Legendary broadcaster Edwill van Aarde’s voice is silent


Edwill van Aarde, legendary South African TV personality and radio announcer, died on Wednesday evening at the age of 85.

Van Aarde’s family confirmed the news to RNews. According to his son, Cobus, Van Aarde died in hospital after a short illness.

Van Aarde was well known as, among other things, presenter of the quiz program at the time Smart thinking and over the years was a beloved broadcasting personality who also made deep strides as a cricket commentator.

“He made a great contribution to the promotion of Afrikaans in many areas, while he was involved in broadcasting,” the family told RNews.

“In the field of sports, he will be especially remembered for his cricket commentary and how, with the help of viewers, he created Afrikaans versions for English terms. He commented on about 20 other sports such as rugby, boxing, the Comrades and gymnastics.”

Van Aarde took part in the first short cricket tour to India in 1991 when South Africa was re-admitted to international cricket.

In Kolkata he met Mother Theresa and also visited the world famous Taj Mahal. This was followed by tours to Sri Lanka in 1993 and England in 1994.

He was also the first Afrikaans commentator to broadcast on TV from Lord’s, the headquarters of cricket. With the broadcast of his 500th match, he received a gold ornamental standing clock from the United Cricket Board for his contribution to the promotion of Afrikaans. He ended up serving as a commentator in 517 cricket matches.

From 1976 to 1986, Van Aarde had a total of 176 broadcasts of the quiz program Smart thinking managed and revived the program again in 2003, then as researcher and organizer. Here too he promoted Afrikaans by asking questions about, among other things, idioms, correct spelling, authors, books and music in Afrikaans.

However, it is in the field of Afrikaans music that Van Aarde particularly distinguished himself. He has had a total of 904 broadcasts since 1975 African Hits presented and played and introduced the music of approximately 430 artists.

Many later big names such as Rina Hugo, Randall Wicomb, Janita Claassen and Anneli van Rooyen were first heard in this program and it contributed greatly to their fame and record sales.

Van Aarde has also been honored many times over the years. He received the ATKV’s prestigious Oorkonde in 1981, followed by 17 more awards and nominations by, among others, the Rapportryers and then Artes, as well as numerous gold records by music companies.

In 2003, he received an award from Steve Hofmeyr during the Night of the Legends concert, when he was the only broadcaster among a number of singers who were honored with double platinum records.

On 6 May 2005, he was one of only 58 people nationwide who were honored by the ATKV as an Afrikoon because he used his knowledge and expertise in the field of music, language and sports for the benefit and development of Afrikaans.

Van Aarde celebrated his 85th birthday on 20 December and lived in the same house in Krugersdorp for 50 years.

He and his wife, Piena, were married 60 years in September. They have two children, Cobus and Antoinette, and he also leaves behind six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.