Journalist, Ms Mischke, helps to broaden the discourse in Afrikaans
Potchefstroom - This experienced lady journalist who has made her mark in the Afrikaans and South African newspaper industry had her first acquaintance with the world of media on the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University (NWU) many years ago.
Ms Anne-Marie Mischke, senior deputy editor of Rapport who retired recently, registered as a first-year student at the former Potchefstroom University for Christen Higher Education (PU for CHE) for a degree in the science of journalism in 1962. In her second year she decided to rather explore the world of languages with Afrikaans-Netherlands and German as her majors.
Following this, she registered for a postgraduate diploma in library science and with her two qualifications in hand she left for the former Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) where she completed her honours degree in library science. She was then the first postgraduate student to join this new Afrikaans university in Johannesburg, Gauteng and during her studies there she worked in the library of this institution.
With her honours degree obtained, she took a gigantic step in that she left for Germany where she, amongst other things, worked in a factory – something very few South Africans considered doing in those years. Back in her homeland, journalism still “called deep in her heart”. This former resident of Klawerhof then entered the world of the media and for eighteen months she wrote reports at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for radio news. Those were the years before television.
Subsequently she joined the women’s section of the then Transvaler. She describes the beginning of her political reporting as a “natural inclination” in the direction of the political playing field. Firstly, she took care of municipal reporting, which was extended to provincial and national political news coverage. She says in those years there were no women political journalists yet, and her arrival at the press gallery in parliament – as an Afrikaans-speaking person and a woman at that – was a novelty. Fortunately Ms Helen Zille, then a journalist of the English daily paper, Rand Daily Mail, was with her in the same boat.
It is from this same press gallery that Ms Mischke, who later joined Rapport, experienced the greatest political events during the past few decades. So for instance, she was there when the National Party (NP) broke up and the Conservative Party (CP) was founded, she was there when the legalisation of the African National Congress (ANC) was announced and she was there when Messrs FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela entered the parliament together for the first time.
With this and scores of other important events where she as a political journalist wrote in-depth reports, Ms Mischke, according to academics, proved herself to be a writer with insight and who made a formidable contribution so that a variety of people’s voices could be heard in Afrikaans.
In a tribute, Prof Jakes Gerwel wrote that Ms Mischke had contributed to making the Afrikaans chat column in Rapport one of variety and tolerance towards difference. Prof Hermann Giliomee, researcher and historian from Stellenbosh, praised her for the key and responsible role she had played over an extended period in the Afrikaans newspaper industry in broadening, deepening and opening up the discourse in Afrikaans. “She was never one of the flamboyant types with her name in neon lights. In her quiet way she contributed to letting a variety of voices be heard in Afrikaans,” he said in the tribute.
According to Ms Mischke, she will be keeping herself busy doing translation and editing. And the first assignments are already waiting for her.
Compiled by Lieze du Preez.