Last night was the end of a South African era and an Afrikaner institution.
For as long as I have been alive, come hell or high water, natural disasters or civil strikes, terrorist attacks or unfortunate rugby results, Oom Riaan was there to give us the news. For 37 years and more than 7000 bulletins Riaan Cruywagen read the news in Afrikaans on SABC. While situations, governments, presidents, province names, anthems and money in SA changed a lot over the last 4 decades, it was all ok, because one thing was constant and Riaan was still there to bring it to us.
The stuff legends are made of, last night’s emotional farewell tribute confirmed his status as an “Afrikaner legende”. His goodbye message (which you can watch here, if you understand Afrikaans) once again showed me that he is a gentlemen. With so many scandals by presenters and media personalities recently it is remarkable that he stayed ‘clean’ and unbiased through out his long career.
I might not be the most avid news watcher, but I do remember him as the voice of Koning Rosekrans in one of my favourite series as a child, Liewe Heksie and as the rabbit who brought us the news from the animal kingdom, Haas Das.
Oom Riaan, dankie, goed gaan en lekker rus!