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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

Medical team performs first hybrid procedure in the Free State
2014-12-08

The days when a heart operation meant hours in an operating theatre, with weeks and even months of convalescing, will soon be something of the past.

A team of cardiologists from the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Faculty of Health Sciences once again made medical history when they performed the first hybrid procedure in the Free State.

The Department of Paediatric Cardiology, in conjunction with the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, performed this very successful procedure on a 45-year-old woman from Kuruman.

During the procedure of 30 minutes, the patient’s thorax was opened up through a mini thoracotomy to operate on the beating heart.

“The patient received an artificial valve in 2011. Due to infection, a giant aneurism developed from the left ventricle, next to the aorta. Surgery would pose a very high risk to the patient. Furthermore, her health was such that it would contribute to problems during open-heart surgery,” explains Prof Stephen Brown, Head of the UFS’s Department of Paediatric Cardiology.

“After the heart was opened up through a mini thoracotomy, the paediatric cardiologists performed a direct puncture with a needle to the left ventricle cavity. A Special sheath was then placed in the left ventricle to bypass the catheters. Aided by highly advanced three-dimensional echocardiography and dihedral X-ray guidance, the opening to the aneurism, located directly below the artificial aorta valve, was identified and the aneurism cannulated.”
 
During the operation, a special coil, called a Nester Retractor, was used for the first time on a patient in South Africa to obtain stasis of extravasation and ensure the stability of devices in the aneurism.

“This is highly advanced and specialist work, as we had to make sure that the aneurism doesn’t rupture during manipulation and the devices had to be positioned in such a way that it doesn’t cause obstruction in valve function or the coronary artery. The surgical team was ready all the time to switch the patient to the heart-lung machine should something go wrong, but the procedure was very successful and the patient was discharged after a few days.”

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