07 December 2020 | Story Dr Cindé Greyling | Photo Sonia Small
From the left; Lelanie de Wet; Andre Damons; Ilze Bakkes and Barend Nagel.

The University of the Free State Department of Communication and Marketing (DCM), together with Student Recruitment Services (SRS), have managed to bring home four awards during the annual IABC Africa Silver Quill Awards programme. The Quill Awards programme salutes and recognises business communication excellence across the continent. It is the second time this year that DCM has received recognition from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). Earlier this year, Barend Nagel: Audio-visual Specialist, won a 2020 IABC Gold Quill Award of Merit for his Gender-based Violence awareness campaign photographs.

Furthermore, André Damons, who was recently appointed as Senior Media Relations Officer at the UFS DCM, won two 2020 Vodacom Journalist of the Year regional awards for the Free State, Northern Cape, North-West and Limpopo region in the features and sports category for work done while he was still a Network24 journalist in Bloemfontein. 

During a time like this

Effective communication is always important, but even more so during times of uncertainty and change. 2020 has created numerous challenges for any communications team, but also several opportunities. In true Kovsie spirit, the UFS managed to not only survive, but also to thrive. Lelanie de Wet from the DCM won two Awards of Excellence. One for the Kovsies Multilingual Mokete in the communication management category for diversity and inclusion, and one for the UFS Virtual Graduation in the special and experiential events skills category. The judges praised her entries for its exceptional quality and standard: “Brilliant. Congratulations on a significant accomplishment.” 

Doing the same, differently

Barend Nagel from the DCM and Ilze Bakkes from Student Recruitment Services both entered the UFS Virtual Open Day (VOD). Barend received an Award of Merit for his website-related work for the VOD in the skills category. Besides being commended for his innovative and resourceful approach, Barend impressed the judges with “superior production values and strong images”. Ilze Bakkes from the UFS SRS entered the VOD as a campaign to showcase the work her team has done to conceptualise and facilitate this first-of-its-kind open day. The entry received an Award of Merit for its detailed target audience insight and short production timescale, among others. The judges were also impressed by the innovative approach and effective use of internal and external resources. “It is our first Silver Quill,” Ilze beamed, “we are over the moon!”

A step ahead

The competition during this year’s Silver Quill Awards were tough, seeing that all communication teams had to reinvent and rethink the best way to reach their stakeholders with limited communication channels. “It is a huge honour to again be recognised by the IABC for our projects and campaigns. I am very proud of my colleagues, who not only worked right through all the national lockdown levels to keep everyone informed, but also managed to maintain and exceed their level of operation,” said Lacea Loader, Director: Communication and Marketing at the UFS.   

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