800 Editions – Thank you!
05 December 2012
Wow, it seems like just yesterday I walked into the original Soccer-Laduma offices and asked Peter du Toit for a chance to write for his publication. That was 14 years ago. What he told me that day has not changed. He said, “Clint, this isn’t my publication. We work for the readers. They are our bosses. In our opinion, every one of them has a PHD in football and you need to always treat them as such.”
Today you are reading the 800th edition of Soccer-Laduma and I can honestly say that it’s Peter’s approach to this unbelievable publication that has got us here. Look around and you will notice that print is becoming a very difficult industry to survive in. Soccer publications have come and gone. Established soccer titles have had to cut back from being a weekly, to being a bi-weekly to becoming a monthly. The need for immediate news on digital platforms is being met on a minute-to-minute basis and yet still this weekly soccer title goes from strength to strength. We’ve gone from being a tiny regional weekly to becoming the largest sports publication on the African continent. From being a bit part player in South Africa to becoming the second biggest weekly in the country. It really is quite amazing.
Behind this paper there is a phenomenal team. Some have been here longer than others. Some have since moved on to other things, the likes of Zizi Hollander, a founding mother of Soccer-Laduma whose role here will never be forgotten. Fallen heroes like Vuyo Soko and Cynthia Mntuni who have since passed on. All very different people, but the one common trait of everyone that works here is that they all become masters of their particular role.
There are names here that none of you Soccer-Laduma readers will really know, unless you read the credits page. Names that are never up in lights, but who help make this paper what it is. Brent Smith has been here almost since the very beginning. He is responsible for the incredible look of the paper, the continual evolution that has happened over the years to keep our family of readers happy. He is one of those unsung heroes. Jacinta Nunes, our sub-editor, a perfectionist when it comes to the words in Soccer-Laduma, working week after week to help make Soccer-Laduma the best possible read. Ntombi Majodina, our receptionist, treats every caller and reader like it’s the president himself on the line. Darren King in production who is sometimes here at 4:30 am on a Tuesday to make sure we hit our deadline. Vuyani Joni, our deputy editor, who I believe is one of the most knowledgeable and well-connected soccer writers in the country who has been with us for the long haul. Gail Swartz, who makes sure our website ticks over and who has taken our social media platforms to a whole new level. Lunga Adam, who joined us from high school, who we scouted from reading his letters to Soccer-Laduma, is now the brains behind the popular ‘In Touch’ features.
The list goes on… Andries Venter who holds the purse strings, Damien Samuels who holds our digital platforms together, Khaya Ndubane who chases down the big interviews, Masebe Qina who keeps our website ticking with news, David Minchella, our top feature writer, Eddie Martinuzzi who rocks our website, Jared Chaitowitz our international guru, Joanne Wheal who gets through mountains of admin, Joe Crann, our English import who is plugged into the PSL, Nushreen Coutts, our ‘special projects’ champion, Peter Mogabale, our distribution chief, Richard van der Westhuizen, our general manager who is taking us to new heights and Themba Mntambo our ‘Make Your Point maestro’ and reader insights man.
Tracy Greentree, our customer relations manager, Vusi Maqalekane, who is in constant conversation with our readers, Edshine Phosa who chases down those scoops, Rudi de Beer, Ryan Stramrood and Faheem Ahmed, our sales team who help pay the bills, Nozuko Mkonwana our receptionist extraordinaire in Joburg, and our regular freelancers Benjamin Nyirenda, Reggie Nkholise, Sbu Nkosi, Peter Raath and Walter Mabeba, and our aspiring journalist Julian Bailey… thank you!
But, most importantly, and the only reason we are able to continue with our passion of putting Soccer-Laduma together each and every week, a massive thank you to our family of three and a half million readers. Without your support, without your unwavering passion, we would have no reason to put our ‘football love letter’ together for you every week. It really feels like a special relationship and the opportunity to engage in this passion with you is a privilege and an honour.
We thank you, we respect you and we express our gratitude to you. You are the reason for the success of the Soccer-Laduma team. We salute you! You are our boss!