Ali Nadim Zaidi, who died on 7 September 2019 aged 63, will be best remembered as one of Kenya’s leading magazine and newspaper editors. He came here from India to be a high school teacher after Green Fields School in Kitale recruited him.
He only spent a few months in the classroom before switching to the newsroom, but he never stopped teaching.
Whether it was Marxism, the split infinitive rule, the appeal of a piece of art or the lyrics to Grateful Dead’s Franklin’s Tower, Ali constantly shared his knowledge. He spent 30 years as an editor, first joining what was then Kenya’s oldest business publication, Executive, as a sub-editor and going on to be its editor before joining The EastAfrican newspaper in 1999 where he continued to work until he died.
Legendary were Ali’s ‘parties’ where he brought together progressive literati, artists, writers and left-leaning thinkers. He leaves behind his wife and five children and five grandchildren.
Poem by Zoya Zaidi
Who ever comes has to go
Who ever goes leaves a mark,
If it happens to be deep
It might as well short and sweet.
What matters most, is a life well lived,
A heavy burden of a futile long life,
Is hard to bear for all alike.
Those who make a place in hearts,
Live long after they gone.
To leave footprints on the sands of time
Is not everyone’s wont, nor an easy task
But, those who do, for others to follow
Are trail blazers of their Times...
May you live long in our hearts...
Author: Zoya Zaidi