By Tamlyn Canham
South Africans, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, paid tribute to veteran broadcaster Noxolo Grootboom after her final news bulletin.
Grootboom has retired after 37 years in the media industry. Scores of viewers grew up watching her read the news in isiXhosa.
The anchor got emotional during her final bulletin. She could not hold back tears and she bid a final farewell to her loyal viewers.
President Cyril Ramaphosa honours Grootboom
President Cyril Ramaphosa pushed back his COVID-19 update to 19:30 on Tuesday after receiving messages from South Africans who said they wanted to watch Grootboom’s final bulletin at 19:00.
The president paid tribute to the news anchor during his address.
“I wish to pay tribute to Miss Grootboom as an outstanding journalist who throughout her 37 years of distinguished service brought historic events in our country and across the world into the living rooms of our nation.
“We wish Miss Grootboom well and thank her for her many years of service.”
South Africans bid farewell to “uMamNoxolo”
Many South Africans took to social media to remember “uMamNoxolo”.
“What a moment. What a stellar career. All the things a news anchor should be: Class. Professionalism. Trusted. A reassuring voice even in uncertain times.
“Thank you Mam’ #NoxoloGrootboom. You have set the bar high. Enjoy your retirement, you have earned it,” fellow news presenter Melania Bala tweeted.
What a moving and absolutely selfless farewell speech! This must go down as one of the best moments of South African television. #NoxoloGrootboom
— Mmabatho Montsho (@MmabathoMontsho) March 30, 2021
It’s only fair to say, you’re one of those who led the way and made it possible for so many of us to follow in your footsteps, or at least try. Staying in this career for as long as you have, being as graceful as you are, is extraordinary indeed. Take a bow Ma. #NoxoloGrootboom pic.twitter.com/3BpHyBNSWD
— Cathy Mohlahlana (@CathyMohlahlana) March 30, 2021
????? I felt that nginithanda nonke emkhaya! What a goosebump moment! #NoxoloGrootboom
— Lasizwe Dambuza (@lasizwe) March 30, 2021
This is how #MamNoxoloGrootboom reacted to the news that @PresidencyZA @CyrilRamaphosa has moved his national address to ‘to allow SABC viewers to watch veteran newsreader Noxolo Grootboom’s final bulletin as she retires after 37 years’ pic.twitter.com/2YYJT46BuB
— Yolisa Njamela (@yolisanjamela) March 30, 2021
Imagine one day telling your children: "One day long ago, the president at the time wanted to talk to Mzansi, but then he moved his time so that your gogo, the TV Queen of News, could first read her TV news bulletin one final time on the public broadcaster."#NoxoloGrootboom pic.twitter.com/j0yGFi8UFj
— TVwithThinus (@TVwithThinus) March 30, 2021
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A career spanning three decades
Noxolo Grootboom started her career at the public broadcaster as a typist. She told The Bar that she saw the job as her “window of opportunity”.
Grootboom worked in different departments within the SABC before making her way to the newsroom.
She did not have a journalism degree but she knew she was a good storyteller.
“I knew I could write and be heard and those were the tools that I used to propel myself forward,” she told the publication.
The young girl who grew up in the Eastern Cape went on to become a household name throughout South Africa.
Grootboom has covered high-profile events such as the passing of Nelson Mandela. She also covered the assassination of Chris Hani in April 1993.
Main image credit: SABC News