RIP Derek Watts.

RIP Derek Watts. Images via Twitter @ZolaHatashi

‘A gentle giant has left us’: Colleagues remember Derek Watts

The journalism fraternity has expressed sadness over the loss of Derek Watts, who lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday morning

RIP Derek Watts.

RIP Derek Watts. Images via Twitter @ZolaHatashi

The South African journalism fraternity is mourning the loss of veteran broadcaster Derek Watts. The former Carte Blanche presenter lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday morning, 22 August 2023.

ALSO READ: RIP Derek Watts: How legendary journo made South Africa ‘Lite’n Up’


Social media, most notably X, has been flooding with tribute messages for Derek Watts, including from journalists.

Karyn Maughan lauded Watts for his bravery and kindness, writing: “A gentle giant has left us. Rest In Peace Derek Watts. Thank you for the way you led your life and your incredible journalism. Thank you for being brave and kind. And thank you for always believing that things should be better. You blessed us all”

While Bongani Bingwa, his former Carte Blanche colleague, said: “One of the kindest, most generous professionals to ever do it. The room disappeared when he spoke to you. Even as a colleague, he made me feel like I was Mother Theresa. Condolences to Belinda and his children, Tyrone and Kirstin”

Newzroom Afrika anchor Xoli Mngambi also paid tribute and expressed condolences to Watts’ family and friends.

“Very sad news about the passing of a gentle giant in the media space. I had huge respect for his work. My heartfelt sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues at #CarteBlanche. Your loss is our collective loss,” he said.

Former Talk 702 host John Robbie said he had visited Watts just weeks before, posting: “So sad to hear my old mate Derek Watts has passed. An extremely nice guy with a wonderful family. I visited him a few weeks ago and we shot the breeze about old times. A thoroughly decent man”

ALSO READ: BREAKING: Iconic TV anchor Derek Watts (74) has died


Derek Watts took a break from his duties on the award-winning investigative journalism programme to focus on his health in July. Carte Blanche said he had been diagnosed with skin cancer, which then spread to his lungs.

“While this news is undoubtedly disheartening, we remain hopeful and optimistic about Derek’s journey toward recovery. We have complete confidence in the expertise and dedication of his medical team, who will provide the best possible care and support throughout this process,” Carte Blanche had said at the time.

ALSO READ: Five-year-old fighting for his life in ICU after a FREAK accident at school