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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

UFS community proud of Wayde’s hat trick of awards
2015-11-24

 

The Kovsie athlete Wayde van Niekerk received a hat trick of awards at the SA Sports Awards on Sunday 22 November 2015. He was named Sports Star of the Year, Sportsman of the Year, and was crowned as winner in the People’s Choice category.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Wayde changed the game – Naidoo

For a long time, AB de Villiers and Chad le Clos have dominated fan support in South Africa, but Wayde van Niekerk changed the game.

This was what Kass Naidoo, well-known sports journalist and cricket commentator, tweeted after the Kovsie athlete, Wayde van Niekerk, made a clean sweep at the tenth SA Sports Awards in his home town, Bloemfontein, on Sunday 22 November 2015.

According to Naidoo, the golden boy from the University of the Free State (UFS) is now the hottest property in South Africa, and should be watched during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Hat trick for Kovsie athlete
Naidoo was one of several celebrities to congratulate Van Niekerk on Twitter after Wayde received a hat trick of awards in the Sand du Plessis Theatre. The 400 m athlete was named Sports Star of the Year, Sportsman of the Year, and was crowned as winner in the People’s Choice category.

Apart from this, a humble Van Niekerk received total prize money of R1,1 million and two luxury Mercedes Benz vehicles - one for Sports Star of the Year and one as People’s Choice winner.

Big names outperformed
What makes his awards even more remarkable is the fact that he has outperformed several big names.
In addition to De Villiers and Le Clos, the tennis player, Kevin Anderson, the swimmer, Cameron van der Burgh, and the athlete, Caroline Wöstmann, were all nominated for Sports Star of the Year.

For the People’s Choice Award, Van Niekerk beat De Villiers, the cyclist, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, (who was crowned Sportswoman of the Year), Le Clos, and the wheelchair tennis player, Lucas Sithole. The public voted for this award.

Le Clos was nominated with the mountain biker, Greg Minnaar, for Sportsman of the Year.

Best is yet to come
“I don't think we have seen the best of Wayde. Hopefully that will come in Rio next year, along with a gold medal,” Naidoo tweeted.

The Springbok winger, JP Pietersen, also congratulated Van Niekerk on the social network, saying that he deserved his award as Sportsman of the Year.

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