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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

Library opens new horizons for Bloemfontein-Oos School
2012-11-27

Storyteller Gcina Mhlophe is hugging a learner at the Bloemfontein-Oos Intermediary School.
Photo: Kaleidoscope Photography
27 November 2012

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” Dr Seuss says that in his book I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!

It is hoped that this will also be the experience of learners at the Bloemfontein-Oos Intermediary School where a library has been stocked and unveiled with our assistance. Bloemfontein-Oos is one of the schools that the UFS renovated in partnership with the Free State Department of Education.

The learners also had the rare opportunity to listen to a doyenne of South African storytellers Gcina Mhlophe. She is one of the best storytellers, writers, publishers, directors and international poet.

Tessa Ndlovo, coordinator of the UFS Schools Partnership Programme, said she thought it was important for the school to have a library in order to cultivate a culture of reading. She asked publishers and libraries to send books and in the process, more than 2 000 books were donated by the UFS-Sasol Library, staff and students. New books were sent by publishing houses.

The office of Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, sponsored the renovation of the library by donating shelves.

Bloemfontein-Oos became the first school in the UFS’s Extreme Makeover intervention. Attention has been given to fencing, electrification, renovation and the bathrooms. Three truckloads of furniture were donated and more will follow in future. The Calculator Project (Project of Peace) was introduced to the school by students from the United States of America.

The library is part of the Culture of Reading Project.

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