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Obituary: Ian MacKenzie

Ian MacKenzie (photo), who has died at the age of 81, had a passion for reporting and an eye for a big story as a correspondent and editor in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

His reporting and desk assignments took him to Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, China, Bahrain, Cyprus, South Africa and Zimbabwe.


MacKenzie joined Reuters in London after work on the general news rewrite and filing desks of Canada’s national news agency, The Canadian Press, in Toronto. He had been at university in Nova Scotia.

A serious car crash in late 1970 landed him in hospital for several months. “Reuters flew my mother out to Singapore from Canada as there was some danger that I might end up prematurely in the Great Newsroom in the sky,” he recalled half a century later.


After convalescence MacKenzie was posted to Japan where he met Junko. They married and she survives him.


He was an anchor of the Middle East desk in Bahrain and when Reuters decided to transfer its Middle East regional headquarters to Cyprus MacKenzie was chosen as the advance man for the desk’s move to Nicosia.


He was based in Johannesburg in the period running up to the end of apartheid and the rise of Nelson Mandela and then went to Zimbabwe to cover the rule of Robert Mugabe.


On retirement in 2003 MacKenzie work as Reuters Scotland stringer based in Edinburgh where he loved writing about the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


He died of severe sepsis at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on 28 April. ■