Tributes to tragic Kari

AN IPSWICH consultant today told how his colleagues battled in vain to save his wife as he worked unaware with patients in the same hospital.Tom Boto, of Park Road, Ipswich, is today coming to terms with losing his wife, Kari after she drowned at Felixstowe and described her as the centre of all good things.

THE Evening Star has been inundated with tributes for Ipswich mother-of-three Kari Boto who drowned in a swimming accident at Felixstowe on June 27.

Mrs Boto was head of African services for the BBC World Service radio network.

Her career spanned 30 years with the service during which Mrs Boto, who worked under the name Mrs Blackburn, made many friends.

Tributes since her death have confirmed her popularity both at home and abroad.


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Mrs Boto, 53, had longstanding connections with Africa. She taught primary school children in Tanzania before joining the BBC as a news trainee in 1977.

Her first production job with the BBC World Service was on the current affairs programme Focus on Africa, which gave her big opportunities.

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As a 24- year-old, she was able to travel all over the continent.

She then moved to World Service Current Affairs where she became assistant head in 1990. Two years later she was appointed editor of the BBC Marshall Plan of the Mind Trust which makes educational programmes for countries of the former Soviet Union.

They included information on setting up small businesses, and a soap opera in a Moscow apartment block.

By 1996, she was head of the BBC's Swahili and Great Lakes Service, broadcasting to Swahili and Kinyarwanda, the language of Rwanda.

The head of African services job saw her responsible for all World Service broadcasts to Africa in eight languages. Her last promotion was six months ago, when she became international director of the BBC World Service Trust.

The BBC World Service transmits in 33 languages and has an average weekly audience of 183 million people.

Her Uganda-born husband Tom Boto, 54, a leading gynaecologist at Ipswich Hospital, said: “It was a tremendous career for her.

“She was very enthusiastic, motivated and driven.”

Mrs Boto's African links did not start and finish with work.

As well as devotion to their three children in Ipswich - Kassalina, 25, Jonan, 22, and Tony, 18 - Mr and Mrs Boto, of Park Road, also pay school fees and pocket money for around 30 children in Uganda

Mr Boto, who fled Uganda in 1977 because of the Idi Amin dictatorship, said: “Kari was very keen to make a difference to these children.

“Ever since we married we have been helping these children from poverty.

“It's like we had 30 more children - they called her mummy and they meant a great deal to her.”

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