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Ms Traci Mackie

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Ms Traci Mackie Awarded for:
Her outstanding contribution to the field of journalism and exposing the evils of apartheid. She exposed the covering-up of Steve Biko’s death and exposed those in the Security Branch who were involved.
Profile of Ms Traci Mackie

Ms Traci Mackie emigrated from Scotland to South Africa at the age of nine. She was born into a blue-collar, working-class family in a depressed industrial village close to Edinburgh, called Blackburn. The family decided to start a new life and moved to South Africa. After a short stay in Port Elizabeth, the family moved to King William’s Town. The funeral of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko, in her new hometown, was her first indication that all was not well. She witnessed the injustice that spurred her to become a journalist.

She attributes pivotal moments in her life to a chance meeting as a young journalist with former liberation struggle hero and government Minister, the late Mr Steve Tshwete and his wife Pam, who is now the Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation. The Tshwete family ignited in Mackie a political flame that led to her membership of the African National Congress, after she retired as a journalist in 1999.

Another highlight was being requested by the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Dr Nosimo Balindlela, in 2004 to walk with national icon and Rivonia trialist, Dr Raymond Mhlaba, in the final chapter of his life when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Her career highlights as a newspaper journalist included breaking the story internationally on Gideon Nieuwoudt’s involvement in Biko’s death. He had confessed to her telephonically.

Other headline highlights include reporting on the 1994 democratic elections, release of Struggle veterans and the assassination of Chris Hani, which resulted in her car being stoned by an angry mob outside New Brighton police station in Port Elizabeth.

Mackie worked alongside Oom Ray, as a communication and media advisor in the Eastern Cape Premier’s office. This exposed her to community work. She believes that her years as a journalist enabled her to assist in the establishment of a poverty-alleviation programme in Grahamstown, KwameMakana Homestays in the Eastern Cape.