Former ‘Cape Times’ editor Tony Heard dies

Former Cape Times editor Tony Heard. Picture: Ian Landsberg

Former Cape Times editor Tony Heard. Picture: Ian Landsberg

Published Mar 28, 2024


Former “Cape Times” editor Tony Heard has been remembered as an independent thinker who has left an indelible footprint in journalism and beyond, with a lifelong commitment to media freedom, non-racialism and social justice.

Heard died peacefully Wednesday morning after a short illness. He was 86.

“As a family, we mourn his passing and we thank him for his courage, his unwavering love, kindness, idealism and unique storytelling. He has caught his final wave, may he RIP,” Heard’s family said in a statement.

“We are finalising service arrangements, and have set up a memorial Facebook group to share tributes. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to a charity/organisation of your choice.”

Heard, whose parents were journalists, joined the Cape Times as a junior reporter soon after matriculating, and studied part-time for a Bachelor of Arts degree, followed by a philosophy honours degree at UCT. He also completed a shorthand and typing course at Pitman’s College in London.

He became parliamentary reporter in 1958, then political correspondent.

He covered the historic anti-pass Langa march led by PAC leader Philip Kgosana on March 30 1960, which became a pivotal moment in his life.

Heard joined the Financial Mail as Cape Editor in 1964, went to London in 1966 as senior correspondent in the SA Morning Newspapers Group office, and returned to South Africa in 1967 to take up the position of leader-page editor of the “Cape Times.”

He was appointed editor of the “Cape Times” in 1971. During his tenure, “Cape Times” reporters covered the brutality of the apartheid state. In one stand-out example, reporters Chris Bateman and Tony Weaver exposed the killings of Gugulethu activists by police on March 3, 1986, in what became known as the “Gugs 7”.

In 1985 Heard took leave and went to England to quietly interview the then banned ANC leader, Oliver Tambo.

Heard is survived by his partner Jane; children Vicki, Janet, Pasqua and Dylan and their partners John, Steve, James and Emma; his brother Ray; grandchildren Jessica, Tyler and Ella, and other family members.

Cape Times

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