He passed away early on the morning of Sunday, December 23 at the Helderberg Nursing Home in Somerset West after a short illness.
He was due to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his marriage to Anne in two weeks time, and he is survived by Anne, his son Guy, step-children Nicholas and Jane, and three grandchildren
Pat Rogers was an incisive and charismatic interviewer and a natural communicator, with a passion for exposing injustice. He did much to expose apartheid through his award-winning current affairs programmes Midweek and Agenda, in the early years of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
Later he fell foul of the corporation after objecting to his programmes being overseen by the then Nationalist Party government, and he was forced to resign.
Patrick Michael Rogers was born on March 29 1931 in Ladybrand in the Orange Free State. He was one of four children, the oldest of whom was Bob, who became South Africa’s most highly decorated wartime pilot and the head of the South African Airforce.
When the family moved to Johannesburg, Rogers went to school at Marist Brothers Observatory, where he flourished academically and at boxing, and after school he moved north to do a stint with the British South African Police, patrolling the Rhodesian bush on horseback.
From there he moved into journalism for the first time, working for Horizon magazine and the South African Press Association. He joined Rhodesia Television and was then transferred to Northern Rhodesia for the launch of television there in 1964. With outside broadcasting still in its infancy, he conceived and organised hugely popular boxing matches in the studio grounds and produced them live for television.
He resigned after being summoned by then Northern Rhodesian president Kenneth Kaunda who ordered him to scrap his story about violent clashes between government forces and Alice Lenshina’s Lumpa Church.
Rogers emigrated to Australia where he joined the Australia Broadcasting Corporation and co-hosted their highly rated This Day Tonight current affairs programme. His experience there made him a valued catch for the SABC when he returned to South Africa eight years later.
After the SABC, he did stints in high-pressure public relations posts with the Putco bus company and the Chamber of Mines and later joined Father Emil Blaser to help establish the Catholic radio station Radio Veritas.
On the back of the reputation, he had built as a broadcaster he was asked by Progressive Federal Party leader Tony Leon to stand for the Johannesburg city council in the May 1987 local election. He did and won the Parks seat for the PFP giving the party a first-ever though short-lived majority in Johannesburg over the Nationalists.
In 1994 he submitted a proposal to the parliamentary committee on justice to use electronic media to convey to the public democracy in action in the new South Africa, arguing that there should be live television and radio coverage of parliament, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the courts. The proposal was subsequently taken up by the SABC.
Rogers had a deep-seated dislike of bullies but he was as often charming and funny as he was angry. His ire at the injustices of apartheid was transferred to the incoming African National Congress as it slipped from one disgrace to another. But he was always happy to rein back his anger in the face of individual integrity and humanity.
Former senior newspaperman and friend Richard McNeil said Rogers’s sharp intellect had always made for interesting conversation at dinner parties.
“It made jawing with him over the dinner table such fun and so stimulating.
“Publicly Pat was fearless and uncompromising, not one to suffer fools gladly, which didn’t endear him to the powers-that-be in broadcasting or politics. I suppose you could describe him as an activist for common sense, fairness, justice and no bull.”
After the resounding success of the previous editions in 2016 and 2017, Priests from all around the Country can once again have a day of fun and relaxation at the Radio Veritas Shepherds On the Green at the Benoni Country Club on Monday, 26 November 2018 – and you are requested to make it possible for the Priests you love.
Games, pampering, merriment, prayer and a chance to relax await Priests. Parishioners are requested to buy tickets for their Parish Priests and for those Priests who are not in parishes.
The Benoni Country Club is a world-class facility in Ekurhuleni (Johannesburg Archdiocese) in Gauteng and it will be prepared for the exclusive enjoyment of shepherds of the church.
The day will kick off early with a lavish breakfast laid out for the visitors, following which they could take to the Country Club’s scenic trail for cycling, walking and/or running. Golf, soccer, tennis, bowls, squash and a variety of board and table games will also be on offer.
Catholic men’s volunteer group, the Radio Veritas Warriors, organises the Shepherds On The Green, and the group encourages the faithful to show their appreciation of their pastors by buying them tickets.
“Our Priests dedicate their lives to us with love and this fun day is one way we could reciprocate that love,” said a spokesman. (Click on the poster to email the Warriors)
“We would like to have Champions in all parishes around the Country who will ensure that no Priest or Bishop is left out, they will see to it that all Priests from Botswana to Swaziland and Durban; Limpopo to the Cape have a ticket and will be joining the fun.”
Tickets are R1500 and cover all games, grooming and pampering treatments, entertainment, beverages, meals and a three-course prize-giving dinner to round off the day.
For tickets please:
1. Pay by EFT to: Radio Veritas, Nedbank account 1128 863 111, Branch code 187 505 (universal code); then
3. Buy a physical ticket and pay cash at a promotion event near you.
We’re very proud to announce that Radio Veritas production assistant and presenter Sheila Pires has been invited to the 2018 Catholic Women Speak (CWS) Symposium and book launch in Rome. She leaves for Rome on Saturday, September 29th.
The aim of the symposium is to bring the voices and experiences of young women from the global Catholic Church (Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America) to the Synod on Young People, The Faith, and Vocational Discernment through the launch of their new book entitled ‘Visions and Vocations’ edited by Professor Tina Beattie.
It all started back in 2014, when Sheila proposed a current affairs programme that would look at the work of the Catholic Church throughout Africa and also gender inequality, including a weekly women’s feature on Thursdays. Thus ‘Catholic View’ was born and it broadcasts every Tuesday to Friday at 18h30 on Radio Veritas South Africa.
In 2015 Ms Pires came across an article about ‘CWS’ which mentioned the well-known theologian, and St Augustine’s College lecturer, Dr Nontando Hadebe. One interview with Dr Hadebe led to a series of interviews for the Women’s feature on ‘Catholic View’. In 2018 member and book contributor of CWS Dr Radebe made the exciting and unexpected announcement – that Ms Pires had been selected to attend the 2018 CWS Symposium and book launch in Rome on October 1st. Later, the founder of CWS Professor Tina Beattie invited Sheila to introduce and chair a roundtable discussion entitled ‘Sharing our Stories: Cultures and Catholicism’, also making her a member of CWS. The conference which starts on September 30th to 05th October, comprises of a number of activities, including a session of filmed interviews with some of the participants conducted by Tina Beattie and Sheila Pires on October 02nd, and attending Pope Francis’ general audience on Wednesday 03rd October. CWS member and Radio Veritas presenter Dr Nontando Hadebe will also take part in a roundtable discussion entitled "Reflections in a Time of Crisis - power, abuse and sexuality, followed by a performance: "The Three-Legged Cooking Pot - Culture, Catholicism and Women's Rights".
According to Dr Radebe, among the reasons Sheila was selected was her critical approach in raising contemporary and controversial issues related to Women, Youth and African Politics in her programmes on Radio Veritas South Africa.
Sheila says she is thrilled at being given this wonderful opportunity and also sees it as a chance to market Radio Veritas to a wider audience. While she’s extremely grateful to both Catholic Women Speak and Dr Nontando Hadebe, above all she’s grateful to God.
Whilst in Rome Sheila will be covering the first week of the Bishop’s Synod on Young People and providing daily reports on Radio Veritas breakfast programme “Matins” presented by Khanya Litabe and Colin York.
Have a wonderful time Sheila – we’re proud of you!!