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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

OSM Camerata first place winner in international competition
2017-09-08

Description: Camerata Tags: OSM Camerata, Ictus International Music Competition, Marius Coetzee, Odeion School of Music 

The OSM Camerata with conductors, Xavier Cloete and
Gerhard de Jager received first place in the
University/Conservatory Orchestra category.
Photo: Supplied



The OSM Camerata received first place in the 2017 Ictus International Music Competition for bands and orchestras. Marius Coetzee from the Odeion School of Music at the University of the Free State said: “The award was announced in time for the celebration of the orchestra’s fifth birthday.”

OSM a catalyst for excellence
The OSMC was strategically founded in 2012 by Coetzee as the OSM’s flagship chamber ensemble, with the main objective of creating a catalyst for excellence.

Over the past five years, the OSMC has premiered 15 new works by South African composers specially commissioned for them. Highlights remain its participation in the 13th International Conservatory Festival in St Petersburg Russia, where the ensemble received a standing ovation during a gala concert in the Glazunov Concert Hall, as well as the world première of the Cello Concerto for an African Cellist by South African composer, Hans Huyssen, with South African cellist, Heleen du Plessis as soloist. The CD was released in 2014 on the New Zealand Classical Music label, Ode Records in Auckland, New Zealand and was one of five CDs nominated for the Listeners' Choice Award New York in March 2014.

Competition draws participation from Washington to Bloemfontein

The inaugural year of this annual competition drew applicants from Washington State in the US all the way to Bloemfontein in the Free State. Video submissions were judged and narrowed down to a final round from which prize winners were selected.

The OSM Camerata with conductors, Xavier Cloete and Gerhard De Jager, received first place in the University/Conservatory Orchestra category. 

The competition was founded to highlight the work that music educators, conductors, students, performers and community members make in ensembles at the university, community, youth, high school and middle school levels. 

Competition director, Alex Serio says that “many people do not realise the amount of work that it takes to make these ensembles run. What is more is that most of the public does not realise the level of artistic excellence that can be achieved in these ensembles. Ictus International Music Competition was founded to highlight this level

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