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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 study shows playing time in Super Rugby matches decreasing
2016-12-19

Description: Super Rugby playing time Tags: Super Rugby playing time 

The study by Riaan Schoeman, (left), Prof Robert Schall,
and Prof Derik Coetzee from the University of the Free State
on variables in Super Rugby can provide coaches with
insight on how to approach the game.
Photo: Anja Aucamp

It is better for Super Rugby teams not to have the ball, which also leads to reduced overall playing time in matches.

This observation is from a study by the University of the Free State on the difference between winning and losing teams. Statistics between 2011 and 2015 show that Super Rugby winning teams kick more and their defence is better.

These statistics were applied by Riaan Schoeman, lecturer in Exercise and Sport Sciences, Prof Derik Coetzee, Head of Department: Exercise and Sport Sciences, and Prof Robert Schall, Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Sciences. The purpose of the study, Changes in match variables for winning and losing teams in Super Rugby from 2011 to 2015, was to observe changes. Data on 30 games (four from each team) per season, supplied by the Cheetahs via Verusco TryMaker Pro, were used.

About two minutes less action
“We found that the playing time has decreased. This is the time the ball is in play during 80 minutes,” says Schoeman. In 2011, the average playing time was 34.12 minutes and in 2015 it was 31.95.

“The winning team has less possession of the ball and doesn’t want it. They play more conservatively. They dominate with kicks and then they play,” says Prof Coetzee, who was the conditioning coach for the Springboks in 2007 when they won the World Cup.

Lineouts also more about kicking
As a result, the number of line-outs also increased (from 0.31 per minute in 2011 to 0.34 in 2015) and the winning teams are better in this regard.

“The winning team has less possession of the ball
and doesn’t want it. They play a more conservative
game. They dominate with kicks and then they play.”

Schoeman believes that rule changes could also have contributed to reduced playing time, since something like scrum work nowadays causes more problems. “When a scrum falls, the time thereafter is not playing time.”

According to Prof Coetzee, rucks and mauls have also increased, (rucks from 2.08 per minute in 2011 to 2.16 in 2015 and mauls from 0.07 per minute in 2011 to 0.10 in 2015). “The teams that win, dominate these areas,” he says.

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