The Carte Blanche family will stand together this weekend to pay tribute to their beloved colleague and friend, Derek Watts, who passed away from cancer earlier this week.
The popular South African current affairs show, which was home to Derek for around three decades, will broadcast the tribute this Sunday in SA, and it will be available for South Africans abroad to stream from Tuesday on Showmax International.
“Derek was a remarkable man, fearless in the pursuit of justice.
He was a beacon for the forgotten and downtrodden, and a steadying hand amid chaos and anxiety.
He embodied the ideal, “umntu ngumntu, ngabantu” (I am because you are), connecting with people from all walks of life and treating each with dignity and respect.
He dedicated his life to telling South Africa’s story,” says Carte Blanche.
In 1988, producer Bill Faure approached Derek to co-host a new show, Carte Blanche, which would air on M-Net every Sunday night.
Forty years old, easy-going, sports mad… Derek might not have been an obvious choice, but his charisma and the chemistry he shared with co-host Ruda Landman created a dynamic partnership that audiences found irresistible.
As Carte Blanche grew and evolved, covering the seminal moments of South Africa’s changing story, Derek too went from strength to strength.
The stories he told reflected this: from reporting on the Boipatong Massacre where the crew filmed through the night as Derek confronted politicians and gave the victims and their families a much-needed voice, to traveling to the foot of Mount Everest and every possible corner of South Africa.
“In the 35 years he spent with the show, his passion never dimmed and he never lost his unique ability to connect with people,” says Carte Blanche.
“We will miss him tremendously, but we draw strength and inspiration from the incredible legacy he leaves behind. Our deepest condolences to his beloved Belinda, Tyrone, Kirsten, and his siblings. Lala ngoxolo Papa D, ugqatso ulufezile. Umzamo omhle uwuzamile. Rest in perfect peace.”
Carte Blanche’s executive producer John Webb adds:
“Our superlatives exhausted, what is left to be said about Derek Watts not already reflected in the thousands of tributes that followed news of his death? From politicians to sports stars and fellow hacks, the memories and messages have been overwhelming. Still, I wonder if any of us have done true justice to the legacy of this remarkable man. How do you capture a life lived as Derek lived his; one squeezed of every ounce of adventure and possibility and promise yet one so devoid of selfishness? I have tried – as I’m sure others have, too – but my words are inadequate. No matter which I choose, or how I order them, nothing that comes from my lips brings to life the images of the man in my head. The best I can do – we can do – is to live a life that leaves others in a similar quandary when our time comes.”
Light heartedly I’d advise producers to avoid filming with #DerekWatts in malls, you’d never leave on time. Derek had the rare gift of acknowledging and connecting with every person he met. A television legend, a force at #CarteBlanche – we will always carry you in our hearts.
we treasured him. loved him. and so did you. your kind messages of condolences have been deeply felt and appreciated. many have shared and it is true; when he spoke to you, it felt like the sun was shining just on you. thank you, and cheers for now 🕊❤️💫 pic.twitter.com/mtqTzdHUkK