13 July 2024 | 12:45 PM

M&G’s Mondi triumph: Journalism is a team sport

Key Takeaways

Awards littered the Mail & Guardian offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg on Wednesday after a good haul at the annual Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards.

The M&G amaBhungane investigative team won the South African Story of the Year for their series on Zuma Inc, the Zuma family’s business empire.

Winners: Sam Sole, Nic Dawes, Matuma Letsaolo, Mara Kardas-Nelson, Stefaans Brummer (Mondi Shanduka Newsprint)

M&G reporter Matuma Letsaolo earned the title of South African Journalist of the Year for his series of articles related to Noluthando Vavi, wife of Congress of South Africa Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Counting his chickens after they hatch: M&G editor Nic Dawes spreads the news of the winners on Wednesday.

Letsoalo impressed judges with his story relating to the corrupt business activities of Mrs Vavi.

Exposing the truth: Matuma Letsaolo accepts his award from Mondi Shanduka Newsprint CEO Ahmed Haffejee (Mondi Shanduka Newsprint)

Briefing M&G staff on Wednesday morning, editor Nic Dawes said Letsaolo’s winning story had made a substantial impact, and had in fact been “about journalism” and had been written at a time when reporters were being accused of taking bribes.

“While this is about individual excellence, there is a matrix of support — from line editors, through sub-editors and the layout and production team — that enables that work to sing and achieve its impact,” said Dawes.

“The awards manage to recognise there are individual stars and that journalism is a team sport.”

Blood, sweat and cheers: Convenor of the judging panel Professor Guy Berger, Mara Kardas-Nelson and Ahmed Haffejee (Mondi Shanduka Newsprint)

Other awards and recognition for the M&G included:

Winner: Analysis, commentary and enterprise news category

Samantha Reinders and Mara Kardas-Nelson: ‘Blood, sweat and water‘ series on acid mine drainage

Finalist: Feature Writing

Niren Tolsi: ‘Fear and loathing in Obamaland

Finalist: Creative Writing

Nikiwe Bikitsha: ‘Hanging up my wig

Finalist: Editorial Cartoons

Jonathan ‘Zapiro’ Shapiro: ‘Zumaglue’; ‘Feel it … it is here!’; ‘Evolution of Democracy’; ‘Aids message’; ‘On second thoughts’; ‘Baby shower’

Finalist: Graphical Journalism

John McCann:’Cronin’; ‘Horsemen’; ‘Freedom under threat’ and other entries

Finalist: Journalism 2010

Niren Tolsi: ‘Field of shattered dreams‘; ‘Lebo M’s non-performance’; ‘Tale of Two Cups’; Mainlining the rainbow

The M&G also scooped the the Joel Mervis category, which recognises urban newspapers irrespective of their circulation. The award recognises newspaper excellence in advertising, printing and production, layout and typography as well as balance between the use of pictures and graphics. The judges commented, “A quest for excellence; a newspaper for people who love reading.”

Full list of winners

Hard news

Stephan Hofstatter and Mzilikazi wa Afrika: ‘Cele lied say his generals’; ‘The R4m luxury home Cele made you pay for’; ‘Bheki Cele’s R500m dodgy rental deal’ (Sunday Times)

Analysis, commentary and enterprise news

Samantha Reinders and Mara Kardas-Nelson: ‘Blood, sweat and water’ series on acid mine drainage (Mail & Guardian)

Feature Writing

Dana Snyman: ‘Ons roep hom Sello’ (Beeld, Die Burger and Volksblad)

Investigative Journalism

Matuma Letsoalo: ‘Mrs Vavi, the pension fund and the R40 000 bribe’; ‘Vavi-linked firm in new bribe scandal’; ‘Car given to Vavi’s sidekick’; ‘Company hit by new scandal’; ‘Police set to probe M&G ‘briber” (Mail & Guardian)

Creative Journalism

Willem Kempen and Louis Kruger: ‘As Mev. Ples op FB was…’ (Beeld, Die Burger and Volksblad)

Editorial Cartoons

Wilson Mgobhozi: ‘4 million babies!’; ‘Self demolition’; ‘ET’s final fall 1944-2010’; ‘One man, one wife’; ‘Madiba’s African Dream’ and other entries (Star)

Graphical Journalism

Rudi Louw: ‘2010 — All the newsmakers’ (City Press)

Popular Journalism

Yolanda Barnard: ‘Liefdeskind’ (Sondag)

News Photographs

Judy de Vega: ‘Pensioners caught in protest crossfire chaos’ (Herald)

Feature Photographs

Cornel van Heerden: ‘Hier is ET doodgekap’ (Foto 24)

Sport Photographs

Alon Skuy: ‘Hand of devil’ (Times)

Presentation (Layout and Design)

Andries Gouws: ‘Bafana at the World Cup’; ‘It was here’; ‘Diego’s dance’ (Beeld)

Journalism Twenty-Ten

Sameer Naik: ‘The best World Cup ever’ (Saturday Star)

Extraordinary contribution to newspaper journalism

In addition to the Allan Kirkland Soga Lifetime Achievement Award, a special tribute was made to the late Andriette Stofberg, Beeld‘s former deputy editor, for her extraordinary contribution to newspaper journalism. Stofberg, who had been with the paper for 15 years, was highly respected for her commitment to quality and truth.

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Before joining the amaBhungane team in 2017, Micah was the national coordinator for media freedom and diversity at the Right2Know Campaign. He holds a Masters in African Studies from Oxford University and a BA Honours in History from Wits University.

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