A private funeral service and celebration of the life of the Valerie Elizabeth Boje was held at St Alban’s College Chapel in Pretoria yesterday. Picture: Zelda Venter
A private funeral service and celebration of the life of the Valerie Elizabeth Boje was held at St Alban’s College Chapel in Pretoria yesterday. Picture: Zelda Venter

Outpouring of love as former Pretoria News editor Val Boje is laid to rest

By Goitsemang Tlhabye Time of article published Oct 11, 2021

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Pretoria - The family of the late former Pretoria News editor Valerie Elizabeth Boje have urged those who loved and cherished her to know that they need only look around themselves to see the love which formed a monument to her life.

Boje’s husband Roy Devenish was speaking during the private funeral service and celebration of the life of the veteran journalist at St Alban’s College Chapel yesterday.

The service was streamed through Independent Media social platforms, including the Pretoria News.

Devenish said his late wife had been loved. He said of all things he wanted to be remembered about her was that those who came across her path had indeed helped her to acknowledge her hopes, dreams, ambitions and determination to make Pretoria a better place for all its people.

As a family, he said they were grateful to the hundreds of people who had sent messages and who now had a special place in the family’s hearts and memories.

Devenish also took the opportunity to thank Alice Spenser Higgs and Ludwig’s Roses for donating huge bouquets of roses to ensure that the chapel was decorated with Boje’s favourite white roses.

“We give thanks for the service as it was a beautiful mix of Val’s life as an editor and a journalist, but also as a deeply caring, loving, family woman and friend who shared her all and was a comfort, confidant and carer to all who needed it.”

Devenish also took the opportunity to commend their daughter Christine for, despite losing her mother and best friend, being strong enough to put aside her grieving to ensure that the farewell to her beloved “Barbie” as she affectionately called her, went off without a hitch.

“As a family, we have been overwhelmed by the huge number of tributes which have poured in for Val. From tributes heralding her professional capabilities, assisting organisations in the city with projects, and streams of journalists who she helped, mentored and cared for were all of great comfort to us.”

The veteran journalist’s father, John Boje, said although he knew his daughter was a special person, he did not know just how special she was until he heard and read all the wonderful things people had said about her since the news of her passing.

He said that in fact it was the outpouring of messages they had received about the impact she had on people's lives that sustained them during this difficult time.

“We had absolutely no idea that she had touched so many lives – and touched them so profoundly, but I believe her passion for her job gave her an opportunity to nurture talent and people.”

He said he was proud of all the messages sent through about his daughter, and most importantly those that highlighted how she strived to create an environment of non-racialism and how she had an eye for talent.

“Val has left us too soon, but the truth in your tributes bring out another message that it’s not about how long we live; it’s about what we do with the gift of life while we have it.

“She set us an amazing example, one that enables us to remember her with joy, light and gratitude.”

Jos Charle, a long-term friend, colleague and a member of the National Press Club, which Boje chaired at the time of her death a week ago, thanked her parents for the gift she was to so many people in the industry.

Charle commended Boje for her efforts and bid to reinvigorate the National Press Club, and went on to detail her hard work, dedication and professionalism exuded in her bid to make the Pretoria News great, by even bringing along the resources, contacts and whatever else she could, just as she planned to with the Press Club.

Boje died last Monday after a brief stay in hospital. She was due to undergo a surgery on her heart, which was at the time described as minor.

Pretoria News

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