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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

Amphitheatre to energise student life on the Qwaqwa Campus
2015-06-11

The Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State is one of the fastest-growing rural campuses.

Since 2010, the campus has, among other things, built two new student residences, which provide accommodation for an additional 500 students. The old disused boiler room, which was used as a storeroom, has been converted into much-needed ablution and dressing room facilities at the sports fields.  The Faculty of Education now boasts a Technology, Engineering Graphics and Design Education laboratory. The project was funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

One of the student priorities is a common space in the form of an open amphitheatre in front of the library.

‘’The amphitheatre is a highly-welcomed structure on our campus as it will provide students with an informal environment to study, socialise and meet,’’ said the Campus Principal, Prof Prakash Naidoo.

‘‘We have erected this on an existing space that was already used for outdoor launches and events on the campus, and is in line with our thinking of energising student life on campus. In addition, we have complemented this with the use of solar energy, so that students can just plug in and charge their phones and laptops while they are in the amphitheatre.”

Excited students, Chibi Mosia and Tshilidzi Matshavha, in final-year Chemistry and Chemistry Honours respectively, concurred that the amphitheatre is a good project for the campus.

‘‘It is an important and distinctive feature for the campus as it adds to the growth of our beautiful campus,’’ said Mosia.

‘’It will also enhance the use of alternative energy sources to reduce the campus's carbon footprint,’’ added Matshavha.

The project is worth almost R2,5 m, and took 12 months to complete. The Department of Higher Education and Training also provided the funds for this project.

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