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Vodacom celebrates eastern region winners of the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards

Monday, 3 October 2011

This morning the winners of the eastern region for the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were awarded their prizes, and applauded by the judges at a champagne breakfast event at the Protea Hotel Marine in Port Elizabeth.  

After an entry period that lasted a month, and a rigorous judging process involving 13 judges, Vodacom is thrilled to announce the regional winners of the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards.

The eastern region entries covered an array of topics with central themes on service delivery, unemployment and healthcare. One of the strongest themes to arise out of the region was the state of education.

Overall, the judges were very impressed with the quality of the work submitted by the regions. The winning journalists put intelligent thought into their stories and spent time researching and thoroughly analysing their work.

Convenor of the judges for the Awards, Advocate Robin Sewlal commented, "The competition provides a wonderful opportunity for journalists to be duly recognised for their commitment to quality journalism. In this, the 10th year of the contest, we've received an incredible number of entries where the work displays tremendous dynamism and depth. The robust debates during the adjudication process ensured that only top-of-the-drawer entries were rewarded. On the behalf of the panel of judges, I thank those who entered and offer heartiest congratulations to the winners in each of the categories. You've done yourself and the country proud."

The citations and winners of the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards in the eastern region are:

2011 Columnist winner
Piet Naude, Avusa, The  Herald, Meetings are a waste of time.

One of the reasons frequently cited for South Africa's low productivity, amongst others, is that too much time is absorbed in meetings. The true state of productivity or lack thereof is examined in an article that seeks to establish the ‘goings-on' of and the essence of meetings. In an article, ‘Meetings are a waste of time', the writer, in a light-hearted fashion, and with a tongue-in-cheek approach, gives the reader a stand-out characteristic of those that attend meetings, their behaviour and how they see themselves in their newly acquired vocations.

The winner is Piet Naude of the Eastern Province Herald for his ‘Meetings are a waste of Time' piece.

2011 Community Media winner
Lynn Erasmus, Your Money Publishing, Your Money, Entrepreneur of the month.

With this category, Vodacom has set out to reward excellent journalism at emerging and established independent community media institutions. For the consistent and diverse financial and business reporting in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Grahamstown, East London, and Jeffrey's Bay, the Award goes to Lynn Erasmus of Your Money Publishing, Your Money for her piece ‘Entrepreneur of the month'.

2011 Consumer Journalism winner
Gillian McAinsh, Avusa, The Herald, Fair & Square: ‘Squeaky couches dilemma'.

The winner in this category gives new meaning to being ‘the voice of the voiceless'. In her weekly column launched only a week before the Consumer Protection Act came into effect, she fights on behalf of the consumer. In cases where the consumer is mistreated or ripped off, she manages to get an explanation or a settlement. For her series of articles, which address all sorts of consumer problems, our winner is Gillian McAinsh from The Herald.

2011 Financial/Economic winner
Lee-Anne Butler, Avusa, The Herald, More support needed for IDZ's.

Of all the provinces in the country, the Eastern Cape is arguably the most affected by the state of unemployment. It is the 3rd largest populated province after KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, and yet it has not received the kind of industrial support that its two luminary counterparts have mustered, which means that any attempts at boosting the local economy must vigorously be encouraged and promoted.

There are already two Industrial Development Zones (IDZs) in the region, but these have not received the kind of support that would normally be expected in an area that requires turning the situation around, and more can be done to revitalise economic activity in this region. 

The winner is therefore Lee-Anne Butler of The Herald for her piece dissecting the imperatives of the region, and calling for more support for the local IDZs.      

2011 Online journalism winners
Brian Hayward, Avusa, The Herald, Nelson Mandela Bay's crumbling state healthcare.
Eugene Coetzee, Avusa, The Herald, Nelson Mandela Bay's crumbling state healthcare.
Estelle Ellis, Avusa, The Herald, Nelson Mandela Bay's crumbling state healthcare.
Khanyi Ndabeni, Avusa, The Herald, Nelson Mandela Bay's crumbling state healthcare.

This entry demonstrated the importance of the relentless pursuit of a story and giving it coverage from as many perspectives as possible. In addition to the use of basic tenets of good journalism, came the good use of the online medium as well as excellent integration and linking of stories.

The winners are Brian Hayward, Eugene Coetzee, Estelle Ellis and Khanyi Ndabeni of The Herald for the entry ‘Nelson Mandela Bay's crumbling state healthcare'.

2011 Photography winner
Mlondolozi Mbolo, Avusa, Daily Dispatch, Xhosa Rite Of Passage - Intonjan.

Culture is a story of a people. If photographs brilliantly capture this aspect, this job is commendable. 

The winner in this category is Mlondolozi Mbolo of Avusa, Daily Dispatch for his body of work in ‘Xhosa Rite Of Passage - Intonjan'.

2011 Print: Feature winners
Michael Kimberly, Avusa, Daily Dispatch, I am Eastern Cape.
Sabelo Skiti, Avusa, Daily Dispatch, I am Eastern Cape.
Mayibongwe Maqhina, Avusa, Daily Dispatch, I am Eastern Cape.

These journalists' persistent and engaging series on local government and living conditions in the Eastern Cape catalogues an unedifying picture of avarice that has adversely impacted on service delivery.

The winners are Michael Kimberly, Sabelo Skiti and Mayibongwe Maqhina of Avusa, Daily Dispatch for their entry ‘I am Eastern Cape'.

2011 Print: General News winner
Bongani Fezile, Avusa, Daily Dispatch, Bhungeni informal settlement forced removals.

This journalist reported on the traumatic bulldozing of some 300 homes at the Bhungeni informal settlement outside Butterworth to make way for a shopping mall. He gave all the facts and followed the story for days afterwards, but also gave the drama a human face by highlighting the plight of some of the victims who are condemned to the most dehumanizing living conditions.

The winner is Bongani Fezile of Avusa, Daily Dispatch for his piece ‘Bhungeni informal settlement forced removals'.

2011 Radio: Feature winner
Unathi Binqose, SABC, SAFM, Imfundo.

The winning entry shows the impact lost learning has on a community. The story was an honest account of the plight of learners and parents at a primary school in the Motherwell township where teaching came to a complete standstill for over month. The squalor and lack of proper facilities, including running water and clean toilets, was powerfully captured. The outrage was cleverly portrayed. The call to action from the education authorities was immediate.

This winner is Unathi Binqose of SABC, SAFM for ‘Imfundo'.

2011 Radio: General News winner
Nkululeko Nyembezi, SABC Radio News, Rape.

The plight of learners in the rural areas of Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape who travel long distances to and from school, and who are often raped and mugged, grabbed the attention of the authorities. The piece provided insight into the tragedy and the harsh life experiences of the learners. The story got the attention of the education authorities who responded immediately by introducing a transport service that is safe to ensure that the learners can go to school and return home unharmed.

The winner is Nkululeko Nyembezi of SABC Radio News for his entry, ‘Rape'.

2011 Sport winner
Alvin Reeves, Avusa, The Herald, Lack of cricket facilities in PE townships.

Life without sport cannot be regarded as a balanced one. Sport is not just about having fun but also brings out the competitive streak in individuals. To be a worthy competitor means that training and coaching must be accompanied by the necessary infrastructure. The journalist displays a fair amount of tenacity and thereby exposes the desperation of schools in the townships for the necessary facilities. His visits close on two dozen schools, and gets a firsthand account of the poor conditions. Aptly put, "Bowlers can hone their trade on half decent surfaces but batsmen can't".

For his special feature titled ‘Lack of cricket facilities in PE townships', the winner in the Sport category is The Herald's, Alvin Reeves.

2011 Television: Feature winners
Nontsikelelo Nohiya, SABC, Cutting Edge, Long walk to education.
Keith Sayster, SABC, Fokus, Mud Schools.
Malusi Ntanzi, SABC, Fokus, Mud Schools.

The judges decided to award top honours to two entries on the same subject. Although we know the problems of education, these reports bring home the tragedy of youngsters who will never be able to compete, having spent their school days in derelict, often roofless rural schools. The teachers interviewed are committed and energetic, but they are helpless to transform the conditions.

The winners are Nontsikelelo Nohiya of SABC, Cutting Edge for ‘Long walk to education' and Keith Sayster and Malusi Ntanzi of SABC, Fokus for their piece ‘Mud Schools'.

2011 Television: General News winner
Nonkumbulo Sithole, eTV, eNews Channel, Circumcision.
Neil Raath, eTV, eNews Channel, Circumcision.

This piece highlights the on-going clash of traditionalism and modernity. The story focused on the high death rate and mutilation caused by circumcision, which led to the practice having to be suspended this year because the hospitals could not cope. The filming of a very private ritual was not only sensitive, but visually beautiful. A well-constructed, unsensational report on a difficult subject.

The winner is Nonkumbulo Sithole and Neil Raath of eTV, eNews Channel for their piece ‘Circumcision'.

2011 Editors Choice winner
The winner of the Editors Choice Award for the eastern region is Yolande Stander, Avusa.

2011 Cartoonist winner
Cuan Miles, Avusa, Daily Dispatch, Causing a stink.

News values well caricatured images that bring humour to the reader about the serious issues of the day to day events of 2010.

The winner is Cuan Miles, Avusa, Daily Dispatch for his entry ‘Causing a stink'.

The judges for the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards included, Advocate Robin Sewlal (Convenor), Maud Motanyane (Co-convenor), Ruda Landman, Professor Johann de Wet, Mary Papayya, Victor Matom, Dr Melanie Chait, Arthur (ZB) Molefe, Colin Nxumalo, Leonard Maseko, Tim Modise, Arthur Goldstuck and Max du Preez.

The regional winners were each awarded with R7500 and also stand a chance of being crowned the national winner of the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards at the national awards ceremony to be held on 4 November 2011 in Johannesburg.

The overall 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards national winner will walk away with R125 000 in prize money, as well as being given the opportunity to donate an additional R125 000 to an official charity of his or her choosing.


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