Turning the page

02 October 2015
Author  

I’ve never quite thought of myself as an overly sentimental person until this week, when I found myself taking mental screen shots of everything and almost everyone at the office.

My editor didn’t make it any easier when he announced in our Monday morning diary meeting that it would be my last, and then asked me to conduct the meeting.

I declined not because I didn’t have the desire to do so, but more out of fear that I would be overcome by emotion. I’m just not the girl who is going to risk getting all choked up whilst asking reporters what they will be working on this week.

So short of the long, I’ve come to the end of my journey with the Windhoek Observer, and after four years of waking up every day to come to a place I spent more time at than my own home, I’m unashamed to say its emotional.

Some might wonder what the fuss is all about, as people leave places of employment all the time after having served for many more years than I have at the Observer, but a newsroom is not just any old place you work from.

For those who are career newsmakers or those who have only spent a few years as journalists or editors, it is no secret that it requires a certain level of crazy to work in a newsroom.

The long hours, the deadlines, the pressure, the crazy politicians, the teacher turned car guard who harassed my former colleague for weeks at the office, after she wrote about him; this is just a fraction of the kind of madness we deal with on a daily basis.

But it would be unfair to not declare that the madness was not always external and that very often my own colleagues were more insane than the people we wrote about.

If I decide to write a book based on everything I have seen and heard in the newsroom, it would be a best seller and Oprah Winfrey would do one last show, just to interview me about my book.

Due to the nature of our work, not many last for long periods of time in the profession or even at a particular institution, meaning in the past four years I’ve encountered my fair share of journalists.

Some were my seniors who helped train, groom and shape me into the journalist I turned out to be, others I worked alongside and of late were the ones I began to train and develop.

My time as a political reporter was not always easy, this profession will test your character, integrity, patience, faith and so on.

Despite that you are guaranteed growth both professionally and personally, and before you know it you would have grown that thick skin your editors kept telling you need to have in order to survive.

More than anything I acquired a wealth of knowledge in a range of areas in such a short space of time. Being a journalist is like enrolling for every degree offered at university.

I came to realise that being a political reporter meant a lot more than covering State House, parliament and Swapo congresses, because there is politics in fishing, mining, education, aviation, transport and pretty much any place where human beings have to work together.

As a result, I was exposed to so many industries and so many trades, which ordinarily I don’t think I might have encountered on the level I did.

A friend asked me last week whether I’ve done well or succeeded during my time as a journalist and I told him that was something only my readers could answer, but that I can say with confidence, that my work has made a difference.

At the end of the day I suppose the only thing that really matters is going to bed at night knowing you’ve made some form of impact either in your office, country, region or even the world.

Journalism is definitely not the best paying job, but for those who pursue their work with everything they’ve got, it has to be one of the most rewarding professions I’ve ever encountered.

So before the curtain closes on this chapter of my life, allow me to thank my editors who provided great guidance on this path, but mostly to all of you the faithful readers of the Windhoek Observer.

There is no joy in writing for oneself; 50 percent of my motivation came from you, the readers who would not start their Friday’s without picking up the latest edition of the Windhoek Observer.

Many of you have over the years either called or written to me after reading my articles. Sometimes it was pleasant other times not, but I eventually learnt to embrace the Friday morning calls.

I have to say of all the things I will miss most about being a journalist is going to parliament, because you are assured that at least one of the members of the National Assembly is going to say something that will either leave you in stiches or in complete and utter shock.

As I come to terms with the end of an era, I am also mindful that I would not have achieved much without the support I received from my family, friends and amazing colleagues at the Windhoek Observer.

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WINDHOEK OBSERVER

The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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