A nurturer & trailblazer: Noxolo Grootboom on how she'd like to be remembered

Speaking to Eyewitness News Lifestyle, Noxolo Grootboom explained that her famous closing line at the end of bulletins was her way of thanking South Africans for welcoming her with open arms.

Eyewitness News Lifestyle sat down with now-retired SABC broadcaster Noxolo Grootboom on 1 April 2021 to chat about her illustrious career. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Veteran broadcaster and much-loved newsreader Noxolo Grootboom has on Thursday thanked South Africans for welcoming her with open arms.

Flowers, tears, laughter and showers of love. This is what Grootboom's week has looked like in run-up to and after her official retirement from the SABC.

Millions of South Africans tuned in one last time on Tuesday, 30 March, to hear words that have become iconic and easily identifiable with the woman who introduced them into many homes over three decades - "ndin'thanda nonke emakhaya" (I love all of you at home).

Speaking to Eyewitness News Lifestyle, Grootboom said: “I didn't know the impact that 'ndin'thanda nonke emakhaya' would have, but that was me saying thank you to South Africans for accepting me, for loving me, for respecting me, for giving me a chance every year to keep on coming into their dining rooms and TV rooms. To keep on saying 'siyam'thanda [we love] uNoxolo Grootboom."

READ: Veteran news anchor Noxolo Grootboom gives SA the feels in final news bulletin

Her journey into the homes of South Africans began when she was hired as a typist at the SABC at the age of 23.

Ever the linguist and ambassador for the isiXhosa language, she went on to join the current affairs department as a secretary, working with different colleagues including those on isiXhosa shows. It is here that, on a fateful day, she had the chance to step in front of the camera as a stand-in for Thandi Mesatywa, who had been ill at the time.

As a young girl who grew up wanting to have a career in food and agriculture, thanks to her grandmother's love for the two and never having been trained as a journalist or envisioning a career in broadcasting, she took to news anchoring like she was born for it.

"It is in the current affairs department where I watched stories being told, where the beast of a storyteller in me was awakened that I never knew was in me."

WATCH: ’Funerals allowed me to bring comfort to the nation’ - Noxolo Grootboom bows out

LEAVING A LEGACY

Apart from the stories she has covered, it's the state funerals she's had the privilege of anchoring that Grootboom said she'd like to be remembered for. She'd also like to be remembered as a nurturer, trailblazer and mother to those in the industry.

READ: Noxolo Grootboom gets emotional as Ramaphosa makes way for her last bulletin

"You know, there is this legacy that I leave behind at the SABC - that of being a mother to my colleagues. Knowing that there are people that you are leaving behind who look at you as a nurturer, who look at you as a shoulder to cry on.

"To me, I say 'thank you, Lord' I managed to be a nurturer, a mother. I am happy that they are crying tears of joy, they are not saying 'good riddance'. I joined the SABC at the age of 23, I leave at 60 with an army of children. I thank the Lord for that."

As for what is next for her, she said she looked forward to much-needed rest and spending time with her family.

WATCH: Noxolo Grootboom delivers her last news bulletin as she retires

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