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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

"Studies indicate disability, poverty and inaccessibility to healthcare are intricately linked " - expert opinion by Dr Magteld Smith
2014-12-03

Dr Magteld Smith

Programmes worldwide attempt to improve the lives of people with disabilities, but recent studies indicated that disability and poverty, as well as disability and the inaccessibility of health care, continues to go hand in hand.

In South Africa, and even in developed countries, research shows that people with disabilities achieve lower levels of education with higher unemployment rates, live in extreme poverty and have low living standards.

“To have a disability can therefore become a huge financial burden on either the disabled person, the family or caregivers,” says Dr Magteld Smith from the Department of Otorhinolaryngology.

She devotes her research to the medical-social model of the global organisation, the International Classification of Functioning, Disabilities and Health, focusing on all areas of deafness.

Furthermore, Dr Smith says it is more difficult or more expensive for people with disabilities to obtain insurance, because of the risks associated with disability.

Dr Smith also emphasises the inaccessibility and even unavailability of medical services or health care for people with disabilities.

“Services such as psychiatry or social services are often not accessible. When such services are available, it is not affordable for most people with disabilities.”

Dr Smith uses the example of a person who was born deaf:

“Doctors have limited knowledge of the different types of hearing impairments or how to read and interpret an audiogram. Very little understanding also exists for the impact of deafness on the person’s daily life.”

Dr Smith, who is deaf herself, describes the emotional state of mind of people with disabilities as a daily process of adjustment and self-evaluation.

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