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40 years on, he still loves daily delivery

Date Released: Wed, 20 February 2013 09:50 +0200

Newspapers have always been part of my life, says Pretoria News editor Val Boje, whose parents are long-time subscribers to the newspaper she edits.

She recalls that on Sundays, she and her brother were sent to the café on their bicycles to buy the Sunday Times and a slab of chocolate. For the rest of the day the family would read different sections of the paper and her father has always done the crossword puzzles.

Her parents, she says, listened to news bulletins and bought a television as soon as transmission became available in South Africa. The Pretoria News was a regular feature in their home. With this constant exposure to news it is hardly surprising that journalism was an option for Val.

She graduated from Rhodes with a BJourn degree, and a student holiday job at the Pretoria News led to her decision that this was the right “home” for her. She has been with the paper ever since, working as a reporter and sub-editor and, since April, as editor.

Her parents, John and Elizabeth Boje, now retired, have read the Pretoria News for more than 40 years, taking out a subscription for the convenience of having the newspaper delivered to their home.

“In my adult life I’ve always read two or more newspapers every day,” says John.

“Different papers serve different purposes, and although I want to know what is happening in foreign countries, it’s even more important for me to know what is happening in my own immediate environment.

“I may be prejudiced, but I believe the Pretoria News is a really good paper and I read it with very great pleasure and Elizabeth and I act on information about concerts, outings and other local events.”

John’s interest in news dates back to his childhood in Cape Town during World War II. “My father used to listen to the news and no one dared make a sound. First there was a broadcast from the BBC, after that, if I remember correctly, there was an SABC news bulletin. After supper, my father settled down to his daily newspaper which I – like my own children – had to go and buy at the local café. I remember it cost two and a half cents.”

“It’s hardly surprising that I got the message that news, knowledge and information are important,” says John, who was a school teacher until he retired, holds a doctorate in South African history and compiled the history of the Pretoria News for its centenary in 1998.

“Now I’m retired I’m so glad I’m still a subscriber. I wake at about 5.30am, put on my dressing gown and slippers and fetch my Pretoria News from the front gate of the complex where we live. Then I get back into bed with a cup of coffee and Elizabeth and I luxuriate in the sheer joy and privilege of starting our day in such a stress-free way.”

Val says having her parents as readers is an advantage as they give her constant and honest feedback on the quality of the newspaper.

Picture credit: www.iol.co.za