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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

Palestinian delegation visit marks new bilateral relations
2015-11-27



Prof Jonathan Jansen and His Excellency Mr Hashem Dajani
Photo: Charl Devenish

The Office of International Affairs hosted the official visit of the Ambassador of Palestine, His Excellency Mr Hashem Dajani, to the University of the Free State (UFS) on 16-17 November 2015. Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, welcomed the Ambassador and the Palestinian delegation to the Bloemfontein Campus. During the visit, they met with senior management of the university, including Dr Karen Lazenby (Registrar: Systems and Administration), Beata Mtyingizana (Director of International Affairs) and JC Van der Merwe (Deputy Director at the Institute of Reconciliation and Social Justice).

The visit marked the finalisation of a scholarship initiative which offers placement of Palestinian students to study at the UFS. The new Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarship programme will recognise academic excellence and merit in undergraduate, postgraduate, as well as doctoral academic disciplines.

One of the strategic objectives of the UFS is that of internationalisation, which is strengthened by the scholarship programme. With the focus on Palestine, the university’s international footprint in non-traditional regions of the world, such as the Middle East, will therefore be highlighted.

To conclude the visit, the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice hosted a film screening featuring ‘Jerusalem, the east side story’. The documentary mainly looks at the past forty years of Israeli military occupation policies in Jerusalem and the subsequent impact on the city and its people.

“Peace in Palestine is key to world peace,” Ambassador Dajani said. “The issue of self-determination is central to the Palestinian effort, and, through the assistance of the international community, it can it be realised.”

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