Johnny Masilela, The Beat Editor

Pray for us, oh good people


Johnny Masilela   l   Views: 81

There is, in the Pretoria township of Soshanguve, a traditional healer who also doubles up as a freelance journalist.

Not surprising at all, in that the Fourth Estate (journalism) has from time to time attracted people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Force Khashane was the editor-in-chief at in-vogue upmarket magazine, Pace, and also a practicing traditional healer, and Zionist cult modern-day prophet.

When I for one, was news editor at Sunday Sun, one of the reporters on my team was a wannabe traditional healer.

During the time of jackboot Apartheid, our newsrooms were home from home for some shady characters too, such as the brilliant photographer who was called in as State witness during the political trial of the late Ronnie Mamoepa, and a fellow journalist.

Mamoepa was, until his untimely passing, the spokesperson for Bela-Bela’s most famous game farmer, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mamoepa and the late Thami Mkhwanazi spent time on Robben Island as a direct result of the State’s star witness – a man from right here in Limpopo – whose name is being deliberately withheld by your mischievous editor.

But I digress. The purpose of this week’s letter was to share with you the wide range of characters who drop in to say “hello” to The BEAT family.

Just last week a gentleman arrived here levelling all sorts of damning allegations against the police.

We conducted the necessary interview and took some pictures, and the man left.

But after a few minutes the gentleman returned, to say he had dropped a R50 note somewhere in our offices.

We were all stunned and tried to search around for the lost bank note.

The man then scratched his head in deep thought and oops! He remembered the money was tucked into one of his socks. Phew!

The latter was a story that ended well, with the rest of the newsroom breathing a collective sigh of relief.

But worse incidents have taken place at The BEAT offices.

The other day a gentleman, allegedly from the South African National Defence Force, arrived to tip us off about protest action in the vicinity of downtown Bela-Bela.

I remember vividly how I got Lizzy Bapela to detour from her way to the office, but instead take a turn at what I foolishly perceived to be breaking news.

But alas, Lizzy phoned from the scene to report there was no shred of proof of any protest action whatsoever.

She arrived about the same time as the source who tipped us off, who loudly insisted the “protest” was taking place as we spoke, even accusing us of siding with the employer.

Then there was the man who arrived to say he was an orphan who had nothing to his name.

Justin Steyn’s patience with the destitute man was unbelievable, at least for your mischievous editor.

Our advice was for the gentleman to present his plight to social welfare.

His answer was that he could not stand on his two legs as he was hungry, and that he could only leave if we provided him with something to eat.

Pray for us, oh good people, do say a solemn prayer for us.  

Write to the Editor at PO Box 16 Bela-Bela 0480

2 years ago       19 October 2017