By Martjie Roos
When Pieter Jordaan stepped in front of the camera for the last time as sports newsreader for kykNET’s news channel eNuus on Friday evening 30 June, he felt a little nervous. “The last time I felt this way was when I started working at eNuus, but it must have happened because I knew that my career had come to an end after nine years at this news channel and that for the last time I would be looking for, writing, packaging and transfer.”
Yet at the same time his cup overflows with gratitude. “I had wonderful and blessed years at eNuus. It was a privilege to do and live out my passions and three hobbies, namely sport, writing and presenting, and all this in Afrikaans,” says Pieter.
He is definitely going to miss the entire professional team at eNuus a lot, he says. “With deadlines it is everyone’s responsibility to do his or her part and the newsreaders also forge a close bond.”
Pieter grew up in Potchefstroom and after matric studied journalism at the North-West University. His journalistic career started at the daily newspaper Image kicked off in the news office and then he at the Volksblad in Kimberley and Bloemfontein sports reporting. He then joined as a senior sports reporter Image and Report worked.
“I was used to working under pressure in a news office and it was therefore nothing new when I joined eNuus. Viewers see it differently when the cameras start rolling, but it’s very stressful behind the scenes to write, compile and package the news bulletin. In addition, it is a challenge to calm down when the broadcast starts and to read the news bulletin calmly. As a newsreader, you must also find the right balance between a formal and professional presentation and come across as approachable, as you are actually entering into a personal conversation with the viewer.
“And oh yes, it was also a challenge to tie a tie. My own tie buttons are not, how shall I say… on silver screen standard.”
He says he started working at eNuus two months before his first child Janco (8) was born. “Janco and Almi (7) thought this is what many dads do – they talk about sports on television. When the news announcement started, Almi sometimes said: ‘Daddy is starting to work there now’.”
As a skilled newsreader, sometimes a few blunders crept in, he says. “I once said ‘Grand Pee’ instead of Grand Prix, and also accidentally called cyclist Andy Schleck Shrek. The secret is to then just continue calmly, but you sometimes get a shock when you do that.
His chapter at eNuus closed on Friday evening, but the new chapter in his career kicked off on Monday as news and publicity manager at Solidarity. “I am very much looking forward to this new challenge. Solidarity has several actions that play out in the public domain and it is important that the communication about it is managed in an appropriate way. The organization is a watchdog in different areas and our generation has a ‘battle’ to fight on its own – specifically with words and ideas. I regard my new position not only as a wonderful opportunity, but above all also as a great responsibility,” he says enthusiastically.
It was for Pieter, who delivered newspapers in his spare time at school and read the newspaper from cover to cover – he always started with the sports pages, from a young age he had a dream to work in journalism as a sports reporter and also to broadcast sports. “But it was also a dream to make a valuable contribution to society. That is why it is so wonderful for me to now become part of Solidarity. Solidarity has an uplifting vision for a prosperous future in our country and more and more people see the organization as a beacon of hope.”
Pieter, who lives in Heidelberg, had variable working hours at eNuus and after a news broadcast he often did not return home until late at night. “My working hours are different now, because I now mostly work office hours. Solidarity’s offices are in Centurion and that means I will have to hit the road early on weekday mornings, but at least my wife Annelu doesn’t have to heat up my dinner now, as was often the case after a news broadcast.”
Forty-year-old Pieter does not shy away from new challenges. He completed his fourth Comrades race this year. “I regard the Comrades as a type of pilgrimage and every marathon is a brand new experience for me. The Comrades is in itself a huge milestone and event, but it is also the beautiful surrounding landscapes and landmarks on this route that charm me. There are probably several reasons why I dare to do this. I don’t necessarily try to set a better time every year, but also try to apply the Comrades mentally in my life – the fact that you have to take it step by step to reach a milestone, far out of sight, is a good metaphor for other challenges in life.”
He admits that that last hour of the Comrades can be very painful. “The pain and suffering is soon forgotten when you reach the finish line. It’s like when you drive to the beach with your kids and they argue in the car. When you reach your final destination, everything is forgotten and afterwards you only remember the sea and the sun. I will probably take on the Comrades again next year, because my older brother will be taking on the race for the first time and I can’t let him do it alone,” he jokes.
Pieter is a devoted family man, and when he is not working or running he spends quality time with his family. “It’s wonderful to light a fire with my family and visit under the lapa or to go for a walk in the field around our home in the Suikerbosrand and then have a picnic. The walk there and the light to deeper conversations along the way are then part of the experience.”