Veteran broadcaster Noxolo Grootboom is retiring from the SABC after being in its employ for 37 years.She read her final news bulletin on SABC 1’s isiXhosa news on Tuesday night. President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to Grootboom for her contribution and telling historic stories. South Africans will always remember 30 March 2021 as the day veteran broadcaster Noxolo Grootboom bid a final goodbye to SABC Iindaba viewers after decades on the small screen.

The 60-year-old’s legendary sign-off “Ndinithanda nonke emakhaya” on SABC 1 was an emotional one for her on Tuesday after saying it for more than three decades. 

All eyes were on her at 19:00 as she read her last news bulletin in isiXhosa. 

She is retiring after being with the state broadcaster for 37 years.

Before articulating her sign-off, which can be loosely translated as, “I love you all at home”, Grootboom said the love she had received from fellow South Africans had left her in awe. 

— Mthimkhulu, Mashwabada, Mashiya amahle (@NeoMotloung_) March 30, 2021The broadcaster, dressed in colourful traditional Xhosa attire, described the love she had received like a sermon to her and showed ubuntu.

READ | End of an era as SABC’s IsiXhosa news anchor Noxolo Grootboom signs off after 37 years

“Over the past years, you have raised the calibre of isiXhosa news and helped raise its bar, and at the same time, you also lifted me and placed me in a higher space. 

“In this way, you instilled humility in me…” she said.

Grootboom thanked South Africans for their unwavering love and support, and encouraged them to continue showing it while they worked toward ending issues the country faced. 

“Issues that put a strain on our country… You loved me, and I loved you. May you sleep tonight with the robe of harmony, peace and love. I love you all at home,” she said, struggling to hold back her tears. 

Viewers who had been eager to watch her final bulletin were initially left disappointed on Tuesday afternoon when it was announced President Cyril Ramaphosa would be addressing the nation on Covid-19 developments at the same time. 

Although it was not clear whether Ramaphosa had seen the many pleas on social media to give Grootboom her moment to shine, the Presidency issued an update that the address would be moved to 19:30.

WATCH | Noxolo Grootboom at a loss for words as Ramaphosa shifts ‘family meeting’ for last bulletin

Ramaphosa started off his address by paying tribute to her, saying she was an outstanding journalist who had covered historical events and brought them into the living rooms of the nation.

He said: “We wish Ms Grootboom well and thank her for her many years of service.  

“Sifuna ukuthi, uphumle kamnandi, uhlale [usazi] ukuthi abantu abaninzi apha eMzantsi Afrika bayakuthanda, nam futhi ndiyakuthanda [We want to say, go and rest well and always know that many South Africans love you, I love you too.]”

Grootboom grew up in Fort Beaufort, the Eastern Cape, and started her career at the SABC as a typist before making her way on-air, Channel24 reported.

[CHILDHOOD MEMORY]Your coverage of SACP leader Chris Hani’s funeral will always be etched in my mind. My father gathered us all to the living room and made us watch the funeral of his favourite politician from start to finish. My admiration for you grew from then on. Farewell.????

— Xoli Mngambi (@XoliMngambi) March 30, 2021Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.