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Brendan Boyle kept foreign correspondents hopping

Brendan Boyle and I joined Reuters in South Africa in the late 1980s within a year of each other, both local hires. The South Africa story was front-page news every day and the world’s media sent in their ace correspondents to cover what we all feared would be a violent revolution against apartheid.

Brendan quickly proved that his stories would keep all the foreign correspondents hopping and that he was easily among the best reporters the international media had deployed to cover the story. I was in Johannesburg when he sent in his alert from Cape Town on Mandela’s release from Victor Verster prison: NELSON MANDELA WALKS TO FREEDOM AFTER 27 YEARS IN SOUTH AFRICAN PRISONS.

It was a huge story and, yes, I believe Reuters beat everyone in getting it out worldwide.

It was also the kind of historic moment that makes or breaks a career and Brendan handled it cooly and flawlessly, even offering to help out some of the more famous foreign correspondents and making sure the first pictures were transmitted world wide. It was a measure of Brendan’s professionalism, generosity and the empathy that made him such a great correspondent and a wonderful man.

Brendan stayed on in South Africa and went on to do some of his best work as Reuters parliamentary correspondent in Cape Town and bureau chief in Johannesburg. I have an enduring admiration for his legacy and deep memories of him as a brother. ■