Ahmed Khan
3 minute read
26 Sep 2008

The need to know what’s going on

Ahmed Khan

Who is writing to 'The Witness' and why?

What is your connection with The Witness and to Pietermaritzburg?

Growing up as a young boy the only newspapers I knew were The Natal Witness, Post, Leader and Graphic. My connection with The Witness is at home as it keeps me informed about what is happening locally, nationally and internationally. It also gives me an opportunity to talk to people about local and national issues. It is a medium for exposing corruption and dishonesty as well as praising the good.

Where were you born, where did you grow up and where were you educated?

I was born in Durban but I was raised on a farm in Pietermaritzburg from the age of four and then I “emigrated” to the city to complete my schooling. I matriculated at the M. L. Sultan Secondary School in Pietermaritzburg. I am completing an MBA at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). I have completed a postgraduate diploma in management, a higher national diploma in chemistry, a national diploma in analytical chemistry and a certificate in labour law.

How do you spend your days?

I am a quality manager for a large edible oils and fats company. I am passionate about food safety and quality management. I spend my spare time reading and watching TV.

Do you write letters to other newspapers? Why do you choose The Witness?

I write primarily to The Witness although I do write to other papers — the Sunday Times and international papers such as the Telegraph in the UK.

How do you receive your news about South African current affairs and why do you follow it?

Through The Witness, TV, the Sunday Times and the Sunday Tribune. I need to know what is going on around me at all times. It is a kind of adrenalin rush. The days when I don’t get my fix (The Witness) I go insane and your subscriptions department know all about me. In short, I am addicted to this newspaper.

Do you have any other passions or interests?

I am a sports fanatic and have recently started playing golf. I also enjoy gardening and home DIY.

What do you think is the value of letter writing? What inspires you to write letters?

Letter writing serves a few purposes. It informs the public about the goings on around us. It exposes corrupt practices and poor service delivery. It highlights and promotes substantial activity in various neighbourhoods and it enables people to engage with one another.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing South Africa today?

The biggest challenge is to get an honest government with an honest president and a strong opposition party. Then crime and violence have to be eradicated. I would welcome the death penalty. We have to re-duce unemployment and uplift the quality of life of indigent people and then education must be compulsory without lowering the standards to promote mass passes. There must be no compromise.

What is your age, your marital status and do you have children?

I am a sprightly 50-year-old. I am married to Farah and have two children.

What do you believe has been your best letter?

It was about the rescue of a dog in my suburb.

Do you get any feedback as a result of your letters?

I get a lot of feedback, some negative but mainly positive. When my letters don’t appear in the press people stop me or phone to ask what is going on. I simply tell them that at times I get writer’s block.