Obituary: Monica Fairall - broadcaster, musician and Miss SA

2009-06-23 00:00

WELL-KNOWN broadcasting personality Monica Fairall died on Sunday aged 60. She had been suffering from myeloma, a cancer of the blood.

Fairall enjoyed a wide-ranging career that embraced music, journalism and broadcasting.

For more than 30 years she presented many radio shows and magazine programmes and is probably best known for Saturday Gold, Pathways to Health and Durban after Dark.

“She was one of radio’s finest exponents,” says Caroline Smart, editor of artSMart, “meticulous in her work and presentation, yet making it all sound so effortless. And her writings bore the same efficient and comprehensive outlook.”

Fairall authored several books, including a guide to her home city, Durban, and Challenge Cancer the Holistic Way, which was inspired by the experience of supporting her partner, poet Douglas Livingstone, who died of cancer in 1996.

In recent years Fairall promoted complementary health therapies and was also a yoga teacher.

Together with the lawyer and musician Richard Haslop she formed a folk-bluegrass duo called Round The House in 1976. More recently she performed in the musical production Those Were the Days.

Fairall financed her university studies through modelling which, by accident rather than design, took her to the Miss World contest — “agencies get phoned up for entrants,” she told The Witness in an interview. In 1971 she was crowned Miss South Africa. She remained level-headed over the award: “There was no way I was the most beautiful woman in South Africa, but I was prepared to play the game if everyone else was.”

Fairall leaves her husband, academic Robert Morell.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 27, at 2.45 pm at the St Olaf’s Norwegian Hall in St Thomas Road, Durban.— WR.

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