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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

From lock to SA prop in six months
2017-08-29

 Description: Kwenzo Bloze Tags: Kwenzo Blose, KovsieSport’s, Junior Sportsman of 2016, World Championship, Shimla 

One of the rugby players that Kwenzo Blose looks
up to, is the Cheetah prop Ox Nche. He and Nche
are both residents of the Vishuis men’s residence.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen


If someone told Kwenzo Blose of Glenwood High School that he would scrum as prop for the South African U/20 rugby team at the Junior World Championship, he would probably have thought it was a joke. At that time he still played lock, but only six months after the shift to prop, he represented his country at the tournament in Manchester, England.

Apart from this, KovsieSport’s Junior Sportsman of 2016 – who will probably be playing in his second World Championship this year, only became a Shimla in 2017. Last year he was still playing for the University of the Free State’s Young Guns.

Beast also played lock at first
André Tredoux, former UFS and Cheetah talent scout, said the Springbok prop Beast Mtawarira also played lock and flank at school. “Glenwood competed in the Wildeklawer Super Schools Tournament. Apparently coach André spotted me there and talked to Stephan Jacobs, another UFS coach. At that stage, I still played lock and they told each other that they had to get me to the Free State and convince me to play prop. I knew nothing of these plans,” said Blose.

According to this Paulpietersburg-native, who is 1,87 m tall and weighs 112 kg, he still has a lot to learn at prop. His greatest adjustments were in the scrums. “At prop you have to absorb the pressure of the rest of the pack in order to provide your team with front-foot ball,” he said. He said Jacobs, who was his Young Guns scrum coach, and Daan Human, the Cheetah scrum doctor, has helped him a lot.

An avid student off the field
Even though rugby has opened doors for the loose head who is studying LLB Law, he maintains a good balance. “The main reason why I came to university is to study. To be playing rugby and performing well is a great blessing, but I also have to prioritise and make sure that I obtain my degree.”

This year’s Junior World Championship was from 31 May to 18 June in Tbilisi, Georgia. Last year, the Baby Boks finished in a disappointing fourth place, but Blose believes they can improve on this. “If everything goes according to plan and if some of the guys are playing again, we would have something like nine players who played in the 2016 tournament.”

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