BELIEVE it or not, after 20 years on air with charlatans, atheists, wizards and astronomers, it was time for Kate Turkington to say goodbye last night.
Flowers, champagne, tears and highlights were in abundance as the fearless Talk Radio 702 show host signed off.
“I feel very nervous tonight. It’s my last show, but I feel it’s my first,” said Turkington, sporting red lipstick and a green African print shirt she bought in Burkina Faso.
The questions about her legacy, Turkington said, could only be answered by her listeners.
And the listeners did call in and answer. They thanked Turkington for her “immense intelligence combined with practicality”, and “for bringing immeasurable joy to my Sunday evenings”.
Before the show, she reflected on her best and worst shows.
She picked out an interview with the author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, as one of her most memorable moments, and chose the show she did after her husband’s death as the most difficult.
“I returned to work two weeks after my husband died. The listeners knew that my husband had been in hospital. Before ending the show, one caller asked how my husband was doing. I told him that my husband had passed away and I broke down and cried,” Turkington recalled.
Her colleague, columnist and movie critic Barry Ronge, spoke highly of Turkington.
“I met Kate at Wits (University) in the English department. She handed me coffee and a slice of cake and said ‘you are going to be here for a long time’.”
It was Ronge’s last show too, but, like Turkington, he will be featured in other segments with Kgomotso Matsunyane’s weekend breakfast show and on John Robbie’s morning show.
Ronge began his show by asking listeners not to call in.
He said earlier that he wanted to go out “easy and calm” – evoking the scene in the movie Titanic, where the string quartet played one last song before the ship sank.
“Change comes inevitably. If you don’t accept it and go with it, you end up tangled in a morass,” said the movie critic, who predicts that the films Lincoln, Life of Pi and Les Misérables will win Oscars at this year’s academy awards.
“Carpe diem (seize the day),” Turkington said, invoking the words she has lived by.