Remembering Tony Heard: A Titan of Journalism’s Legacy

  • Tony Heard's courageous resistance to apartheid: The article emphasizes Heard's fearless opposition to apartheid, highlighting his significant contributions in challenging the oppressive regime through journalism. He utilized newsroom resources to expose apartheid brutality and amplify the voices of marginalized communities.
  • Heard's impact on journalism and media ethics: President Ramaphosa and the South African National Editors' Forum recognize Heard's enduring influence on journalism. He inspired a generation of journalists to uphold quality reporting and ethical standards, enriching the profession and contributing to South Africa's journey towards freedom.
  • Fond remembrance and tribute: The article pays tribute to Heard's remarkable career and legacy, celebrating his unwavering dedication to journalistic principles and his lasting impact on South African media. President Ramaphosa extends condolences to Heard's family, while SANEF mourns the loss of a titan in the field of journalism.
Remembering Tony Heard

President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his deep appreciation for the remarkable career of Tony Heard, a distinguished journalist, acclaimed editor, and former special adviser in the Presidency, who passed away at the age of 86 after a brief illness towards the end of last month.

In reflecting on Heard’s legacy, President Ramaphosa highlighted his courageous opposition to apartheid, noting that Heard fearlessly challenged the conscience and beliefs of those who benefited from the oppressive system. He emphasized Heard’s commitment to deploying substantial newsroom resources to expose the brutality of the apartheid regime and to depict the everyday suffering endured by oppressed and impoverished communities.

President Ramaphosa acknowledged Heard’s role in cultivating a generation of journalists who were unafraid to take a principled stance on critical issues facing the nation. He praised Heard’s dedication to giving voice to those whose cries for justice were stifled by state repression, noting the journalists’ resilience in navigating the challenging environment of typewriters and tear gas to bring attention to the struggles of marginalized communities.

In addition to his contributions to journalism, President Ramaphosa recognized Heard’s lasting impact on the profession, stating that he inspired a commitment to quality reporting that enriched both the field of journalism and media audiences. He attributed Heard’s efforts as part of the broader momentum that ultimately led to South Africa’s liberation from apartheid.

Concluding his tribute, President Ramaphosa expressed gratitude for Heard’s later years of service as a senior advisor to the government and extended condolences to his surviving partner, Jane Porter, and his children Vicki, Janet, Pasqua, and Dylan, wishing peace for Heard’s soul in its rest.

Meanwhile, the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) also paid homage to Heard, referring to him as a “titan of journalism.” SANEF mourned his passing, recognizing him as a stalwart of conscientious journalism whose influence extended far beyond South Africa’s borders.

In a statement, SANEF acknowledged Heard’s profound contributions to the field, highlighting the enduring impact of his work on journalism in South Africa and abroad. They praised his unwavering dedication to ethical reporting and his commitment to holding power to account, noting that his legacy would continue to inspire generations of journalists.

SANEF emphasized Heard’s significant role in shaping the landscape of South African media, citing his tireless efforts to uphold press freedom and promote journalistic integrity. They expressed gratitude for his pioneering spirit and his willingness to push boundaries in pursuit of truth and justice.

In commemorating Heard’s life and career, SANEF celebrated his courage, integrity, and unwavering commitment to journalistic principles. They extended their condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues, acknowledging the profound loss felt by the entire journalism community.

As South Africa bids farewell to Tony Heard, his legacy as a fearless journalist, influential editor, and dedicated advocate for press freedom will endure, serving as a guiding light for future generations of reporters committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism.

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