Riaan Cruywagen bids viewers goodbye
With a simple hand salute and goodbye wave, a visibly emotional Riaan Cruywagen signed off and said goodbye to millions of viewers on SABC2 at 7pm during the Nuus om 7.
“My task is completed. Tonight, exactly 37 years after reading my first TV news bulletin, I’m retiring,” said the dapper newsman, dressed in a black pinstripe suit with a red-and-white striped tie and matching red handkerchief; his hair as perfectly coiffed as ever.
“My heartfelt appreciation goes to the Afrikaans news editorial staffs who, over the decades, I’ve been privileged to work with – in the most recent times my bulletin editors Sandy Macdonald and Monica Ribbons, my executive director Kenneth Makatees and my pillar-of-support boss, Jimi Matthews.”
“You know, TV news is a massive team effort, and I was just the ears of the hippo which stuck out. To you, the TV news viewers, thank you that you, over so many years, allowed me into your homes.
“For me it was an exceptional privilege and when I look back, it was all just grace. For the very last time, goodbye. Good day,” he said as he lifted his right hand and made a goodbye wave and hand salute to viewers.
Cruywagen’s sign-off at the end of the bulletin was suddenly followed by an hour long retrospective TV special on SABC2 neither viewers nor TV critics in the country knew about beforehand.
The special looked back at Cruywagen’s storied career as a news broadcaster and his stay at the SABC which spans 47 years in total.
At a farewell brunch in Sandton yesterday morning the SABC presented Cruywagen with a special plaque.
Jimi Matthews, the acting head of news and current affairs at the SABC said: “Now we’re going to have to get used to South African television news without Riaan Cruywagen.
“And it’s quite a strange notion; quite a strange feeling actually.
“His contribution to broadcasting, not only to the SABC, but to broadcasting in general has been immense. Riaan’s legacy in the news room will always be his commitment to his craft, his dedication, his professionalism. And for me I think it was a huge honour to work alongside someone like Riaan.”
“I always remained a career broadcaster,” said Cruywagen at the brunch.
“No matter who was in charge of government or at the SABC, I remained true to my profession and nothing else. I never became involved in politics – neither external nor internal – and I made it my duty to present the news in an unbiased, non-partisan and objective, credible and authoritative way.”