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Retiring Grootboom moved by president's recognition

Noxolo Grootboom is retiring from broadcasting.
Noxolo Grootboom is retiring from broadcasting.
Image: Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Themba Makofane

Xhosa newsreader Noxolo Grootboom was left emotional on Tuesday afternoon after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that he had moved his address to the nation from 7pm to 7.30pm to allow the country to watch her last bulletin as she retires.

Grootboom, who has been working for SABC for 37 years, hangs up the microphone tonight. Her publicist Yolisa Njamela told Sowetan that after seeing the president's message she just broke down in disbelief.

"She could not speak, that is why we recorded a video. She was so overwhelmed. And now she is getting ready for her big night," Njamela said.

A video of an emotional Grootboom at her home upon hearing the president had delayed his address to give her a fitting farewell was shared on WhatsApp. Grootboom held her face in her hands as she shed tears in disbelief.

Ramaphosa had initially planned to address the nation at 7pm regarding developments in the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic .

"The address was originally scheduled for 7pm, but it was pushed forward by 30 minutes to allow SABC viewers to watch veteran newsreader Noxolo Grootboom’s final bulletin as she retires after 37 years," the presidency said. Presidency acting spokesperson Tyrone Seale said the address follows meetings in recent days of the national coronavirus command council, the president’s co-ordinating council and the cabinet.

“As SA rolls out its national Covid-19 vaccination programme, government and social partners are continuously monitoring infection, treatment and patient recovery rates, as well as compliance with health regulations and other prevention measures.”

The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania joined a chorus of messages of appreciation that have been sent to Grootboom on her retirement. The PAC described her as "torchbearer of isiXhosa language in the newsroom".

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