Iconic IsiXhosa news anchor Noxolo Grootboom to receive honorary doctorate
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Rhodes University will be conferring an honorary degree in Doctor of Letters (D Litt) on retired IsiXhosa news anchor Noxolo Grootboom.
Grootboom is recognised nationally for her significant promotion of national pride and culture through her journalistic career.
News of the IsiXhosa news anchor’s retirement made waves in March after serving 37 years in the industry.
The legendary anchor’s last news read saw President Cyril Ramaphosa delaying his national address, which was scheduled at the same time as her last news read, in her honour and so that the two do not clash.
The Eastern Cape born news anchor’s last news read had 3 832 686 people tuned in.
Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela said: “Our nation owes her an unpayable debt of gratitude and appreciation for all that she has done to give much-needed hope to many South Africans in times of national loss and despair, and for being a passionate advocate of the isiXhosa language in our society. Mam’ Noxolo read the news so beautifully and with such pride. We thought it was important for Rhodes University to acknowledge her many contributions to our society.
“Her trademark sign-off line ‘Nanga ngobubusuku ningalala nombethe ingubo yemvisiswano, uxolo, nothando. Ndinithanda nonke emakhaya’ will remain her profound and lasting gift of love, peace and care to our nation. Her humility and humanity is something that will never be forgotten. She deserves this highest honour of the University.”
The university said Grootboom’s legendary status was derived from her contributions in the broadcasting industry and to South Africa as a whole, through performing her career responsibilities in ways that inspired many citizens, even during the most difficult times.
Her uncanny ability to connect with her audience through the powerful medium of her language and drawing from her culture distinguished Mam’ Noxolo as the face and voice of the nation during historic national events such as elections. At the height of her career, she embodied the national emotion as the anchor for the funerals of important South African figures.
Grootboom said she was speechless when talking about being conferred.
“I am out of words to thank Rhodes University for the honour bestowed on me. Each event of my life is a life lesson that cannot be merely explained. Even though I had minimal opportunities to further my studies, it seemed as if my dreams about my future were perishing. Today, Rhodes University teaches me that hope is always ignited when it seems as though your dreams are perishing. And when that hope is ignited, it leads you to a new dream. Today, I feel like I am a living example to the youth.
“This is because, when you devote yourself to your work, new opportunities open up. I am very thankful to Rhodes University for this opportunity. Only a wicked person despises success. Lastly, my fellow people, I would have failed if I did not express my sincere gratitude to my home language. I am being honoured today because of isiXhosa,” Grootboom said.