David Beresford: ‘the most generous and gentle mentor’

David Beresford

David Beresford sent Gary Younge on minor fact-check errands so the younger reporter would gain a byline.
Photograph: Ellen Elmendorp

Not long after South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, I sat with the late David Beresford in The Portugalia, one of his favourite bars in Johannesburg at the time – a very basic place that served good beer and delicious seafood.

I was 25, on contract, and had just finished my first major assignment; David was 47 (the same age I am now) and had just led our small team in reporting one of the greatest stories of the last century. I asked him where else in the world he’d like to cover.

He ran through a wishlist before reflecting on the fact that his choices were limited by his illness.

“What illness?” I asked.

He looked at me with incredulity.

I looked back equally cluelessly.

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