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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

Course on sustainable development recognised at COP 17
2011-12-07

 

Some participants of the PED Nexus Programme during a field trip are from left: Jacques van Zuydam, Chief Director: Population and Development at the national  Department of Social Development; Prof. André Pelser, course coordinator (UFS); Prof. Sosten Chiotha, Director, LEAD Southern and Eastern Africa; and Dr Nola Redelinghuys, course facilitator (UFS).

The University of the Free State (UFS) received a nod of approval at the COP 17 Climate Change Conference in Durban for a short course it presents in partnership with the Chief Directorate Population and Development, United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), LEAD International and SANParks.

The UFS received an honourable mention in a press release from the Department of Social Development for the short course entitled ‘Leadership Training in Sustainable Development: The Population, Environment and Development (PED) Nexus’. The release was issued as part of COP17. It mentions that the course is recognised in a publication of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as one of ten innovative experiences and best practices in population and development in the developing world.
 
Prof. André Pelser, UFS Professor in Sociology, says the university played a key role in the development and implementation of the course. The UFS has been presenting the course since its inception in 2005.   Similar courses under the banner of the PED Nexus, although in a totally different format, are also presented at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the University of Cape Town. A total of 21 courses have been presented nationwide since 2005, of which the UFS has hosted eight. More than 230 participants from all over the world have been trained in these eight short nine-day courses.
 
The PED Nexus Programme focuses on the interrelationships of population, environment and development and its significance for sustainable human development and is closely linked to the implementation of the national Population Policy for South Africa. The press release reads that the programme is implemented in the form of short courses that target professionals and managers in governments at all levels as well as non-governmental agencies responsible for the implementation of programmes related to sustainable development.
 
Prof. Pelser and Dr Nola Redelinghuys, also from the Department of Sociology, have recently been tasked by the National Department of Social Development to upgrade the course outline.  The next course will run from 17-25 April 2012. As in the case of pervious courses, the first six days will be hosted on our main Campus in Bloemfontein, whereafter course participants and their facilitators depart to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park for the practical part of the course. 

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