The wedge that cracked the rock - a pioneering woman journalist
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This article explores some aspects of the pioneering nature of the career of journalist Rykie van Reenen, professed to be “undoubtedly the most outstanding Afrikaans journalist of the [twentieth] century” (Giliomee 2003:564). After her death she was described as the “wedge” that cracked open the “brute rock of male domination” from which a new generation of women could enter the profession (“Rykie van Reenen” 2003). The focus is on her contribution to South African journalism in terms of her pioneering work and on the unique personality that played no small part in her becoming a legend in South African Afrikaans media history. The premise of this article is that Van Reenen was a pioneer for women journalists in a language community and a country in which women were ignored for a long time as professional contributors to the profession of journalism. Van Reenen left a repertoire of an impressive journalistic legacy that not even her male peers could equal, as described in a previous article (Rabe 2006). This article, which is part of an ongoing exploration of her work, serves as an initial study of her contribution to establish women in South African newsrooms, especially Afrikaans newsrooms, as equals. To some extent, it also contributes to a more comprehensive South African media history, which, in general, lacks significant scholarly attention, especially in terms of the media historiographical legacy of women journalists and their contribution.