Guardian journalist who covered South Africa during apartheid and Ireland during Troubles dies aged 68

Bersforrd

 

Award winning Guardian correspondent David Beresford who covered South Africa during the apartheid era and Northern Ireland during the Troubles, has died aged 68.

Beresford died at his home in Johannesburg after suffering from a long illness.

Beresford, who began his journalistic life on the Guardian, was twice named foreign correspondent of the year.

He started out as a home news reporter at the Guardian but it was when he moved to the role of Irish correspondent that he began to make a name for himself.

It was Beresford’s moving account of the ordeal of the IRA hunger strikers which is likely to be the lasting testament to his journalism.

He immortalised the story of the 10 men who starved themselves to death inside the walls of Long Kesh prison rather than give in to Margaret Thatcher’s government in the book Ten Men Dead, published in 1987.

His reporting of the release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years in prison has also been widely praised.

Beresford made meticulous preparations to get the best vantage point.

He wrote: “Well, everyone knows what happened next. Everyone saw what happened. Nearly everyone, that is. I hardly saw a thing. All that I know for certain is that a voice cried out, ‘There he is.’

There was something like a collective sigh, a woman’s voice let out a piercing scream behind me and pandemonium broke out as the camera people stampeded. By the time I got to the spot where I’d thought I’d get a glimpse of him, all that was left was the receding roar of his motor escort and a cloud of dust.”

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