Noxolo Grootboom

Noxolo Grootboom is back on our TV screens. Image via Twitter @sdu_mpembe/Twitter

Noxolo Grootboom: Rhodes University to bestow honorary doctorate on legendary broadcaster

“I feel so speechless; I am out of words to thank Rhodes University for the honour bestowed on me,” said Noxolo Grootboom. The isiXhosa broadcaster read her final news bulletin in March this year.

Noxolo Grootboom

Noxolo Grootboom is back on our TV screens. Image via Twitter @sdu_mpembe/Twitter

Rhodes University will bestow an honorary doctorate on Noxolo Grootboom, the legendary South African newscaster, who worked at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for nearly 40 years. Grootboom retired in March 2021.


Rhodes University said it would confer a degree of Doctor of Letters (D Litt) on Noxolo Grootboom, 61, at its second virtual graduation ceremony for Masters and PhD students on Friday, 29 October.

Ms Grootboom’s legendary status is derived from her contributions in the broadcasting industry and to South Africa as a whole, through performing her career responsibilities in ways that inspired many citizens, even during the most difficult times,” said the university about the retired isiXhosa new anchor.

“Her uncanny ability to connect with her audience through the powerful medium of her language and drawing from her culture distinguished Mam’ Noxolo as the face and voice of the nation during historic national events.”

Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela said South Africa is indebted to Grootboom “for all that she has done to give much-needed hope to many South Africans in times of national loss and despair and for being a passionate advocate of the isiXhosa language in our society.”

Grootboom joined the SABC on 1 December 1983 as a typist. Three years later she was appointed as a Production Assistant and was mentored by senior journalists. Her interest in storytelling led to her becoming a current affairs producer and a field journalist before the big promotion to news anchor, which made her a household name.

“In 1990, her big break came when she was asked to stand-in for the late Mam’ Thandi Mesetywa’s news anchor to read a bulletin. The station was impressed enough that they asked her to continue to anchor the isiXhosa news,” said Rhodes University.

Grootboom is known as “Mam’ Noxolo” by members of the media because of her willingness and eagerness to teach the next generation of journalists. The broadcasting legend read her last bulletin at the SABC on 30 March 2021.

Nearly 4 million people tuned in to hear her say “Ndinithanda nonke emakhaya” (translated ‘I love you all at home’) one last time, according to statistics from the Television Audience Measurement Service.

“I feel so speechless; I am out of words to thank Rhodes University for the honour bestowed on me. Each event of my life is a life lesson that cannot be merely explained. Even though I had minimal opportunities to further my studies, it seemed as if my dreams about my future were perishing. Today, Rhodes University teaches me that hope is always ignited when it seems as though your dreams are perishing. And when that hope is ignited, it leads you to a new dream. Today, I feel like I am a living example to the youth. This is because, when you devote yourself to your work, new opportunities open up. I am very thankful to Rhodes University for this opportunity. Only a wicked person despises success. Lastly, my fellow people, I would have failed if I did not express my sincere gratitude to my home language. I am being honoured today because of isiXhosa”

Noxolo Grootboom