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#SBSJA18: A celebration of verified journalism

This year's Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards celebrated journalism and its contribution to the country's society and democracy with the Gupta Leaks articles awarded the prestigious South African Story of the Year.
The Citizen photographer, Jacques Nelles, named Upcoming/Rising Star. © Danette Breitenbach.
The Citizen photographer, Jacques Nelles, named Upcoming/Rising Star. © Danette Breitenbach.

The Gupta Leaks is also an example of a collaboration between several newsrooms, with Daily Maverick, Amabhungane and News24 journalists working together. Susan Comrie of Amabhungane and one of the journalists that worked on the story says it was a story that had to be told. “For us, the story started in 2010 already. The Leaks not only brought it all together but also verified that we were right and that was very gratifying.”

This is what journalism is all about

She adds that collaborating with other newsrooms worked well. “Everyone knew what their part was and fulfilled it and the result speaks for itself.”

The other journalists awarded are Antoinette Muller; Branko Brkic; Pauli van Wyk; Adriaan Basson; Richard Poplak; Adi Eyal; Micah Reddy; Susan Comrie; Angelique Serrao; Stefaans Brümmer; Marianne Thamm; Sam Sole; Tabelo Timse; Pieter-Louis Myburgh; Craig McKune; Lionel Faull; Rebecca Davis; Sally Evans; Lester Freamon. The Gupta Leaks also won the Investigative category.

Named Journalist of Year for his story on the migrant miners who are sent home many of whom are ill without a proper retirement, Bongani Fuzile of Daily Dispatch says this was a painful story to tell. “The suffering of the miners was painful, but it was rewarding for us when the miners did at last receive some sort of compensation. This is what journalism is about.”

Fuzile was also awarded the enterprise news category award for the story, which was entitled “We found them”.

In previous years, the judges have felt that the photography categories have not been at the standard they ought to be. However, this year they were happy with the entries. This led to The Citizen photographer, Jacques Nelles, named Upcoming/Rising Star for his "Picture of Parachute: The moon walk”. Nelles says this is exciting for his future. “The award was unexpected as I did not win in the category section, but I am very happy. Photojournalism is what I want to do.”

Exposing the truth

News photography category winner Bongani Shilubane was also excited about his award. “I am a freelancer, so this award means so much to me. I hope it will open doors for me - maybe even for permanent employment.” He won for his entry in the Pretoria News, “Scramble to Register”.

Vaalweekblad’s Ettiene van Rensburg won the sports photography category award for “Half and half”. “I am humbled by the award. As photographers, it is important for us to share our knowledge amongst ourselves to grow our craft.”

The Allan Kirkland Soga Lifetime Achiever Award went to former Muslim News editor and renowned writer and poet, James Matthews who received a standing ovation from the gathering.

Standard Bank CEO, Lungisa Fuzile, told the gathering that the journalists honoured this evening help to root out false news, exposing the truth.
In the era where it has become fashionable to manufacture the truth or alternative truth, tonight we are honouring the people who have made it their business to search and write about the real truth so they fulfil a very important space in our lives. They help us to connect the dots in what is happening in our democracy. For this reason, Standard Bank is proud to be the Sikuvile Awards sponsor.
Commenting on this year’s entries, 2018 convening judge Mathatha Tsedu, says the entries this year lived up to the dictum of journalism to hold public powers to account. “In total, the entries all showed the courage of their conviction and this shows hope for our country. The Awards are a celebration of verified journalism.”

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at Previously she freelanced in the marketing and media sector, including for Bizcommunity. She was editor and publisher of AdVantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B. She has a Masters in Financial Journalism from Wits.

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