Journalist retires after four decades of service
After four decades of headlines and deadlines, a senior journalist in the Department of Information Services, Kebaeditse Baitlotli is retiring at the age of 60.
Baitlotli’s departure will mark the end of a colourful career that began from the very bottom of the ladder in 1981 in Molepolole.
The determined form three school drop out who joined the government media as a cleaner went on to embark on a journey to further her education and graduate from Kweneng Rural Development Association (KRDA) with a form five certificate in 2002.
“While working as a cleaner I developed a keen interest in the media so when I was transferred to Lobatse in 1985, I was promoted to Messenger cum Reporter together with Dinah Nfulwane and Kitso Samson. This is the position that opened doors for me as my Form 5 Certificate now qualified me to be a full time Reporter,” said Baitlotli, cracking a smile.
In 2008 lady luck smiled on her and she was awarded a scholarship to pursue her studies at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University where she graduated in 2011 with a Degree in Media Communications & Culture, together with some notable names in the industry like Peter Batsalelwang, Lesego Mhutsiwa and Dorcus Nkwe.
Although for the most part she was a general reporter, Baitlotli distinguished herself on the court and crime beat bringing us both on radio and on print stories of notorious criminals in robbery cases and stock theft.
“I really love my job, even when I encountered some challenges as sometimes the accused persons harassed and insulted us, I always remained calm and determined to do my job. You were always there Gofaone you know it, even the times the police had to protect us when the mob attacked us in one murder case.”
One of the stories that will forever be etched in Baitlotli’s mind is the 2019 Molepolole triple murder case in which Tebogo Ramantosha killed his parents and his younger brother.
Ramantosha has been referred to the high court for his trial date to be set.
Reminiscing about a brief moment of doubt when she considered a career change but couldn’t go through it, Baitlotli said, “I recall the one time I went for an interview to join the police service but after passing the interview I just couldn’t quit my job.”
Part of what gives her a feeling of career fulfillment is the fact that she mentored many younger journalists and imparted skills.
“To the young ones I would say; avoid pride, be humble and don’t treat yourself like celebrities don’t be small gods ‘o kokoroga’. You should know how to handle your sources and always interact with people of different professions, penetrate the industry and expose hidden things. Don’t compare the amount of work with money, don’t wait to be pushed to do your work, do it with passion and motivation. And to court reporters specifically I would encourage them to be friendly and respectful even when the accused persons are hateful. Don’t judge them, but rather treat them as people not rude animals and lastly but not least, be fair and balanced in your stories,”
Baitlotli never left readers with questions as she enjoyed following every court case she covered from the beginning to the end.
Speaking at veteran journalist ’s farewell party over the weekend, Minister of State President, Kabo Morwaeng appreciated Ausi Keba, as Baitlotli was fondly known by her colleagues, for her long service, professionalism and dedication to her work.
The minister encouraged public servants to emulate Baitlotli’s character and treat public service as a calling.
Her colleagues, politicians, friends and children appreciated the love and support they got from Baitlotli as a role model, and disciplined woman.
Retirement will allow the mother of three to write a new chapter of her life as a full time small stock farmer.
“I am ready to try my hand at full time small stock farming, Iam already piggery and rearing Tswana chickens, I just have to scale it up now that I have more time on my hands,” she said