Tributes are still pouring in for the death of radio legend John Berks

Several people are still sending tributes and paying homage to the fallen South African radio icon John Berks. 

The veteran broadcaster and stalwart passed away last weekend Saturday 4 June after a long illness. Berks, the former talk show host at Radio 702 was at the age of 80 years old. 

The boykie as he was affectionally known by his peers and fans was buried on Tuesday 07 June at the West Park Cemetery, Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Primedia Group CEO Jonathan Procter paid a tribute to the fallen radio host and icon Berks. 

“John Berks was a key pillar in the growth and development of 702, Primedia, and the broadcasting industry as a whole. An iconic radio broadcaster and talk-show host, he helped to shape the evolution and character of radio in South Africa and has left an indelible mark, not only on 702 but on the broadcasting industry as a whole.”

John Berks and Larry King

“John Berks once said ‘without radio, you have lost a friend.’ He has left a lasting legacy in the broadcasting industry,“ adds Procter. 

Berks’s radio career, which spanned four decades, began at LM Radio in Mozambique in the 1960s. He also worked for Swazi Music Radio, Springbok Radio, Capital Radio 604 and Radio 5. 

Talk Radio 702 station manager, Mzo Jojwana said: “We have been touched by the outpouring of sympathy and messages we have received from 702 listeners, colleagues, past and present, and the public in general.” 

One of Berks’s fans Alfred Mohlala said: “he (Berks) was a breath of fresh air and different from his peers. He was able to engage any person from politicians and business people with respect, wit and comedic timing. He was that guy and may his soul rest in peace.” 

Gareth Cliff, co-founder of CliffCentral.com and former mentee of Berks also paid a homage to the radio stalwart. Cliff said: It’s never easy saying goodbye to one of your real-life heroes, and it’s even harder to do when you actually got to know them. John Berks was the greatest radio man in South African history. Full stop.“

Gareth Cliff and John Berks

“Go well Berksie, your stories and characters will stay as young as they were when you first spoke them into existence. My love to your family and Manda. The mic is off, the red light has dimmed. You’re off-air. God bless you. G”

John Robbie, the broadcaster who eventually followed Berks on the morning shift, upon learning of Berks’ passing, wrote, “His gift was humour and irreverence in an age when, even that, was seen to be rebellious. [He was] a friend and a mentor and a legend.” 

Robbie added, “Berksie always found reasons to go to America and he loved America and he always found a reason to do the research. He said one of the things he found was that they would get sports stars to do guest reports and somebody asked who could do it. That’s how it all started [for Robbie].” 

[RIP Berksie] 

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