Tributes flow for veteran journalist

Ami Nanakchand.

Ami Nanakchand.

Published Mar 24, 2024


Durban — Veteran journalist Ami Nanakchand, 80, died in hospital on Friday after suffering a heart attack.

Nanakchand qualified as a teacher before joining the Post newspaper as an advertising rep. He moved to reporting, covering sport and general news. He found a niche in reporting on local and national politics.

He had a stint at the Daily News before moving to the SABC, where he served most of his years as news editor until his retirement.

Yogin Devan, a media consultant and social commentator, said Nanakchand had a deep interest in national and global politics.

“He was a seasoned journalist who mentored scores of reporters. He had a very fathering attitude towards those under his wing. Many journalists would attest their success to the mentoring they received from Ami.

“He was a thorough gentleman and took an interest in the affairs of the community. His advice was sought by many religious, social and cultural organisations. He was a part-time announcer on Radio Hindvani, read widely, spoke with authority and had a deep interest in national and global politics,” said Devan.

Devan said he and a few other former colleagues, including Nanakchand, got together monthly for a social catch-up.

A former colleague at the SABC, Gary Govindsamy, described Nanakchand as a no-nonsense editor who was very particular about the English language and how he presented news to the world.

“He was a walking encyclopaedia and he followed news about the Indian community anywhere in the world.

“He was one of the first Indian political correspondents for the SABC. He covered the House of Delegates, House of Assembly into the liberation days. He was a trade unionist.

“I covered with him the tricameral elections, House of Delegates elections, and he was one of those people who covered it with such passion as a reporter,” said Govindsamy.

Anant Singh of Videovision Entertainment said he shared a treasured friendship of over five decades with Nanakchand.

“He was a great support as I developed in the film industry and my earliest interviews in both newspapers and television were conducted by him.

“Always humble and unassuming, Ami was a brilliant journalist and a respected media professional. One of his highlights as a television journalist was when he accompanied Madiba on the state visit to India in 1995 and reported for the SABC, and he instantly became a household figure.

“On launching my memoirs in November 2021 at Sastri College, the high school which we both attended, I asked Ami to moderate the panel discussion, for which he diligently prepared, but sadly due to ill health, he was not able to participate.

“Ami was a trailblazer in the transformation of journalism during the transition from apartheid to democracy.

“He is an acknowledged doyen of journalism and the media industry, and mentored and inspired many people who have achieved success in their careers,” said Singh.

Nanakchand is survived by his wife, Krish, a brother and sisters.

His funeral will take place at the Clare Estate Crematorium on Sunday (today) at 5pm.

Sunday Tribune