Thursday, February 7, 2013

In Memoriam: Bea Reed, Golden Girl of Springbok Radio

V 2013-01-29

Bea Reed, fondly referred to as the “Golden Girl of Springbok Radio” sadly passed away on 29 January 2013. 

Bea, who started her broadcasting career in 1955 for the then English Service, joined Springbok Radio in 1958, when she took over the program “Cascade of Stars” in the absence of Valerie Meyer.  Her enthusiasm about jazz music mirrored in her program “Bea with me”, which soon became a very popular programme on Springbok Radio.

In July 1960 Bea became the first woman to be appointed as a full time Springbok announcer.  In the SABC Bulletin of 18 July 1960, Bea recalled: “I was chatting to Steve de Villiers one day, when I casually – and jokingly – said “Hoe lyk dit met ‘n vroumens op Springbok?”  Steve laughed and said they’d never really thought of it seriously, but considered it a good idea.  That was that for the time being and I forgot all about it.  Not long after, he called me to his office and asked me if I’d like to be the first ‘vroumens’ on Springbok.  I am absolutely delighted.”

Bea was a steel buyer before she ventured into broadcasting, and her first broadcast was during the SA Cricket team’s visit to the UK, when she made an announcement at the conclusion of an over.  Being more than a broadcaster, she compéred events, e.g. the “Tots and Teens” fashion parade in 1963, of which the proceeds went to the Cripples’ Care Association.  She was also part of a panel of judges who chose the first “Printers’ Princess” during the first ever “Printers’ Safety Week” in 1964, and she was a judge for “Springbok Radio’s Toy for Joy” competition in 1967.

But above all Bea was very focussed on her family.  Swiss radio engineer, Jean-Claude stole Bea’s heart, and they married in 1960.  Her own parents lived in New Zealand, so Peter Lamsley, Springbok Radio Production Manager gave her away.  They had two sons, Phillipe and Jean Pierre.  An article in the SABC Bulletin in 1964 depicted her as always putting her husband and children first in all things, and that she arranged her life around them.  From her own mouth in the same article, came some wisdom which we can all remember:  “If you want to work and have a family, you have to be careful or else you’ll end up neglecting one or the other.”  For this reason she resigned as full-time announcer before the birth Jean Pierre.  And other than radio and family, Bea loved cooking and embroidery. 

Besides her popular “Family Favourites’, Bea was also involved in “Match the Colour with Rockgrip”, and “The Phillips Key Game”, amongst others. 

As Lynn stated in an SABC Bulletin in 1970, “Bea (was) one of those divine people who really enthuses!  Life, to her, (was) one big bowl of cherries – and she manage(d) to infect everyone around her with that same feeling.” 

From Springbok Radio Revisited’s side, a standing ovation to Bea Reed, who will keep on shining in the memories of all who loved her.

-       RethaBuys, Senior Archivist: Springbok Radio Revisited, SABC Radio Archives


  1. Thank you for this charming tribute to Bea Reed. It was wonderful to hear her beautiful, well-modulated voice once again. She will be very sadly missed.

  2. Thanks, Retha for a touching tribute. I remember Bea well...


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