Mon | Mar 19, 2018

Abrahams a jewel of journalism

Published:Wednesday | January 25, 2017 | 12:00 AM


With the passing of Peter Abrahams, I have now lost all three of my most influential mentors of my teenage years - the others being Rex Nettleford and John Maxwell.

I met all of them 42 years ago when, in my first year in journalism, I was ambitious enough to think I could write profiles of these giants. What was even more amazing than my conceit was that they granted the interviews! These men impressed me so much and lit such a fire in my stomach that my profiles, published in Xaymaca, the Jamaica Daily News Sunday magazine, won the Seprod Journalism Award that year.

But I remember that the interview which the judges highlighted in their citation was the one with Peter Abrahams. It was not hard for me to figure why. I remember to this day the emotions I felt when at about 16 I read Tell Freedom, Peter's book about his life in South Africa. Peter was a master stylist, and his words would just leap off the page to lodge deep in your heart. It was pure alchemy. Peter nourished my fascination with style.




I remember the day I met him at Coyaba in 1975; his strutting down the hill with his dog to meet me, his wife Daphne, ever graceful, the perfect host. It was to be the first of a number of evenings spent there in Red Hills, talking international politics, Jamaican political history, culture. He took me as a young, ambitious journalist and instilled in me the belief that I could make a difference.

And while Peter's political leanings were not hard to detect, he had a balance and a fairness that set him apart from many others. He embodied the measured, nuanced approach that was synonymous with the Radio Jamaica DNA.

Peter Abrahams was truly a jewel of journalism.