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Vodacom Journalist of the Year announces the 2023 regional winners for Eastern Cape

Monday, 13 November 2023

South Africa’s public allies and warriors for reporting the truth have been unveiled, as the regional finalists in the Vodacom Journalist of the Year competition are revealed for 2023.

More than 1300 entries were received nationally in 2023 across 12 categories. In support of developing journalism in South Africa, Vodacom funds the winner of the Young Journalist award on an all-expenses paid course in an effort to assist in upskilling young talent. Regional category winners receive R5 000, national category winners, R10 000, and the overall Vodacom Journalist of the Year winner an impressive R100 000.

The 2023 theme for the awards is Authentic Information and Hybrid Content, at a time when journalists are challenged to rise above generative artificial intelligence (AI), and to push factual information.

“As journalists are employed to inform the public, it is crucial that the information they are sharing is truthful and authentic,” said Takalani Netshitenzhe, Vodacom South Africa’s Director of External Affairs. “The misuse of news reporting can lead to mistrust by the public. Vodacom is proud to play a role in encouraging journalists to bring important issues to light, in a manner that is factual and original. Congratulations to all of our regional finalists for their efforts.”

The 2023 VJOY judging panel was convened by Mapi Mhlangu, with Neo Ntsoma joining the panel to assist with the photography category. Vodacom extended its thanks to stalwart judges Jermaine Craig, Ryland Fisher, Arthur Goldstuck, Patricia McCracken, Professor Gilbert Motsaathebe, Collin Nxumalo, Jovial Rantao, Elna Rossouw, Advocate Robin Sewlal and Obed Zilwa.

The Eastern Cape brought attention to the daily struggles experienced by rural and urban communities, ranging from unscrupulous lawyers taking advantage of the less fortunate to the fight against social issues such as alcohol abuse and drug dealing. The judges were particularly impressed by the determination of journalists to continue pursuing stories and their ability to shed light on crime, social unrest, and politics.

The regional winners are:

  • Live reporting/ breaking news – Ronald Masinda with contributor Nceba Ntlanganiso from eNCA for “Dutwya Hostage Drama”.
  • Investigative – Tarryn Crossman from Carte Blanche for “Finding Zuko Nonxuba”.
  • Opinion – Tembile Sgqolana from Daily Maverick for “Komani is reeling from power outages that last for weeks”.
  • Lifestyle –  Lulamile Feni from Daily Dispatch for “Young man presumed dead after fleeing initiation school walks 250km to safety”.
  • Features – Sipamandla Kema and contributor Ruan Visser from Carte Blanche for “Decades of War”.
  • Photography – Lulama Zenzile from Netwerk24 for “Die Oos Kaap Leerling gaan deur diep water vir onderring”.
  • Sport – Anathi Wulushe and contributor Bomikazi Midiya from Daily Dispatch for body of work.
  • Financial and Economics – Joint winners Aphiwe de Klerk and Sithandiwe Velaphi from Daily Dispatch for “Load-shedding to blame for closure of R38,5 million abattoir’” and “Bhisho forfeits R100m while schools suffer” respectively.
  • Politics – Lulamile Feni from Daily Dispatch for “I remember the Bhisho massacre like it happened last year”.
  • Sustainability – Joint winners Lerato Fekisi from SABC for “Sections of the manganese ore transport and storage sector in Nelson Mandela Bay remain under fire” and Tembile Sgqolana from Daily Maverick for “Causes of fish die-off and stench at Jeffreys Bay’s Seekoei Estuary still a mystery”.
  • Innovation in journalism – No winner.
  • Young Journalist of the Year Award – Rosa-Karoo Loewe from Daily Dispatch.

The national awards ceremony takes place in Johannesburg on Thursday, 30 November.

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