Ven­ter likened to a li­on­ess at emo­tional ser­vice


A JEWEL. A li­on­ess fiercely pro­tect­ing those she loved. A gra­cious per­son who gave new mean­ing to the ex­pres­sion “life is fair”.

Th­ese were just some of the glow­ing tributes to the late SABC jour­nal­ist Suna Ven­ter, 32, who died on Thurs­day. Yes­ter­day, friends, fam­ily and col­leagues gath­ered in the Dutch Re­formed Church in Fair­land, Joburg, to pay homage to the “brave and coura­geous” jour­nal­ist and ra­dio pro­ducer.

Ven­ter was among the so-called SABC 8 jour­nal­ists who re­volted against the pub­lic broad­caster’s ed­i­to­rial pol­icy that pro­hib­ited the broad­cast­ing or cov­er­age of vi­o­lent protests.

Two of Ven­ter’s col­leagues in the SABC 8 group, Them­beka Gqubule and Kri­vani Pil­lay, were among the mourn­ers who at­tended the memo­rial ser­vice.

Ven­ter was de­scribed as a per­son who was deeply com­pas­sion­ate about help­ing peo­ple from all walks of life, and an ex­tremely zeal­ous in­di­vid­ual who stood fe­ro­ciously in de­fence of her ideals.

Gqubule said she was dev­as­tated when she heard of Ven­ter’s death.

“I can’t de­scribe all the emo­tions I felt at the time, but the most dom­i­nant was shock,” Gqubule told re­porters out­side the church.

Ven­ter’s brother Wil­helm spoke about his fond mem­o­ries of her.

“A li­on­ess is what you were, fiercely pro­tect­ing the ones you love,” he said, fight­ing back tears.

Ven­ter’s sis­ter, Tessa, rem­i­nisced about her con­ver­sa­tions with the jour­nal­ist over a glass of wine or a cap­puc­cino. “My sis­ter was a jewel. She was a won­der­ful in­di­vid­ual. She had the soft­est heart,” an emo­tional Tessa said.

Ven­ter’s fa­ther, Philip, cast a for­lorn fig­ure, vis­i­bly dis­traught at the un­timely death of his daugh­ter. He said she gave a new mean­ing to the ex­pres­sion “life is fair”.

“Suna found more things beau­ti­ful, won­der­ful and worth­while.”

Foeta Krige, the SABC’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of news and ac­tu­al­ity pro­grammes, said he was deeply sad­dened by Ven­ter’s death.

He took a swipe at the SABC em­ploy­ees who he said had col­luded with its for­mer chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng, in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of questionable de­ci­sions.

“I’m an­gry with white col­leagues who used their ex­pe­ri­ence gath­ered in a white, priv­i­leged SABC to be­come part and par­cel of the ‘new’ SABC (and who lied) to re­in­state the man who is re­spon­si­ble for the state that we are in,” he said.

A slide show of a cheer­ful Ven­ter in her child­hood and re­cent mo­ments in her ca­reer was shown, while some of her favourite songs played in the back­ground.

Ven­ter died af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with a car­diac con­di­tion known as stress car­diomy­opa­thy or “bro­ken heart syn­drome”.

Her fam­ily said she was bat­tling with stress in the past year as she had been re­peat­edly at­tacked, as well as shot at, ab­ducted and tied to a tree at Melville Kop­pies while the grass around her was set alight.

An­other memo­rial ser­vice will be held to­mor­row at the SABC head­quar­ters in Auck­land Park.

‘COURA­GEOUS’: SABC jour­nal­ist Suna Ven­ter had been ter­rorised.

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