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A Sad Farewell to Monica Fairall

We commemorate the life of well-known South African radio broadcaster and author, Monica Fairall.

In the year I was born, the Miss South Africa pageant was won by a beautiful young blonde, Monica Fairall. It was 1971.


Many Miss SA’s are never heard of again once their year's reign is up. Over time the once-prestigious title has come to mean much less than it did, with feminists throwing scorn and the general profile of the event being lowered.


But there are some of these girls with stars in their eyes, adorned with crowns and sashes, who have grown up to be women of note who have made a name for themselves and proven that they are more than pretty faces.

Monica Fairall stands among these women. She became a well-known radio broadcaster (I remember my mom listening to her easy-listening music programmes on the English Radio Station years ago)  a yoga instructor and an author who wrote (among other titles) from her own experience on using natural methods to fight cancer in recent years in a book entitled ‘Challenge Cancer the Holistic Way.’
It is with sadness that we say goodbye to Monica Fairall – she passed away in a Durban hospital yesterday with her husband (of less than a year) by her side.
After bravely fighting the disease, she died of myeloma - a cancer of the blood.
(Image: Source)
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25 Responses to A Sad Farewell to Monica Fairall

What a great sadness indeed. Such a lovely lady. I remember her well, we spoke often on the radio - Monica was a true radio professional with interesting and unusual programmes such as Durban After Dark and Health Matters. Deepest sympathy and condolences to her husband and family.

By liz (7 years ago)

Go well, my friend.
Condolences to Robert and Moncia's sister Sylvia and her family.
This world will be a sadder place without you but a far better one for all those who you touched in your own special way.

By Lilian (7 years ago)

What a sad loss.Monica is the fourth Miss SA that passed away.She is the second one that was taken by cancer.
What an extrodinary lady she was and will always be remembered!
Louis (Miss SA Archivist)

By Louis (7 years ago)

Dearest friend who shared some very special experiences. An extraordinary, caring and special person. Will miss her terribly. This world will certainly be poorer without her. My life was certainly richer for knowing you.

By Lana (7 years ago)

What loss for the wellness community in South Africa. Monica was such a professional broadcaster with an amazing passion for her work. She researched her topics well and was an intelligent and sensitive interviewer. The world is richer for her presence and contributions over the years. Special thanks Monica, for all your support for those with cancer over the years - I know how much her book was used and valued.

By Clare (7 years ago)

What a great loss and sadness.

In God's care you rest above, in our hearts you rest with love,
Memories of you are ours to keep,
Our words are few.

To the family
May the God of comfort help you during this difficult time and may the love of those around you help you through the days ahead.
Deepest sympathy.

Manon Naidoo

By Manon Naidoo (7 years ago)

I used to sit with my cassette recorder at the ready every Saturday night when she did her "Let the Good Times Roll". This "rocker" knew her blues and bands and 50s and 60s and vynils better than anyone I've listened to. I have quite a collection of cassettes (copyright please condone) but they're all just about worn out and bit-dropped-out syndrome. How about SABC re-playing all those shows (please pass message on to non-board member)or doing a special issue of them all on a set of CDs?
Hate it when people die: regret I never managed to talk to the great madam. Imagine the pleasant surprise when I found she was Miss SA in c. 1968: would have been just right for me when I was 18 then. One that got away: she will live on in my dreams and eardrums for ever. May she RIP and peace be with her family too. I feel I really loved her in blindness. Ouch.

By Jasper Edrich (7 years ago)

Well, I'm particularly sad because we didn't hear anything of this until my husband 'tuned' into Nancy Richards today - 26th June. The country puts on sackcloth & ashes for the demise of a rather misguided young man who died in USA, but nothing said about an 'icon' in our midst! Such an optimist, and such dulcet tones when on radio - she will be sorely missed. Sincere condolences to her husband & family. Hamba Gahle.

By Susan Grave (7 years ago)

It certainly is with great sadness that I personally absorb the reality that this this fine person and inspiration to so many has been taken from us. Always a source of knowledge and caring, she helped many of us young journalists find their feet - I was one of them. A true beauty of mind and soul is all I can say to her loved ones.

By kevin mayhew (7 years ago)

I met Monica shortly after she b finished her year as Miss S.A. and was surprised at what a down to earth approachable person she was. Over the years I have listened to her on the radio finding her programmes to be both informative and comforting. I send my deepest condolences to her family and husband.She will be remembered by many.


By Cathy Rees (7 years ago)

Sadly, SA media have not recognised this influential and respected lady - I tuned in yesterday, and immediately sensed something was amiss. Monica will certainly be missed for her well researched and presented broadcasts and writings.

By Mahmood (7 years ago)

In memory of Monica.

We were at High School together and through the arts our worlds did sometimes touch. But I remember listening to your radio shows with delight.

I am deeply saddened by the news that this wonderful woman who gave so much and was so unique should have passed at such an untimely age.
My sincere condolences to her husband and her family.

With sincere sympthay,
Ingride (Mollison) lewis

By ingride mollison lewis (7 years ago)

I'll never forget Monica Fairall. I was a chunky red headed and freckled 13 year old in std 6 at Durban Girls High School when she was in matric. She was a prefect and I think, also head girl. For ugly ducklings like me, the blond, blue eyed and statuesque Monica Fairall embodied all that was wonderful. She was perfectly beautiful, incredibly clever - AND she was nice. She had the most angelic smile and spoke softly even if she was telling you that you were in trouble. Unlike other beautiful, talented girls, Monica was not conceited or arrogant. She treated us lesser beings as equals and made us feel like we counted - even though we were little nothing standard sixes! I was really sad to hear she had died.

By ann peacock (7 years ago)

I knew Monica many, many years ago. When I came to South Africa for a brief visit, she invited me into the bosom of her family and showed me the very best of South Africa in those days. We lost contact for years but I have never forgotten her and think often of her. She has been a big influence on my life, on the music I listen to, on my view of other countries and cultures. I am so very sorry she is gone.

By William Novobilsky (7 years ago)

The gulf of lost years
Laps at our shore
Atlantic Pacific
It makes little difference
The Indian’s salt
Breaks on Durban’s sand beach
Superior’s sweet
Turns to ice as I speak
Almost a quarter
Of our century’s hour
Has passed since we parted
Over coffee and toast
I hear you I see you
I feel your soft strength
The years slip away
Time’s gulf is a creek
So narrow so shallow
I might step across
To whisper your name
My lips brush your cheek
To walk arm in arm with you
Some minutes more

By William Novobilsky (7 years ago)

I loved to listen to Monica on the Living Naturally programs on the radio. Irma Scutte, the host of the program and Monica made this program so interesting.
I heard Irma also passed away but if anyone can let me know when she died and the cause, I'd like to hear from them.
We will miss Monica Fairall very much.

By Barbara (7 years ago)

Dearest Monica

Teacher , advisor , kind soul , gentle spirit. We miss you . Thankyou.

By Arlene (6 years ago)

Oh Monica.
I am so late , I did'nt know . You where a shinning light in the Fairall family . I will miss you . To my sister Lesley Fairall Who also passed away from cancer , my the two of you walk hand in hand in heaven. Much Love
Mike Fairall

By Mike Fairall (5 years ago)

I knew Monica at Natal University, met her for tea once every ten years or so and more recently exchanged humorous emails with her and met her for lunch when she visited Cape Town. She had a lovely peaceful ambience, an amiable serenity that always made some time spent with her into something renewing. I always thought of her as a free spirit, a person with her own clear value system, who stood by what she believed in and crafted her own life in those terms. She could be serious or sympathetic, but I particularly enjoyed her whimsicality and humorous scepticism. She was one of the better people I ever knew, and I feel that something important has been lost in the world I live in.

By Terry (5 years ago)

To Mike Fairall,
I knew a Lesley Fairall many years ago, she was from Sydenham Johannesburg we went to school together. I have been trying to find her for the last 20 years when we lost contact after I moved to the UK. She had a brother Mike and a sister Jennifer, just wondering if you are the Mike? I will be very saddened if she is the Lesley I have been looking for but can then put closure to my search.

By Moira (5 years ago)

Hi Moira, I am the late Lesley's brother. At 52 she developed a brain tumour and within 6 months she left us. She leaves behind 2 daughters.
Mike fairall

By Mike fairall (5 years ago)

Hi Mike
Thank you for coming back to me though not sure if your sister is the same Lesley that I went to school with, How long ago did she pass away, if a few years then it must be the Lesley I have been searching for. I am now 61 and Lesley and I were the same age.
Many Thanks

By Moira (5 years ago)

Hi Moira, yes it is the same Lesley. It is about 8/ 9 years ago now. My sister Jenni lives in Joburg and I live in PE. Lesley's two daughters are in Cape Town now. It was really a bummer as she was so well enjoying her first grand son and so suddenly she became ill. We never know when it is our time so we need to enjoy each day - so young and still so many plans and expectations. By the way what was your maiden name.
regards Mike

By mike Fairall (5 years ago)

Hi Mike

Thanks for coming back to me, I am just very saddened by Lesleys death, I have been searching for years for her. My maiden name was Hammargren, Lesley and I went to Barnato Park High together and she was my bridesmaid at my wedding. I am sure Jenni might remember me as i saw her quite ofter when visiting Lesley, even yourself at Lesleys house one Saturday in Kensignton Jhb, She was married to a guy that I think is the father of her girls, a good looking very particular person. Is your mom Pat and your dad Ronni still with us. I will allways remember your mom so beautifully groomed, and your dads sense of humour. All these memories have brought tears to my eyes. Maybe oneday we can meet if you are in JHB.
Regards Moira

By Moira (5 years ago)

I hope this gets to you from Perth in Australia.
I was searching for you, Jennifer and Lesley online and came across this sad news of Lesley and Monica ...
Dennis Gibson

By Dennis (5 years ago)

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