Barry Ronge

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Barry Ronge (1948?-2022) was a popular and respected lecturer, theatre and film reviewer, compére and columnist.


Born in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, he grew up on the West Rand, where he attended Florida Park High School.

He studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, completing a BA degree 1968 and a BA Hons degree in 1969. In 1970 he began a teaching career at St John’s College in Johannesburg, teaching both English and Afrikaans. After which he served as a lecturer in literature at his alma mater for 10 years, before moving into journalism on a full-time basis.

Ronge passed away in Johannesburg on 3 July 2022, aged 74, survived by his partner of 45 years, Albertus van Dyk.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

Over the course of over three decades Ronge wrote about and commented on South African literature, theatre, dance, culture and film for a range of media.

He began his career while a student, when he wrote film reviews for the Wits student newspaper. Thereafter he initially wrote as a free-lance journalist while teaching, later becoming a full time journalist at The Star, e.g. as the first male journalist reporting for the "women’s page" (1980-1982) and the first editor of the entertainment supplement, The Star Tonight! and wrote a long-running column called Spit 'n Polish for the Sunday Times. (He collated his musings as a book of the same title, which was published by Penguin Books in 2006.) In the late 1980s, he also did a stint as a food critic, writing Barry’s Bites for the Sunday Times "Metro" supplement and food revies for Sandton Living Magazine, writing under the pseudonym of Ms Rebecca Parker.

He was also a well-known radio and TV personality, e.g. he had a Sunday-night radio show on Radio 702 from 1989 to 2004, and participated on popular entertainment and magazine shows, which featured his insight into South African culture.

He often served as compere or public speaker. For example he delivered the 1978 André Huguenet Memorial Lecture at the Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival.

Ronge retired from public life in 2014 and dedicated himself to gardening.


University of the Witwatersrand, Alumni Relations: Obituaries 2022[1]

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