Home South Africa News ‘SA media landscape will surely miss Karima Brown’

‘SA media landscape will surely miss Karima Brown’

Karima Brown

“FEARLESS”, “robust” and a “wellloved friend” were some of the words used to describe veteran journalist Karima Brown who died due to Covid19-related complications in hospital yesterday. Brown, aged 54, was buried in a private burial ceremony in accordance with Islamic rites and traditions later in the afternoon.

“It is with deep sadness that we inform the public that our sister that is beloved and, Karima Brown, passed away this morning. She died from Covid-19-related complications,” Brown’s family said in a statement.

Brown was a political commentator and the host of The Fix on eNCA. She was also a executive that is former for the Independent Media Group and political editor at Business Day.

“We are enormously proud of the fierce determination she had shown since her early years, to get involved in bringing about a more just, inclusive and anti-racist SA,” the family said.

“Karima was not just a prolific and well-known SA journalist and commentator, with deep footprints in print and broadcast media, but also, and more importantly, a friend that is well-loved mentor, mother, colleague, daughter and confidante to countless people throughout a life lived fully, and with deep commitment to her most cherished values and principles.”

Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé said Brown’s death was another reminder of the ruthlessness of Covid-19.

“The media landscape in South Africa will be all the quieter and poorer without her voice, insights and personality that is larger-than-life. A committed and passionate journalist, Karima will be remembered for her fearlessness and most importantly, the significant contribution she made while she was executive editor at Independent Media, during a time of the Group’s transition and transformation. Our heartfelt condolences go to her son, Mikhail, and her family and loved ones during this very time that is difficult” Survé said.

Former protector that is public Thuli Madonsela shared her shock on social media. “Still battling to wrap my mind around the news that Karima Brown is no more. This shocked me to the core. Heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues. Thank you for your commitment that is fearless to conversations,” she said.

The ANC said journalism has lost one of its most dedicated and servants that are courageous. “Karima 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 SA Youth Congress as well as the building of the Congress of South African Students. Her father, a veteran of the ANC, Achmat Semaar, sadly passed on last year in April at the age of 72,” the party said.

KARIMA Brown can only be described as someone larger than life, a fiercely independent journalist who was always ready to take on the world at all costs.

I have yet to come across someone as brave and relentless in their pursuit of truth and justice. When others shied away from speaking truth to power as they were worried about losing their jobs or their privilege, she would always say she was prepared to face down starvation for what was right.

I first became close to Karima when she was Group Politics Editor at Independent Media, and she was effectively my immediate boss.

From one she filled me with awe, inspiration, and a bit of trepidation day. Everyone who has worked with Karima knew as she expected from herself, which usually meant perfection, or at least a brilliant analysis of the situation at hand that she was a hard task-master and expected as much from you.

Karima never suffered fools, and if you were to make it under her mentorship you had to have read all the day’s news by 7am. I was always relieved that my specialisation was foreign affairs and not the expanse that is entire of politics.

I remember in the pre-Covid days Karima would regularly ask me to come on The Fix to analyse the week’s newspapers, but it was a daunting task, as no matter how many newspapers I had managed to read in one week, Karima would always know more than her guest expert, and have the real back story associated with any unfolding drama.

She had her secret network of contacts that stretched far and wide into every sector of the country, and I most admired her for her loyal following among those on the left who were as committed to justice that is social human rights as she was.

Whatever a level that is person’s society, Karima held everyone to the same standard, and had zero tolerance for corruption, back room deals, dishonesty and greed. As a result, she had her detractors, but there is no denying that she was widely respected as a member of the Fourth Estate across the country.

Her sudden passing after a relatively short battle against Covid-19 has shocked and stunned the country, her a household name, and a trusted source of information as her familiar face and lively analysis on eNCA has made.

Karima was loved by many but was personally close to a small circle that is inner of and family members.

The irony of this last year in lockdown was that in her copious Facebook posts, Karima was continuously expressing concern for those who

had contracted Covid-19 – she was always asking people to light a candle in solidarity with their families in what became a monumental national struggle for survival. She would regularly report on the latest number of infections and deaths, and encouraged people to play their part by masking up and social distancing.

Life has a very strange way of throwing the curve balls that are worst. For someone who struggled with asthma, Karima was always extra careful in terms of taking preventive measures, and spent most of the year that is past home. She regularly shared her imaginative lockdown recipes as she became a budding chef, and I looked forward to the day I would partake in her newfound skill. But somehow, somewhere, she was got by the virus.

It breaks my heart to think on her second to last The Fix show on January 31 that she had interviewed Ambassador Barry Gilder and me. Gilder had always wanted Karima and me to go to Damascus and report on the realities on the ground there, and we almost went just before the pandemic set in, but as it turns out, it was the trip that was never to be.

Even though Karima was best known for her analysis on local South African politics, she was well versed in international affairs, and the Middle East was of great interest to her.

She would have covered the realities on the ground in Syria just as she saw them, pulling no punches and giving a voice to the voiceless. When it came to the rights of the Palestinians and the Sahrawis, Karima was equally vocal in her support of their struggles for self-determination. Karima never hid her light under a bushel, she shone it brightly and fought bravely.

The girl who came from Mitchells Plain on the Cape Flats, and who rose to great heights in the new democratic South Africa, will be remembered by many as a doyenne of South African journalism.


MOMENTUM Metropolitan Holdings yesterday called on the government to speed the vaccination programme up of South Africans to curb a possible third wave of infections in the country.

South Africa has vaccinated more than 80 000 of its citizens through the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, mostly health-care workers, as of Wednesday.

Chief executive Hillie Meyer said the country needed to act with speed and vaccinate more of the its citizens as the third wave outbreak remained a big concern for both the country and the economy.

“We must look beyond the four vaccinations that we are currently looking at. There are about 10 vaccinations that are currently available throughout the globe and there are other 10 vaccinations that are potential we can look at. We need to be more ambitious and the time we take to vaccinate is too long. We must do it quickly because the third and waves that are fourth a threat,” Meyer said.

This after South Africa’s largest insurance-based financial services group said it had increased its provision that is covid-19 by additional R655 million, net of tax, by the end of December.

“The additional provision was in addition to a provision of R983m net of tax that we set aside in the previous financial year. This Covid-19 provision relates to potential increased mortality claims, increases in terminations, reduced return-to-work experience on disability income claims in payment, and business interruption claims,” the group said.

The group has felt the second wave impact of the Covid-19 outbreak during the period as it reported a 43 percent decline in normalised headline earnings to R1.01 billion. However, it said this is a significant recovery from the loss of R251m that was reported for the second half of the 2020 financial year. The group’s new business volumes increased by 14 percent to R30bn and value of new business more than doubled to R334m. Its normalised headline earnings per share fell by 43 percent to 67.6 cents a share and the group declared a cash dividend of 25c an ordinary share.

Meyer said Momentum was pleased by its operating that is excellent performance.

“If we exclude the additional Covid-19 provision of R655m net of tax as well as the adverse mortality due to the pandemic, operating profit would have been 31 percent higher year-on-year. Our normalised headline earnings would have been in line with that of the period that is previous” he said. Momentum Corporate was the division that is only reported a loss, which rose by more than 100 percent to a loss of R212m from a profit of R308m a year earlier.

Meyer said the group remained cautious about the secondary impact of the pandemic on the economy, as disposable income would remain under pressure, which in turn could dampen new business flows or increase contract terminations.

Yesterday Momentum shares closed 0.93 percent higher at R17.35 on the JSE.