Alumna Salomé Kotzé, editor of the Klerksdorp Record and award-winning journalist, says her work brings her to the campus in Potchefstroom regularly, and she is amazed at all the expansion and changes.


She had registered for a master’s degree in communication studies, but put this on hold due to work pressure. She hopes to continue her studies next year.


Cupid pounces


It was actually Salomé’s curiosity that gave Cupid’s arrow a chance to strike.


“I was privileged to start working at the Klerksdorp Record as entertainment reporter two days after my final exam in 1995.”


But she didn’t stop at entertainment reporting. Her curiosity drove her to the courts and crime reporting. “And that is how it happened that I fell in love with a detective in Orkney.”


Salomé and police officer Flip have been married for 17 years now. “We have experienced much together and have a lovely little house in Orkney, where we live with two Labradors and a surly cat,” she says.


Powerful photography puts community press editor in the spotlight

Klerksdorp Record editor Salomé Kotzé has a place on both sides of the news. Not only is she an experienced journalist, she is also newsworthy in her own right, having been named community press Photographer of the Year.

The organisers of the competition, the Forum of Community Journalists, announced the winners of the 2018 title in July this year. A portfolio of six of Salomé’s photographs that appeared in the Klerksdorp Record in 2018 won her the award.


Those first steps


She learnt to master the finer points of journalism as a BCom Communication student at the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education.


Salomé’s home from 1992 to 1995 was the Wag-ʼn-Bietjie ladies' residence. “Thanks to the wonders of Facebook I am still in contact with my friends from the residence and from class. Although more than half of them live overseas now, we still talk now and then and follow each other’s activities.”


From rookie to editor


She started working at the Klerksdorp Record as a rookie in 1995 and 10 years later, she became the editor.


Community newspapers have quite a few hurdles these days, she says. “The work does not really get less, but as the staff is reduced, new people are not appointed.”


Another challenge is social media – she says everyone with a cellphone and a profile on social media thinks they are a journalist or photographer these days. In addition, community newspapers struggle to compete with the free advertisements on social media.


If Salomé is not at the newspaper, she teaches part-time classes in photography to high school learners and students, and does some freelance writing.

Her photos are the best … These photos that Salomé took appeared in the Klerksdorp Record in 2018, setting the bar high for other community journalists.


Do you still remember the dore and Days of Our Lives?


Oh heavens, do you still remember that yellow dore dress …?  Salomé says the residence uniform they had to wear as first years, known as dore, is definitely not a good memory. Fortunately, the numerous wonderful memories overshadow it.


“The girls in our corridor were addicted to soaps and between five and seven every weekday we were glued to a small box television, watching Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful and Egoli.


Other pictures in her mind are of folding paper flowers at the Joolplaas and of her roommate’s light-blue vintage Ford, baptised Ystervoël, which was equipped with its own telephone.


 “I also remember the late-night or all-night study sessions, the intervarsity trips to Bloemfontein and an terrible encounter with vodka and orange juice …”





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Collecting awards


This year’s Press Photographer of the Year award is one of many prizes that Salomé Kotzé’s expertise has bagged her through the years.


“I won the same prize in 2007 when the competition was still known as the Sanlam Community Press Awards,” she says.


She has also been a finalist for the ATKV’s Mediaveertjies. Another award of which she is proud is the ATKV Afrikoon, which she received in 2005 for her remarkable contribution as organiser/journalist in the community.


<>Here are two more beautiful photographs that Salomé took. The Kotzés’ two Labradors, Ben and Babsie, are brother and sister. “Babsie is the naughty one,” says Salomé. Tomcat Pearlie was tiny and looked like a little pearl when he was born under a corrugated iron roof, nearly dying from the heat.

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