Meet the Lady Behind Noxolo Grootboom’s Last-Bulletin Outfit

It was a bittersweet moment on Tuesday night when millions of South Africans glued to their TV screens to watch veteran newsreader Noxolo Grootboom deliver her last SABC news bulletin.

The 60-year-old has been a news reader for 37 years.

Growing up, many of us watched SABC news to hear her deliver the news in her mother tongue, isiXhosa, where she would sign off by saying “ndinithanda nonke emakhaya” (I love you all at home).

For her last bulletin, the Eastern Cape born star wore full Xhosa regalia designed by Nombuyiselo Zinco.

“Zinco is a small business owner who is self-taught in making isiXhosa garments and she called me offering to sew me something special. All the pieces that I wore were put together by her and her two daughters and the bead work was done by her 7-year-old son,” Grootboom told IOL.

In a video shared by Yolisa Njamela on Twitter, Zinco was seen handing over the outfit to Grootboom.

Zinco had travelled all the way from Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) to the SABC’s Johannesburg studios just to give Grootboom umbhaco (isiXhosa traditional wear).

She said: “Ingathi singabuyela emva, sihlale sisixabisile isintu sethu. Sizithanda ulwimi lethu kude kube sekuqgibeleni.” Which, loosely translated, means we should always go back to being proud of our culture, and loving our language until the end.

The newsreader replied by saying: “Enkosi kakhulu mtwana sekhaya, ndiyabulela.” (Thank you so much sister, I am so grateful.)

South Africans continue to honour Grootboom, even President Cyril Ramaphosa moved his address last night from 7pm to 7.30pm to pay tribute to the newsreader.

“I wish to pay tribute to Ms Grootboom as an outstanding journalist who, throughout her distinguished career, brought historic events in our country and across the world into the living rooms of our nation. We wish Ms Grootboom well and thank her for her many years of service. Sifuna ukuthi, kumakhaya ngamakhaya, Siyakuthanda (We want to say from each and every home, we love you),” Ramaphosa said during his opening speech on Tuesday night.