…By Gift BADEWO for TDPel Media.
Renowned foreign correspondent Dame Ann Leslie has passed away at the age of 82.
Known for her substantial contributions as a freelance journalist, especially for the Daily Mail, she left an indelible mark on journalism with her nuanced and fearless reporting from global hotspots.
Early Life and Education
Born in 1941, in what is now present-day Pakistan, Dame Ann spent her early years in pre-partition India.
When she was nine years old, she returned to Britain.
Her academic journey took her to Oxford where she studied English.
Following her graduation in the early 1960s, she began her journalistic career at the Daily Express.
Throughout her illustrious career, Dame Ann reported from more than 70 countries.
Her assignments often led her into hazardous circumstances, yet she remained dedicated to her craft, providing first-hand accounts of some of the most significant events of modern history.
Her work encompassed the Cold War, the Northern Ireland conflict, and the wars in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
High Profile Stories and Interviews
While working for numerous Fleet Street papers, she reported on notable events and trials, such as those of Charles Manson and OJ Simpson.
She was present for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.
Dame Ann also conducted interviews with notable figures, including Muhammad Ali and the King.
These contributions underscore her legacy as a journalist at the forefront of major global events.
Honors and Awards
Her relentless pursuit of truth earned her recognition, with the British Press Awards naming her Feature Writer of the Year in 1981 and 1989.
She was also made DBE in 2007, further acknowledging her significant contributions to journalism.
Reflections on Her Work
In a conversation with the PA news agency, Dame Ann reflected on her career, noting that she considered journalism to be the “first rough draft of history”.
She recounted being on the East Berlin side when the wall came down and standing outside the prison when Nelson Mandela was released – two occasions she termed as “good news stories”.
She also mentioned surviving being shot at during her work in Salvador.
Personal Life and Death
Dame Ann Leslie passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning.
She leaves behind her husband Michael Fletcher and her daughter Katharine.
Her legacy as a pioneering and fearless journalist lives on.
The news of Dame Ann Leslie’s death marks the end of an era.
Her contributions to journalism, particularly in covering global conflicts and important historical events, are noteworthy.
Her relentless commitment to her work, often in the face of danger, serves as a testament to the unwavering spirit of journalism.
As we remember her, we celebrate not just her life but also her role in shaping the way we understand our world. She will be greatly missed.