Mandy Rossouw

The best thing about Mandy Rossouw was her dimples. No. It was her hair, the way it turned up at the ends in this sort of retro look that could only have suited her. Actually, it was the way she would make you laugh, or how she would tell you, in no uncertain terms, that she was right about whatever point she was making and if she was later proven wrong she would tell you you were a fool for believing her in the first place. Rossouw, who graduated from Stellenbosch University with her journalism degree in 2000, had the kind of confidence, humour, style and drive that made her an asset to any newsroom. She loved her work and had a career most journalists only dream of. Her first job was as provincial government reporter for Beeld. She went on to become the international correspondent for Media24, based in London. In 2007 she joined the Mail & Guardian as senior political reporter and it was she who broke the Nkandla story in 2009. In 2011 she returned to Media24 as international correspondent and City Press’s political reporter. The next year she joined Eyewitness News, adding radio to her already impressive CV. She wrote three books: The Year in Quotes 2010, with Andrew Donaldson; The World According to Julius Malema, with Max du Preez; and Mangaung: Kings and Kingmakers, which came out in the run-up to last year’s conference. When she died, unexpectedly, in March the journalistic community let out a collective howl. The ANC, Cope, Numsa and the Commission for Gender Equality issued statements. Social networks exploded, reports on radio, TV and websites and in newspapers all murmured in grief. She was only 33 years old. She was a Young South African destined for even greater things, and she is so missed. — Tanya Pampalone