For nearly four decades, Noxolo Grootboom has greeted SABC news viewers tuning in for the isiXhosa news. A calm, warm professional, this public servant – because at our best, that’s what all journalists are and should aspire to be – has kept millions informed. Her last broadcast, on Tuesday night, generated national interest that reached all the way to the top office in the land:
at the request of South Africans, the president postponed his scheduled Covid update by half an hour so that people wouldn’t have to choose between him and Grootboom! The 60-year-old broadcaster was so moved by this decision that she broke down in tears.
When 7pm rolled around, Grootboom was ready. She was dressed in a stunning black and white umbhaco (isiXhosa regalia) designed by Nombuyiselo Zinco, a small business owner from Gqeberha, who came all the way to the SABC studios in Johannesburg to give her the outfit. It was a beautiful garment for a beautiful occasion. Grootboom bowed out with her trademark phrase: ‘Ndini thanda nonke emakhaya’; this translates to “I love you all at home”.
At home, we loved her too – and loved the reminder that South Africa, for all its weird and wild moments, recognises greatness and knows how to celebrate the people who matter most. 🇿🇦