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Remembering Barry: A Tribute to Barry Ronge

Barry Ronge was a prolific entertainment journalist and movie critic, a household name in South Africa, who became known for his way with words, passion for the arts and array of media outlets. Ronge was a media icon and darling to many, whose influence was felt through his broadcasting, reviews and writing. From film shows on television to radio programmes and columns, Barry’s decades-long career made him synonymous with movie reviews, capturing the country and world’s attention with his self-assured media domination, quirky style and enigmatic air.

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Episodes (Podcast & Interview Transcript)

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10
Episode 11
Episode 12

A great influence to moviegoers, the raconteur was also an inspiration to journalists, connecting his infectious spirit of enthusiasm for all things movies. This was the case for this reviewer who grew up listening and watching Mr Ronge do what he did best. After writing an obituary for Barry, I was contacted by Barry’s partner of 47 years, Albertus van Dyk (LightStrider to many). He wanted to express his thanks for my tribute to Ronge’s contribution. Not getting the send off he deserved 10 years earlier when he signed off, it seemed like Ronge had just vanished from the limelight.

Protective of their privacy, it was an honour to be invited to visit their sanctuary in Johannesburg. Having not met Barry in person, it was the next best thing to meet Albertus and the place they called home for 30 years. A garden paradise with many beautiful vantage points, the home’s natural light from greenhouse style enclosures creates a magical and meditative space where an array of crafts and ornaments decorate tranquil rooms. An artistic and spiritual retreat, the home is filled with memories and paying a visit to this sacred place was a must, given the opportunity.

The visit has been documented in a series of interviews with Albertus called Remembering Barry, which are going to be broadcast on Fine Music Radio from 27 January, 2024. The conversation broaches various facets of Ronge’s life, love and career and who better to discuss this with than his other half, Albertus van Dyk.

Part of the reason for the visit is that besides being a sanctuary to plants and creatures, it’s also a veritable library and treasure trove of books. Albertus has had time to grieve his great love and now that he’s ready to move onto the next chapter, he’s also in a place where it’s time to commemorate Barry and his incredible career. A cinephile, educator and champion for film since his days of watching movies every afternoon as a child, Ronge’s extraordinary life plays like a movie itself. It’s in this spirit that Albertus wants to celebrate the man he lovingly referred to as ‘The Little King’.

To do this, he’s wanting to create a library or museum from their 1,700 film book collection. Finding a suitable space where movie lovers or students of film can have access to the collection, it’s in an effort to pay tribute to Barry Ronge, testament to his legacy. Whether it be a library or even a museum to remember Ronge, the sentiment is echoed by this reviewer, given how much of an impact Barry had on so many lives. A celebration of arts and culture, it’s our hope that the right partners or sponsors will find the resonance needed to make this a reality.

If you’re in a position to assist, whether it be securing a suitable space or contributing financially towards this wonderful endeavour, please do reach out and make contact.