Tributes pour in for veteran journalist

Ronelle Rademeyer

Condolence messages continue to pour in for veteran journalist Ronelle Rademeyer (56), who died on Monday.

Rademeyer, who worked for Afrikaans daily Republikein, died after a long battle with cancer, and has been described by her peers as a journalist with her “heart and soul” in the profession.

“ Her ethical conduct and insights caused her to be highly respected by her peers and colleagues,” Frank Steffen, chairperson of the Editors’ Forum of Namibia (EFN), said yesterday.

He said the EFN will remember Rademeyer for the crucial role she played in organising the EFN Journalism Awards since 2018, which she often referred to as Namibia’s own “Pulitzer Awards”.

Her last awards event was on 19 October 2023, a few kilometres outside Windhoek.

“Ronelle tirelessly and selflessly dedicated herself in organising these awards, as well as sourced sponsorship to make them a reality,” Steffen said.

He said the highlight of Rademeyer’s career was witnessing the formal transition of South Africa from an apartheid state to a fully fledged independent democracy.

“She attended that event as an accredited journalist from Namibia, and was able to witness at close range when Nelson Mandela took on the mighty task of becoming the first post-apartheid South African president,” Steffen said.

He said the EFN honours Rademeyer in the same way she worked tirelessly to ensure the EFN grew to become a respected and integral part of Namibia’s media landscape.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family during this difficult time,” Steffen said.

Rademeyer was also the EFN’s former chairperson.

The Namibia Media Professionals Union (Nampu) has described Rademeyer as not only the embodiment of hard work, but also of grace, kindness and understanding.

The union’s acting secretary general, Jemima Beukes, says Rademeyer’s career was marked by an unwavering commitment to excellence in journalism.

“Her dedication to her craft and her relentless pursuit of truth and fairness set her apart as a beacon of journalistic integrity. She was a true professional who brought depth and insight to every story she covered, and her contributions to the field of journalism in Namibia are immeasurable,” Beukes says.

She said beyond her professional achievements, Rademeyer was a pillar of support and a mentor to many, particularly young reporters who were just starting their careers.

Beukes says Rademeyer’s willingness to help others and her generous spirit created an environment of learning and growth in the newsroom.

“As we mourn her loss, we also celebrate the legacy of mentorship, kindness and professionalism that Ronelle has left behind. She was a guiding light in the newsroom, and her contributions will be cherished forever.

“Ronelle’s impact on the lives of those she touched, both personally and professionally, will continue to be felt for years to come,” Beukes says.

Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform spokesperson Jona Musheko yesterday lauded Rademeyer’s contribution to the agriculture sector.

Rademeyer is also credited as the brain behind Agri Monitor, Network Media Hub’s agricultural publication.

“As a dedicated journalist covering agriculture for Republikein, Ronelle made memorable contributions to the dissemination of information in the agriculture sector.

“It’s our hope that her passion and commitment will continue to inspire us all to continue informing the Namibian nation wholeheartedly,” Musheko said.

Before retiring in December 2022 due to her health situation, Rademeyer served as Republikein’s news editor.

Rademeyer is survived by her husband, Lourens, and two sons, Wilhelm and André, as well as four sisters and her parents.

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