A ‘rewarding’ and ‘learning’ experience

Verna van Diemen was a reporter and team leader on the Plainsman until 2017.

From as far back as I can remember, the Plainsman has been part of my life – growing up in Mitchell’s Plain, the news was delivered to our house every Wednesday.

Anyone who was anyone in Mitchell’s Plain was featured, so it was considered an honour if your face or name appeared on one of the pages.

In the same vein, I felt privileged to work for the title. A large part of who I am was formed during my stint at the Plainsman.

It is not a job for the faint of heart. But it has been a source of some of the funnest, funniest, most interesting, enlightening and rewarding work I’ve done.

I always felt I was part of something bigger. I was a “voice for the voiceless”, although I find that phrase disempowering. Even people who can’t speak have their own voices, and they have them whether or not they interact with reporters. And so, every time someone called the paper to share their story, I reminded myself to be thankful that people entrusted us with their stories.

I have great admiration for those who were brave enough to go on record when they needed to speak up.

I have worked in many communities as a reporter, but Mitchell’s Plain – and the Plainsman – remains my favourite. Forgive me for being biased.

I am ever grateful for the experience, for the amazing individuals I met and for being able to portray the “People of the Plain” as the complex, compelling individuals they are. Here’s to many more birthdays.