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Sanef pays tribute to Willie de Klerk and Farook Khan

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has paid tribute to two veteran journalists - photojournalist, Willie de Klerk and news journalist, Farook Khan who have both passed away.

Willie de Klerk


De Klerk died last Sunday aged 81. He was an “old-school” photojournalist, the first full-time black photographer to be employed by the Argus newspaper, then the largest publication in Cape Town, during the apartheid era.

In the trenches during the 1970s and 1980s, he was a mentor to many emerging photographers through the decades. On the Cape Flats, De Klerk recorded the daily battles that unfolded “between the youth - armed only with stones - and the might of the apartheid state”, as noted by a former Argus colleague Dennis Cruywagen in a tribute this week.


De Klerk documented the October 1985 Trojan Horse massacre where he took photos of police hiding in wooden crates and then filmed them jumping out, opening fire and killing of three protesters. He documented the destruction of District 6, a necklacing in the Eastern Cape and the police shooting of schoolboy, Christopher Truter in Bonteheuwel in the unrest in 1976.

De Klerk’s multiple awards include runner-up in the South African Press photographer of the year in 1985, 1986 and 1987 and the Dutch Stichting World Press Association awards for sport, news and people pictures. His peers such as the late Alf Kumalo and Peter Magubane would attest to the fact that he was one of South Africa’s most outstanding and accomplished photojournalists of the apartheid era, wrote Cruywagen.

De Klerk’s funeral service was held on Saturday at Saint Margaret Anglican Church, 71 Hopkins Street, Parow.

Farook Khan


Farook Khan was a veteran news journalist. He died at 75 while being treated for colon cancer. Khan worked for the Post Newspapers, Drum Magazine, the Daily News, the Sunday Tribune, Star and Pretoria News, amongst a number of publications. He captured the lifestyle of the Grey Street Casbah in a book he wrote titled the Goodwill Lounge. He captured the protests and campaigns against the Villa Road evictions in Sydenham.


“Farook was a colourful, lovable character. His lists of contacts included international figures in sport and entertainment as well as ordinary folks from every walk of life”, said former editor at Independent Newspaper Deon Delport. “He broke a host of stories through his hard work, tenacity and charm and many young journalists were taken under his wing.”

Sanef sent condolences to the families and friends of both journalists. They will be missed.

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