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Women’s Month: Merentia van der Vent

I am a news anchor and reporter. I write and compile news bulletins during my shift and when needed, we also compile sport bulletins. I do like a very good sport story, for instance a gold or any other medal win at the Olympic Games, World Cup, etc to lead a news bulletin. Those times, when a sport story leads the news, there is a certain “happiness” in the air, all round.

I have learnt many life lessons over the years. After hectic or tragic or sad periods in my life, I always sit down afterwards and ask, “What have I learnt from this?” One of the most important lessons was that life is very precious. If I should ever not be motivated, I always ask myself, remember that period in your life, that you learnt that lesson (take yourself back to that time) and suddenly, the motivation is back.

I don’t have a specific role model in life. I do though have a few people that I take certain characteristics from. Like Madiba, no-one can forgive  like he can. And many women around me, even in my friendship circle, normal moms, single or divorced. When I see the battles they face daily, and I see their drive and fight and never giving up, I take something from that, to my heart. I am empowered and sustained by it. Also my family, my mother, my sisters. They also provide inspiration to me.

 I have 2 sporting heroes. My late grandfather, CJ Julius. He would have been 106 this month. He was a member of the 1939 Springbok Rugby Team and his blazer is still in our family. His brother was also in that team. My modern hero is the moto gp rider, Valentino Rossi. What he has achieved is more than inspirational.


For many years, women’s sport has been on the back burner. And as a society we accepted this and never spoke up about it. Now is the time for women to say, no more. We need our female sporting heroes to visit schools and inspire the young leaders of tomorrow. We need companies to acknowledge their achievements. We need the public to embrace them as their own, as they do their male counterparts.


They can promote, empower, acknowledge women in all sectors in life. When they address a crowd of supporters, why no have your female counterpart also say a few words and encourage the crowd to also give her the same time and space.

One of my colleagues, Bobby Brown, many years ago, told me to L I S T E N. I was busy vehemently defending a point I was making, with youthful abundance and overeager passion. But it wasn’t until he shook me a little bit, looked me into eye, and told me to listen, that I actually grasped that I was sometimes defending or debating too much, without ever taking in or considering the other people’s comments/opinions. This is when I changed the way I listen to life.


 I believe that women should be able to do their sports and make a career out of it. If however, the financial backing is not their, try beforehand to get different forms of income, so you don’t have to worry about the bottom line. Sport keeps us sane, it keeps as happy. We should strive to do any sport for as long as we can.


 Life is hard and difficult, be ready for any eventuality. Deal with the sorry and pain, leave it in your past and move on. Live every day as if it is your last.


About 3 years ago I signed up to run the Two Oceans half marathon. Before then I had so to speak, never run in my life. I was always the girl who ended last in the race, after everyone had already come in and was having a drink already. I thought I couldn’t run. Many moons older now and I have learnt, even in my 40’s, I could learn to run and enjoy it. And maybe not at Olympic speeds, but fun was had by all. I just wish, I had learnt this particular lesson, when I was a teenager. That you can learn any skill, and master it, in your way, given time. When I had my Oceans I was on the grass, with the end in sight and 90seconds to reach the end before the gun went off. And I just didn’t have any breath left in my body to make it in time for a medal. But also proud I did finish the race. Next time, I need to finish it and get my medal.


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