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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

Young researchers shine during Afromontane Colloquium
2016-12-01

Description: Afromontane Colloquium  Tags: Afromontane Colloquium  

From the left are Drs Reetu Sogani (India),
Greg Greenwood (US-Switzerland), Teboho Manchu
(Acting Campus Principal), Drs Jianchu Xu (China),
Henri Rueff (Switzerland), Glen Taylor (Senior Director:
Research Development), and Elsa Crause
(Campus Vice-Principal: Academic and Research).

The University of the Free State’s Afromontane Research Unit (ARU), which is situated on the Qwaqwa Campus, has the potential to produce some of the world’s best and dynamic young researchers. This is the view of Dr Henri Rueff, who was one of the keynote speakers during the recent ARU Colloquium hosted at Golden Gate in the Eastern Free State.

Dr Rueff, a geographer and environmental economist from the Universities of Basel and Bern in Switzerland, was referring to no less than ten Qwaqwa Campus postgraduate students who made oral and poster presentations during the inaugural international colloquium.

“You have some of the world’s most motivated and highly skilled students who have the courage to stand in front of extremely critical scientists from all over the globe – and that must be commended,” he said.

Also talking about the students at the colloquium, was Dr Reetu Sogani from India, who said that her first trip to South Africa did not disappoint. “This colloquium was a very good learning experience for me as I had the opportunity to interact with brilliant and young scientists from this part of the world,” she added. In closing the colloquium, the Senior Director: Research Development, Dr Glen Taylor, committed the UFS to the success of the unit.

“The ARU will strengthen the research output of the campus. But most critically, it is setting the research agenda for the Qwaqwa Campus, and for the institution at large, to address the challenges that the surrounding mountain communities are faced with,” he said.

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