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Vodacom Journalist of the Year announces the 2023 regional winners for Free State, Limpopo, Northern Cape and North West

Tuesday, 14 November 2023

14 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.

This year, an increase to 17% of competition entries originated from this region. The judges were impressed by the calibre of the submissions, which often exposed wrongdoing at different levels of society. “The Free State, Northern Cape, Northwest and Limpopo region gained national attention due to the daring escape of Facebook rapists Thabo Bester and the individuals who were entangled in the web of deceit surrounding his escape,” said the judges. “This region serves as a reminder of the influence and vital role of the national broadcaster, as well as the value of community media.”

The regional winners are:

  • Live reporting/ breaking news – Kamogelo Seekoei from SABC News for “Conversation with family of the deceased found in Bester’s cell”.
  • Investigative – Zinhle Kanyane and contributors Tshepo Dhlamini and Zukwisa Magosa from eNCA Checkpoint for “Jagersfontein”.
  • Opinion – no winner.
  • Lifestyle –  Marti Will from Vista Newspaper for “Khoisan-stammevat hande vir bevordering van hul kultuur”.
  • Features – Helena Barnard from NoordKaap Bulletin for “Soek jou wortels (en vind Martha se melktert) by Magersfontein”.
  • Photography – No winner.
  • Sport – Joint winners, both from SABC, Ditshwanelo Masiea with contributor Reginald Witbooi on “Karate” and Lereko Motseko with contributor Margeret Mothibi on “Boxing”.
  • Financial and Economics – Olebogeng Motse from OFM for “The construction mafia: is it transformation or criminality?”.
  • Politics – Charne Kemp from Netwerk24 for “Stryd om Kimb’ly se wyk”.   
  • Sustainability – Alet van der Walt from Netwerk24 for “Jagersfontein: Visse “spring” uit water toe slik spruit tref”.
  • Innovation in journalism – No winner.
  • Young Journalist of the Year Award – Karabo Siyoko from SABC.

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

View previous press releases