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Life is a journey and I enjoyed the ride

A lifetime of chasing stories.

48 years is a long time.

No, it isn’t.
It was evening and it was morning… then it was over.

Caxton awards best community involvement with our Puma Project: Yaseen Gaffar, Aletta Lotter, Lynn Wilton, Tobie van den Bergh, Thokozani Magagula, Daleen Naude and Maggy Cronje.

Perhaps it is because you are chasing deadlines that time passes quickly.

Walked into an editorial office for the first time in September 1975.
We were matriculants who applied to work at the Witbank Nuus during the holidays.

I was appointed together with my great friend, George Daniels from Generaal Hertzog High School, Roselyn Penny and Cecil Smart from Witbank High.
Roselyn became part of the editorial team for a short time, but journalism was not for Cecil and George.

December 3, 1975, it became my “job” – 48 years ago.

It was an indescribable journey.

Almost like the Nissan ad: “Life is a journey, enjoy the ride”.

And I did.

Experienced days that people do not experience in a lifetime.

One of my first stories.

Being a story hunter is a euphoria that only journalists, especially community journalists, experience.
It becomes your life, your whole existence, it engulfs you.

It’s hard, but it’s fun.

Your family sacrifices together, suffers together.
Got married on a Sunday to work on Monday.

The Board of Directors of the Forum of Community Journalist (FCJ) held its annual planning meeting on Friday 3 February 2023. The meeting was hosted by AVBOB’s Western Cape and Central head office in Durbanville. AVBOB is the main sponsor of the AVBOB FCJ Excellence Awards which recognises and rewards community journalists for their hard work. Front: Ben Burger (FCJ) Deputy Executive and Western Cape Director), Fiona Abrahams (HR Manager at AVBOB), Marietta Lombard (FCJ Executive and Gauteng Director). Back: Eugenia Michael (AVBOB Provincial Secretary), Lientjie Mentz (FCJ Director Free State and Northern Cape), Dustin Wetdewich (FCJ Director North West), Tobie van den Bergh (FCJ Direcor Mpumalanga and Limpopo), Roelien D’Amico KZN), Hugo Redelinghuys (FCJ Director Garden Route and Eastern Cape).

Was “kidnapped”, assaulted, twice fled from firearms, almost stabbed to death, stoned, spat in the face, received death threats and was branded a “traitor”.

Had to turn away “friends” who arrived at the house with giant pieces of biltong because they didn’t want a report in the newspaper.

Every sport has its injuries, every job has its challenges.

It was all part of being a newspaperman; “Tobie Camera”, “Koerantmannetjie”, as my neighbour introduces me, “Our town’s newspaperman”, “Oom Koerant”.

Being able to do this in Middelburg was the greatest reward; a fantastic town with incredible people.
Being able to cry together, laugh together, fight together, was a great privilege.

You can write a book about everything you have experienced.

With the Mhluzi pensioners. The towns biggest gentleman, Paul Mthimunye, sit next to me.

Maybe one day…

1975 was the year of…

• Pet rocks
• Bell-bottom trousers
• 8-Tracks
• Disco
• Song of the Year: Captain and Tennille, “Love Will Keep Us Together”
• Album of the Year: Paul Simon, Still Crazy After All These Years
• Movies: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestJawsNashvilleDog Day AfternoonBarry Lyndon.
• Saturday Night Live first airs with legendary comedian George Carlin.
• All in the Family is America’s top television show for the fifth straight year.
• Vietnam War ends (April 30).
• Apollo-Soyuz spacecraft takes off for U.S. Soviet link-up in space (July 15).
• Margaret Thatcher is the first woman elected to lead Britain’s Conservative Party.
• Egypt reopens the Suez Canal after eight years.
• Home videotape systems (VCRs) are developed in Japan by Sony (Betamax) and Matsushita (VHS).
• Computer hobbyists Stephen Wozniak and Steven Jobs begin working on computer designs. Together they develop the Apple 1 prototype.
• Arthur Ashe wins Wimbledon and World Court Championships; Billie Jean King wins sixth Wimbledon crown and retires from singles.

At the funeral of South Eastern Transvaal fullback Harry Muller: Piet Craven, Gert la Grange, Wimpie van der Westhuizen, Terence Moll and Richard Cooke.
Tobie van den Bergh, Piet Swanepoel, Cobus Fourie and Hein Koch racing in the Alzu Tour de Farm.

 
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