The national VJOY winners have been announcedNovember 25, 2022
Faizel Patel, The Citizen’s senior digital journalist, scooped the national award for three of his opinion pieces.
South Africa’s finest journalists were lauded for their best work over the past year by the country’s longest running media awards, the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards’ (VJOY), at a ceremony held in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Judges said Patel’s body of work “provides deep analysis and emotions in communicating tragedy, loss and joy.
“In his winning works, he writes in compelling terms about the loss of his mother and how fellow human beings are dealing with the humanitarian crisis caused to Ukrainians by the war unleashed on them by Russia.
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“Patel also shows his amazing way with words as he relates, in the most powerful way, his reunion with his son on Father’s Day after 17 years,” the judges said.
Patel won for his body of work: an exclusive “Listen to Schindler’s List’s Girl in the red coat”, “Facing Mother’s Day after the pain of losing a mother” and “Fathers’ Day: After 17 years I finally get to spend the day with my son”.
The 2022 Vodacom Journalist of the Year overall winner, claiming R100 000, is GroundUp’s Raymond Joseph, for his long-running investigation into the National Lotteries Commission and its recipients.
The VJOY awards have come of age but, now 21 years old, show no sign of abating in popularity with the media fraternity, with a 35% increase in entries this year.
The VJOY judging panel was headed by convener Mapi Mhlangu, with judges Jermaine Craig, Ryland Fisher, Arthur Goldstuck, Patricia McCracken, Professor Gilbert Motsaathebe, Collin Nxumalo, Jovial Rantao, Elna Rossouw, Advocate Robin Sewlal, and Obed Zilwa
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The theme for the 2022 Awards was ‘Storytellers’, with judges praising the outstanding calibre of submissions from all nine provinces.
Mhlangu commended the winning journalists
“Notable was the work that looked at how journalists, as storytellers, approached big stories and the individual impact they had on their craft and mental well-being.”
“Many of these contributions were fascinating to read or watch and gave the public different and interesting insights into the issues facing our country. Telling and hearing these stories is a big part of what makes us human,” she said.
Takalani Netshitenzhe, director of external affairs for Vodacom South Africa, also congratulated the award winners and thank the judges for ensuring that the VJOYs have remained an important part of the South African media landscape for 21 years.
“Vodacom is cognisant of the increasing pressure faced by newsrooms across the country in the face of the cost-of-living crisis. Outstanding journalism should continue to be recognised and celebrated in South Africa as a key pillar of democratic society.”
The VJOY Lifetime Achiever Award went to renowned poet and author Dr Don Mattera, who died in July, aged 86.
The VJOY judges said that Mattera used his words to shake the foundations of the apartheid government, backed by an army, on a mission to oppress South Africa’s black majority.
“Mattera is an intoxicating example of the power of words, which he used to good effect to fight against the system. His words were chosen carefully to deliver a message to those who sought to oppress the majority that they would never succeed, and that no amount of banning orders on him or his fellow journalists would shake him.
He was a world-class poet, an amazing writer and published author as well as a great humanitarian, political activist and revolutionary.”
Other notable winners included Western Cape’s Raymond Joseph of GroundUp, KwaZulu-Natal’s Nicky Troll for her Carte Blanche feature, Gauteng’s Charles Leonard of the New Frame Podcast, Gauteng’s Lisa Steyn of the Financial Mail and KwaZulu-Natal’s Dasen Thathiah with contributors Nkanyiso Mdlalose, Sandile Makhubela and Susanna Holmes of eNCA amongst others
The Young Journalist of the Year Award: Gauteng’s Michelle Banda from Daily Maverick