Val Boje died on Monday after a short stay in hospital. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Val Boje died on Monday after a short stay in hospital. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

RIP Val Bojé: ’It was an honour to have worked with someone with such a work ethic’

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Oct 4, 2021

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Pretoria - The National Press Club (NPC) said on Monday it had learnt with shock of the “sudden passing” of its chairperson, Val Bojé, a former editor of the Pretoria News.

Bojé died on Monday after a short stay in hospital.

“She passed away in the hospital in Pretoria on Monday morning, having undergone a minor heart procedure,” the National Press Club said in a statement.

At the time of her death, she was part of the team organising the annual Percy Qoboza Memorial Lecture, which is to be held on October 19, Black Wednesday.

NPC general manager Jos Charle said Bojé brought her experience and wide network of contacts to enhance the activities of the club.

“Having been colleagues for more than 25 years, I came to know Val as a passionate, professional person who threw all of her being into whatever she was assigned to do. This is indeed a profound loss,” said Charle.

“The NPC would like to offer condolences to her husband, Roy Devenish, son John, daughter-in-law Carli, daughter Christine, both of whom are overseas, her doting parents, her grandchildren and to the members of the National Press Club.”

Activist and former journalist Yusuf Abramjee took to social media to express condolences.

“She was hospitalised last week. We have lost a dear friend and colleague,” said Abramjee.

Spokesperson for the Tshwane District Hospital Zandile Mthimunye wrote on Facebook: “Hearing of Val’s untimely passing took me back to the first time I had to deal with the media, many years ago. She is one person who would pick up her phone and assist.

’’As a communications officer for a government hospital in Pretoria, we worked closely with her publication.

’’It was indeed an honour to have worked with someone with such a work ethic. May her soul rest in peace.”

We are shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our dear colleague, Val Bojé, this morning.

Independent Media said in a statement: ’’Val was admitted to a hospital in Pretoria a few days ago. According to one of her last social media statuses, she was upbeat and positive about her health and the care that she was receiving.

’’Val was the longest-serving editor in the Independent Media group before her appointment as Senior Editorial Adviser in January 2021 after serving as editor of Pretoria News.

When her new appointment was announced, the executive chairman of Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé, chairman of Sekunjalo Investments, and executive chairman of Independent Media, said: “Val and her news team have built a strong focus on the affairs of the capital city, including its governance, academic, research and diplomatic sectors.

’’She has also led from the front in a sea change of technological advancements, including new systems and the switch to digital news consumption, and has embraced transformation within the media group and broader society. She is a visionary and it is in this spirit, she has recognised that the time is right for new leadership at the Pretoria News.”

Following the news of her passing, Survé said: "Val will be remembered for many many things, but most importantly for her commitment to Independent Media and her colleagues, which can be summed up in a phrase she often used ’We are stronger together’.

’’Val was a South African media stalwart who will be remembered for her total dedication and commitment to her craft. My warmest thoughts go to her family and colleagues during this very sad time.’’

Alan Dunn, a former editor of the Daily News and former senior regional executive editor in KwaZulu-Natal, said Bojé had started her career in the golden age of newspapers.

’’In her years, she exuded competence and a complete understanding of journalism, embracing dramatic modernisation in the industry, and the revolutionary operating changes this meant over the years,’’ Dunn said.

’’From her early days as a Rhodes University journalism graduate of the ’70s, and a tireless municipal reporter, she excelled. In her shift from news generation to editorial production, where she became chief sub-editor of the Pretoria News, she identified herself as a prospective editor of that title – or any other, for that matter, in the group for which she worked.

’’With her years of experience, Val fully understood newspapers in their entirety -- from the first news tip-off to the newsdesk, to the arduous checking and verification processes, placing that news on a page, printing the edition, and physically transporting that news to readers.

’’Years later, her dedication to the Pretoria News paid dividends, and she was rightfully acknowledged as the editor. Decades of talent and contribution finally paid off.

’’To the recent conclusion of her editorship at a title she served and loved throughout her career, Val remained highly capable and passionate about the role of newspapers in society. She was always a stickler for the abiding maxim of competitive journalism: get it right, get it first.

’’The nation's capital has lost a treasure in Val Bojé. She ably and diligently kept that community informed for more than 40 years.

’’Her upbeat note days ago from hospital was typically Val: factual and frank. She had been admitted for other conditions, and Covid was diagnosed in the tests.

’’I am feeling positive. After weeks of feeling so run-down, I am now having multiple tests and receiving excellent medical care.

’’I appreciate the encouraging support of so many: family, friends, colleagues and the medical team. Thank you all.’’

IOL

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