The Nelson Mandela Foundation is saddened to learn about the passing of struggle stalwart Raymond Louw.
Louw was a titan of press freedom. He joined the influential Rand Daily Mail as a reporter in 1946, and later become its second editor in 1957. He was the Chairman of the South African Morning Newspaper Group in 1975, the General Manager of South African Associated Newspapers (Now Times Media Group Ltd) in 1977, and reported on the proceedings of the Five Freedoms Forum’s visit to Lusaka to meet ANC members there in 1989.
He was the 2007 recipient of the Mondi Shanduka Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2011, the Vienna-based International Press Institute named Louw a World Press Freedom Hero, citing his “commitment to press freedom and his outspoken defence of journalists’ rights”. Raymond Louw’s expansive biography can be found here.
At the 10th anniversary of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism held in Johannesburg on 14 June 2002, Nelson Mandela said the following:
“South Africa should put the freedom of its press and media at the top of its priorities as a democracy. None of our irritations with the perceived inadequacies of the media should ever allow us to suggest even faintly that the independence of the press could be compromised or coerced. A bad free press is preferable to a technically good subservient press.”
It is in times such as our own that an effective and free press must be most strongly emphasised. Louw’s contribution to a robust press in South Africa is a legacy that will not easily be forgotten.
Robala ka kgotso Ntate Raymond Louw, you will be sorely missed.