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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

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Prof Beatri Kruger conducts research on modern-day slavery
2014-12-12

 

Representatives of the US Embassy in South Africa and other stakeholders gathered in Bloemfontein in November 2014.
From the left are: San Reddy and Chad Wessen from the US Embassy, Prof Beatri Kruger, and Palesa Mafisa, Chairperson of the Kovsie National Freedom Network.

Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar ‘business’ with daunting challenges because of the uniqueness and complexities involved in the crime, says Prof Beatri Kruger, ex-prosecutor and lecturer in Criminal Law in the Faculty of Law.

Prof Kruger’s on-going research concentrates on whether South Africa’s legal efforts to combat human trafficking complies with international standards set out in the United Nations Trafficking Protocol of 2000 and other relevant international treaties.

Since the completion of her studies, the Prevention and Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2013 was passed in Parliament, but needs to be promulgated. This means South Africa is still a long way from complying with the UN protocol. A delegation of the US Embassy in South Africa recently visited the Faculty of Law on the Bloemfontein Campus. The purpose of their visit was to gain information for the US Department of State’s comprehensive 2015 report on trafficking in persons.

Prof Kruger’s current research focuses on the new legislation in collaboration with other national and international stakeholders. One of the focus areas is how traffickers control their victims. This research enhances the understanding of why victims often do not seek help, do not want to be ‘rescued’ and why they return to the very traffickers who have brutally exploited them.

The recently released Global Slavery Index 2014 estimates that 36 million people are living as slaves worldwide and that 106 000 of them are in South Africa. This report states that ‘modern slavery’ includes human trafficking, forced labour, forced marriage, debt bondage and the sale of children. The International Labour Organization estimates the illicit profits of forced labour to be US $150 billion a year.

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