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30 November 2020 | Story Nonsidiso Qwabe | Photo Supplied

Acclaimed South African writer, author, and UFS research fellow Zubeida Jaffer was honoured with a lifetime achievement award for her career in journalism during the Standard Bank Sivukile Awards ceremony. 

Passion for journalism spans decades
During the award ceremony on 15 October 2020, Jaffer received the prestigious Allan Kirkland Soga Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognises a sustained and extraordinary contribution to journalism. Jaffer said she never chose journalism, but journalism chose her. She said when she first stepped into a newsroom looking for a holiday job in the 1970s, she did not know she had stepped into her future in news reporting. Since then, Jaffer has earned many accolades in the journalism industry as well as in academia. She also became an acclaimed author, and wrote her third book, Beauty of the Heart: The Life and Times of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke, during her time as a writer-in-residence at the UFS. While at the UFS, she founded the online media platform, The Journalist, a platform that provides history and context for key issues facing South African journalists. This portal also links students with academics across the country and will soon be extended to the African continent and the diaspora.

Jaffer said she felt blessed to be recognised among the many journalism pioneers in South Africa. 

“It’s extremely wonderful because it came so out of the blue. This year, with COVID-19, I was digging deep, and trying my best to keep focus. I’m very thankful. It’s made me pause, reflect, and realise that a lot of things I’ve done have been of value. When living your life, it’s not that you’re aware of that all the time. There are many people doing great things who don’t always get this kind of recognition,” Jaffer said.

Still a great need for journalists in South Africa 

Talking about journalism today, Jaffer said: “I am often overwhelmed to witness the enthusiasm and determination of young journalists across the country who come from humble backgrounds and inspire those around them. Our country is gripped in a bipolar condition. It is not clear how the healing will come, but it will. The challenge is to keep our minds in balance so that we can be strong enough to root out corruption and gender-based violence, while at the same time fully understanding our blessings as a people.”

UFS alumna Rising Star in Journalism 

In another accolade for the UFS, the Upcoming/Rising Star of the Year award went to former UFS Journalism student Brümilda Swartbooi for her article titled ‘Sy het hard vir ons gewerk’. The article highlighted the senseless killing of a woman outside her workplace, minutes after her husband dropped her off.

Brümilda Swartbooi. Photo: Supplied

News Archive

#Women’sMonth: A career in Sign Language interpreting proves to be full of rewards for Natasha Parkins-Maliko
2017-08-03

 Description: Natasha Parkins-Maliko new Tags: Natasha Parkins-Maliko new 

Natasha Parkins-Maliko. She
was recently awarded the Pansalb
Multilingual Award in the category:
Translation and Interpreting 2016/2017,
as recognition for her achievements
in a sixteen-year career.
Photo: Supplied

Natasha Parkins-Maliko is an alumna of the University of the Free State who graduated with a master’s in Linguistics. She is a well-rounded interpreter with a language combination of South African Sign Language-English-Afrikaans. She continued her studies and achieved an international master’s in Sign Language interpreting at the Humak University of Applied Sciences in Finland.  Natasha was recently presented with the Pansalb Multilingual Award in the category: Translation and Interpreting 2016/2017, as recognition for her achievements in a sixteen-year career.

“Winning the Pansalb Translation and Interpreting Award for 2016/2017, was for me as Kovsie a pat on the back in the true sense of the word.  The university is where I started my journey in South African Sign Language interpreting, and from then on, I never looked back,” she said.

Her interpreting career has provided many challenges, and was accompanied by great achievements along the way.

A career of fulfilment in Sign Language

“The foundation of my success was laid by my lecturers and mentors, such as Dr Philemon Akach and Emily Matabane, where I trained in the Department of South African Sign Language (SASL) at the university.”

“My determination and success is grounded in the motto, ‘Inspiring Excellence, Transforming Lives’ – a continued journey in excellence gives a renewed sense of pride for all language practitioners in South Africa,” she said.

Natasha went on to work in the deaf community for most of her career. She started as a grassroots interpreter, and is now a professional interpreter registered with SATI (South African Translators Institute). She is also a Sign Language television interpreter on SABC for content such as SABC 3 news bulletins, the budget speech, opening of Parliament, Youth Day broadcasts, January 8th statement broadcasts, MPC Reserve Bank speeches, and many more. Natasha is not only concerned with growing her career – despite her mover and shaker persona, she still takes time to volunteer her services for deaf people who do not have the financial ability to pay for interpreting.

“Winning the Pansalb Translation and
Interpreting Award for 2016/2017, was
for me as Kovsie a pat on the back in
the true sense of the word.”

The journey to excellence never stops
Over and above lecturing in Interpreting and Translation at Wits University, Natasha is still in pursuit of excellence. She is a PhD candidate in the SASL Interpreting programme at Wits University, the first of its kind in the country, and is pursuing an AIIC (International Association of Conference Interpreters) accreditation. Her aim is to put South African Sign Language interpretation on the global map.

As a role model and icon in her field, Natasha is the chairperson of the National Association of South African Sign Language Interpreters (NASASLI), the regional coordinator for the African Federation of Sign Language Interpreters (AFSLI), and the Africa regional representative on the board of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI).  The award presented to her is no doubt a fitting accolade and something all UFS alumni takes pride in.

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