown, as a journalist, “was fiercely independent, courageous, fearless and uncompromising in her pursuit of the truth”.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, despite having had tussles with her, agreed with the sentiments expressed by many others.
Holomisa said: “We are saddened to hear that senior journalist and political commentator Karima Brown has passed away. It was interesting to listen to her analyses, even when we disagreed with her. Our condolences to her loved ones. May her soul rest in peace.”
Former Cape Times Editor and colleague, Ryland Fisher, said she would be missed.
"She was a formidable journalist, a strong woman and a much-needed voice in the journalism community. Karima was driven by a commitment and a passion for the poorest of the poor in our country, and she always wanted her journalism to assist with the upliftment of our people and helping to change our society."
The SACP, however, made a call for media in South Africa to be diversified in memory of Brown, saying ownership of commercial media was in the hands of a few people in the country.
SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said: “In memory of Karima Brown, the SACP reiterates its call for the long overdue diversity and demonopolisation of the media.
“Ownership of South Africa’s media, especially commercial media, remains among the most concentrated in the world. This, naturally, negatively affects democratic participation and diversity in terms of news coverage and analysis.
“The dominant sections of the commercial media largely serve capitalist, and also imperialist, ideas in almost every battle involving the working class and the capitalist class. The task of progressive voices in the media fraternity to change the narrative and build diversity of content is more relevant than ever,” Mashilo said.
He said his party also called for speedy action in securing the most suitable Covid-19 vaccines for the people, based on scientific research.
“We also call for more collaboration among African and Global South countries, buttressed by people-to-people solidarity, in the fight against the deadly virus,” Mashilo said.