When journalist Linus Kaikai started out at KTN as an intern, he found a tall well-built cameraman who
would be patient with him as he learned the ropes in his television debut.
Johnson Barasa allowed him to try 16 times when doing his very first piece to camera (PTC) on his first assignment
“HE ALLOWED ME TO DO 16 TAKES WHEN I STARTED AS AN INTERN,” HE TOLD THE STAR.
The long-serving photojournalist died on Tuesday, April 21, of a heart attack. He has been working
for SABC, the South African Broadcasting Corporation. He was in his mid-40s.
Barasa was buried on Saturday at his home in Taito village, Sitatunga ward, Trans Nzoia county.
The news of his death was broken to the public by his colleague Sarah Kimani who works a correspondent at the media house for the East Af-
“SOME VERY PERSONAL NEWS OUT OF THE SABC NEWS NAIROBI OFFICE. THIS AFTERNOON OUR DEAR COLLEAGUE AND CAMERAMAN JOHNSON BARASA TOOK HIS FINAL BOW. WE THANK THE LORD FOR THE TIME WE SPENT WITH HIM. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE,” SHE TWEETED.
Reminiscing on working with Barasa, Kaikai said that after a long stint at KTN, he landed an opportunity with SABC as African correspondent and brought him along.
The company asked him to recruit a cameraman so they worked together for years.
“I WAS CONNECTED TO JOHN IN MORE WAYS THAN WORKING TOGETHER,” HE SAID.
Kaikai and Barasa covered the big stories on the continent — conflicts, genocide, Ebola, elections, peace negotiations.
“WE COVERED EVERYTHING WITH JOHN. I REMEMBER RIDING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL CABIN WITH FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT NELSON MANDELA AS WE COVERED THE BURUNDI PEACE PROCESS. WE COVERED THE CONGO WAR, THE BURIAL OF FIRST TANZANIA PRESIDENT MWALIMU
NYERERE, AMONG OTHERS,” HE SAID.
“Nyerere’s burial was my first state burial and we did it together.”
In covering the Congo war, in particular, they were rescued by Rwandese soldiers when marooned
by belligerent warring parties in the conflict.
At another point when covering the Gambia elections, he recollected, their interview with the country’s long-serving dictator Yahyah Jam-
meh turned hostile in the middle and was cut off .
They also covered the South Sudan peace process when John Garang’ was appointed lead person for the southern side until his death in a
They covered the transition of the African Union from the initial OAU, which was disbanded by its last chairperson, South African President Thabo Mbeki.
“WE SAW IT ALL TOGETHER. WE FORMED UNBREAKABLE BONDS. HIS DEATH IS A REAL BLOW,” KAIKAI SAID.
“Barasa was a workhorse, never tiring, a team player with a brilliant mind. Though a cameraman,
he always worked with an editor’s perspective in mind,” he said.
“HE WAS A VERY STRONG PERSON AND IT’S UNBELIEVABLE THAT HE DIED IN HIS BED.”
Sarah Kimani described Barasa as a dear friend, colleague and father figure. “Go well, my dear friend,” she posted.