R.I.P. Suna...

2017-06-30 19:55

Another one bit the dust. Tragic! Unnecessary! Shocking!

Who am I talking about? Suna Venter of course. Who? Well, if you don’t know her, you have either been asleep during the last year, or you are totally ignorant!

Who was Suna Venter? Well apart from the fact that she was one of the journalists, that I will never forget and that I admired immensely, she was gifted in so many ways. She reported groundbreaking stories. She was passionate about her career, passionate about making a difference and passionate about fighting against injustice. Unfortunately, it was precisely this that led to her paying with her life.

Suna was one of the SABC 8 who was suspended after they protested against editorial policies. Later on the dismissals were reversed by the Labour Court. However, during the past year Suna has been a victim of intimidation, assault and even death threats. The stress was unbearable. Eventually she was diagnosed with stress cardiomyopathy, also known as “broken heart syndrome”. The cause? Severe trauma and stress caused by the problems at work.

I am shocked by Suna’s death and my heart goes out to her loved ones. It is unthinkable that a person who is only 32 years old, should pay with her life due to stress-related events. What is even more shocking is that it was brought on by a situation of injustice. Suna was innocent! Yet, she was treated with disrespect and an attitude of aggression.

So many journalists have paid with their lives throughout the years. To me journalism is a sacred profession. We are there to make a difference. Most people think that journalists are only after sensation, but nothing could be further from the truth. The media is the watchdog of society, the ordinary man’s conscience. Most of us are rebels with a cause. We want a better South Africa. We want freedom, equality and justice for all. The media is one of the means that can be used to achieve this.

South Africa has a long road ahead. As I’ve written before, we as a nation have so many challenges. However I do believe that if we make the right choices, we have a future. One of those choices is to fight for a free and independent media. We need the media to fight injustice. That is the only way forward.

Part of respecting the media, is respecting the journalists who work their butts off. Journalism is an honourable profession. It is hard work and long hours. It takes dedication, spunk and passion! It is not for the faint-hearted. Many journalists choose the profession because they want to stand up for what they believe in. Suna was one such journalist...

I salute you Suna Venter! You were a fine example of what a good journalist should be. You excelled in your profession, not only because you were exceptional, but because you upheld values that can be regarded as a moral compass for the rest of South Africa. You were a heroine to me and to many others. Thank you for the example that you set and for the difference that you made. R.I.P Suna...

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