Farewell to a visionary colleague

2011-09-17 09:14

Every day when we walk into our building at Media Park in Johannesburg, it is filled with people sitting at reception.

Almost without exception, they are reading the Daily Sun – not Beeld, City Press, Finweek or any of the range of other newspapers and magazines ­produced in the building.

These people come to Daily Sun to share their stories, to get advice or to complain. This adds to the basket of services provided by the red-top newspaper, the name we give to tabloids with their characteristic size, style and colour.

Readers can get their horoscopes, access a handyman (Mr Fixit) and source a lot of other ­information that people who are moving ­into the middle-classes need about home ­ownership and the various aspirations that come with working yourself up the ladder.

The Daily Sun is the newspaper in its purest form – a platform written by its readers, for its readers and with its readers. It is an advice office, a photograph album and a genuinely national platform.

While most papers tend to focus on the wealthy urban cities, the Daily Sun is located in every nook and cranny. It tells the nation’s stories even if some elites don’t like it. That’s how it rolls.

The man who is the maestro of the South ­African red tops and who spawned a tabloid ­industry in South Africa died last Sunday.

Deon du Plessis was a mad, swashbuckling, sword-fighting, gun-toting giant of an editor and publisher. Love him or hate him, you had to ­acknowledge that he was one of the great ­characters of South African journalism.

It’s now the stuff of legend that the Daily Sun has grown into South Africa’s biggest-selling daily, with levels of reader loyalty that we one day hope to achieve.

Deon du Plessis leaves a legacy worth his weight in gold.

May he rest in peace.

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