Noxolo Grootboom 2022


Celebrated media personality, Noxolo Grootboom, was born on 8 October 1960 in Cacadu (formerly Lady Frere) in the Eastern Cape and completed her formative schooling in the area. During her high school years, she studied at Lamplough High School and Bethel College, in Butterworth.

Moving to Gauteng in 1981 with her siblings, she took a course in computers at a Johannesburg computer academy. Thereafter, she took up a position as a typist at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in 1983, seeing this as an opportunity to move into the media space albeit with no formal journalism background.

Three years later, she worked her way up to being appointed as a production assistant and received mentoring from fellow journalists. Her love of storytelling and her passion for the isiXhosa language landed her a position as current affairs producer. 

A stand-in stint in the newsroom in 1990, reading a news bulletin, impressed the public braodcaster’s management and she subsequently became isiXhosa news anchor.

Her ability to authentically deliver fine isiXhosa prose without being theatrical or cliched in news reporting, and her love for beautiful spoken language and excellent vocal delivery soon resulted in her becoming a much respected and loved news anchor. Her deep understanding of isiXhosa language, culture, customs and traditions, as well as the recognition of our country’s linguistic and cultural diversity enabled her to excellently broadcast in isiXhosa, English and other indigenous South African languages. 

She prides herself as the storyteller who learnt these ways of knowing through her rural informal teaching in the Eastern Cape.

During her SABC years, she anchored the live funeral broadcasts of high-profile South Africans like Chris Hani, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Joe Slovo, Govan Mbeki and the global icon after which our University is named, Nelson Mandela.

With her unique sense of humour and her inimitable knack for the isiXhosa language, Noxolo represents many things that Nelson Mandela University stands for, including the value of healing society from its brutal wounds, while preserving the intellectual heritage of isiXhosa for families across the nation.  

On  30  March 2021, Noxolo Grootboom delivered her last news broadcast to an audience of almost 4 million people, marking her retirement at the end of a 37-year career. That news broadcast coincided with a “family meeting” by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who duly moved his time slot up by half an hour to allow her audience to witness her final bulletin. A true honour and accolade to a consumate professional of the industry. As with all her bulletins, she ended her broadcast with her well-known mantra, "Ndinithanda nonke emakhaya" which, loosely translated, means “I love you all at home”.

Her public service in South African society to translate stories and capture the mood while teaching younger generations of the content and knowledge preserved in language, makes her one of the few news anchors and storytellers who deserve the opportunity to be honoured by “ukuthweswa isidanga” (graduation) for the excellent work done in service to society for more than three decades.

For her invaluable work and contribution to journalism, media and communication, as well as her upliftment of the linguistic heritage of South Africa, it is an honour for Nelson Mandela University to confer the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) on Noxolo Grootboom.