The Herald still has lead role at 170

IAN VON MEMERTY -
IAN VON MEMERTY –

SA celebs to host paper’s glitzy birthday banquet and show

THE oldest daily English newspaper in South Africa, your morning read, The Herald has been the voice of the bay for 170 years. Founded as the Eastern Province Herald, the four-page first edition printed on May 7 1845, only cost one penny at the time.

Since its inception, the paper’s ownership has changed hands several times over the nearly two centuries of its existence, and is owned by the Times Media Group now.

With a readership of nearly 300 000, The Herald is one of the province’s most popular news providers and continues to enlighten, entertain and inform on a daily basis.

In lieu of this auspicious achievement in the world of print media, The Herald will be celebrating its 170 years of news-making on March 6 at the Boardwalk Convention Centre.

The event, hosted by Port Elizabeth-born, award-winning playwright, director and actor John Kani, will include entertainment by the likes of Strictly Come Dancing host Ian von Memerty and his cabaret, The History of South Africa, Port Elizabeth and The Herald.

Von Memerty has promised an evening filled with “laughs and splendour” as he plans on “incorporating more ludicrous events related to The Herald and its adverts from the past”.

Kani, born in 1943 and brought up in New Brighton, has fond memories of the city and the people who make up the diverse community which The Herald has served for over the years.

Kani said he would always cherish his early memories of The Herald which, for many, had played a fundamental part of growing up in the Eastern Cape.

“The only thing older than me in the Eastern Cape is the Eastern Cape Herald,” Kani laughed.

Von Memerty was born in Zimbabwe and later moved to Johannesburg, before relocating to the Bay, where he and his family enjoy living in “a small cottage in the forest near Port Elizabeth”.

Von Memerty, who is an avid Herald reader and was honoured to be part of The Herald’s 170th celebrations, said he was impressed that the paper had “managed to survive, maintain an authentic voice and stay healthy and relevant through the years”.

For Kani, his roots run deeper and his appreciation for The Herald and love for Port Elizabeth is sanctified in his play, Nothing But The Truth, which is set in the city post-1994 and deals with the legacy of apartheid in a community still haunted by the atrocities which befell them during the 1960s to the late 1980s.

Kani said the main character in his play was based on his primary school librarian, Mr Soya Mama.

One of his first memories of The Herald is of “Mr Mama walking around the school grounds with The Herald neatly tucked under his arm”, Kani said.

In high school, Kani’s English teacher insisted that each pupil read The Herald before coming to class.

“Everyone, everyday had to comment on the editorial so we had to read the paper before school. That’s where everyone got their news from.”

Kani said even during the treacherous apartheid years, The Herald employed “great black reporters at the time” and it was known that one could only make it in journalism if you had written for The Herald.

Kani said he felt honoured to have been invited to MC at the banquet and was happy that he had the opportunity to return to his home town.

The glitzy event promises to be a fun-filled celebration with world-class acts.

Readers are invited to buy tickets to attend the 170th banquet and show, which will be held at the Boardwalk Convention Centre on March 6, from 7pm to 7.30pm. Tickets are R400 per person and include a three-course dinner and the show.

Proceeds will go to The Herald Christmas Cheer Fund.

For bookings, contact Michelle Brown at michelle.brown@axxess.co.za (limited seats available).

-Devon Koen

Leave a Reply