Iconic Cape Argus columnist David Biggs calls it a day after 42 years
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Cape Town - After entertaining the readers of his much-loved iconic weekly column, Tavern of the Seas in the Cape Argus for 42 years, David Biggs is calling it a day.
Biggs, who has been a journalist since 1962, said his career has been an adventure that ensured he was never bored.
And what an adventure it has been, with highlights such as riding his trusty Vespa scooter 800km from Cape Town to the Karoo farm he grew up on in a day, and touring Europe with the same scooter.
Biggs sailed in the Cape to Uruguay race.
“That was an adventure… and very unusual for me. Also, my skipper was a beautiful young woman and we got on very well.”
He didn’t have any low points because, “there’s always been something worthwhile and something exciting and fascinating. It’s been a huge learning curve,” Biggs said.
With his memory fading fast now that he is in his eighties, it is time to rest, he said.
“Quite frankly, I’m becoming very forgetful. I’ve found myself telling the same story to people and then they have had to tell me: ‘You told us that last year.’ So it is definitely time for me to retire. It’s always been a kind of privilege for me to know there’s people out there reading what I write, very few people have that privilege,” he said.
Biggs received a lot of feedback from people during “an ongoing wonderful conversation” that he said he will miss a lot. “But it’s time I stopped”.
About how things have changed since he first took over Tavern of the Seas in 1979, Biggs said: “Electronic communication… In those days we didn’t have things like wi-fi or even as much TV as today. Newspapers were the major source of information and that role has got very much smaller.”
He retires his column 16 years shy of the record set by his hero, British-American writer, journalist, TV personality and radio broadcaster Alistair Cooke who had a weekly radio series, Letter from America, which ran on the BBC from 1946 to 2004.
Cape Argus editor Aziz Hartley visited Biggs on Sunday to thank him and say farewell. Hartley said it was a pleasure and honour to have had Biggs as a columnist.
“He is a legend. His column was loved by all. We are sad to see David go, but we understand completely why he’s retiring and wish him well.”
His last column for the Cape Argus will be published online later this afternoon.