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.