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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

But do you forgive yourself, Eugene de Kock? asks Candice Mama
2015-03-16

From the left are: Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Candice Mama and Prof André Keet, Director of the UFS Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice.
Photo: O'Ryan Heideman

 

Candice Mama: Audio

Candice Mama and her family met with her father’s assassin. Eugene de Kock. Prime Evil. Commander of the apartheid government’s covert Vlakplaas police unit. And what followed from this meeting was one of our country’s most poignant gestures of reconciliation. One by one, each family member expressed their forgiveness of De Kock, and soon afterwards, he was granted parole.

Candice recently visited the Bloemfontein Campus to talk about ‘An Unexpected Encounter with Eugene de Kock: A Journey of Transformation’. The event was a collaborative effort between the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice and Trauma, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation Studies.

“What makes it possible to cross the boundary from loss and pain to bond with the person who hurt you?” Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, asked Candice. “I had to educate myself about the when, where, and how, to get a context for Eugene de Kock,” she answered. With the encouragement of her mother, Candice became an avid reader from an early age. She devoured information, so that she could build a picture of this man within a specific historical and political context. What also contributed to this moment of reconciliation for her was De Kock humbling himself and taking full responsibility for his actions.

This meeting was not without inner conflict for Candice, though. “Why am I crying for hím?” she asked herself as she listened to him speak. “Why am I laughing?” she chastised herself as De Kock preened shyly for a group photograph with the family. “Is there something wrong with me to connect with him?” She questioned her values and beliefs. But instead of a monster, Candice saw the true essence of a repentant human being.

But how do you know he didn’t fake it, many people asked. Because it was “one of the most sincere and honest encounters I’ve experienced,” she said. During their meeting, Candice saw a man “crushed by the world”. Everything he believed as a young man, he realised, was a lie.

“Do you forgive yourself?” Candice asked the one question De Kock feared most. And in that moment, he was humanised for her. “When you’ve done the things I’ve done,” De Kock replied, “how do you forgive yourself?”
It remains an open question. But this act of forgiveness gives an entire country hope.

 

For more information or enquiries contact news@ufs.ac.za.

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