The Stage for Honor in Journalism Has Been Set!

Written by on August 19, 2021

Vodacom Journalist of The Year banner. Image via the Vodacom website

South African journalists have the opportunity to put themselves in the spotlight, with their work and efforts speaking multitudes for them. in this year’s Vodacom Journalist of the year (VJOY). Entries will open on August 20 until September 20. 2021 marks the 20th year of the competition, continuing with the virtual format since last year. This year’s theme is Resilience, a continuation of the 2020 VJOY theme—which was Reimagine, Reinvent and Rebuild.

“Over the past two decades, hundreds of South Africa’s emerging and established journalists have been rewarded for excellence in recognition of their reporting efforts for the benefit of the South African public. Media plays a major role in contributing to the economic and political development of citizens in any country in the world, and Vodacom is proud to mark this milestone of 20 years of supporting democratic South African press freedom,” said Chief Officer for External Affairs at Vodacom South Africa Takalani Netshienzhe.

The judge’s panel consists of the likes of Jermaine Craig, Ryland Fisher, Arthur Goldstuck, Patricia McCracken, Mapi Mhlangu, Collin Nxumalo, Jovial Rantao and Obed Zilwa. This year they are joined by Professor Gilbert Motsaathebe, Advocate Robin Sewlal, Phindile Xaba and Franz Kruger.

 “We have an exceptionally talented and experienced panel of judges who are all South African media veterans and will no doubt add immeasurable value and bring diverse insights to the adjudication process. I would like to pay a special tribute to Mary Papayya, who for many years was one of the most hardworking and wisest judges on the VJOY panel. As a former convener of the judging panel, Mary had knowledge and wisdom that only come with experience. I will miss her friendship and camaraderie, as well as being able to call on her whenever I was uncertain about anything related to the rules of the competition,” said Ryland Fisher.

The new members of the judge’s panel bring with them a level of expertise to the fore, with Professor Gilbert Motsaathebe as a lecture in the Department of Journalism, Film and Television at the University of Johannesburg and Editor-in-Chief of Communicare-Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa. Alongside Motsaathebe is Advocate Robin Sewlal, former Convener of Judges for the competition, is back again on the panel and he is the Associate Director at the Journalism at the Durban University of Technology, and also a Commissioner at the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa. Adding more to the expertise of the panel is Phindile Xaba, executive editor at Sowetan and the editor of REAL magazine.

Competition winners are recognized as the best journalists in a wide variety of five regions nationwide. This year’s categories are live reporting/breaking news; investigative; option; lifestyle; features; photography; sport; financial and economics; politics; sustainability; innovation in journalism; the Young Journalist of the Year Award and the lifetime achiever award. Entries should be words produced from 1 August 2020 and 31 July 2021 and they must all be submitted online at www.

Regional winners will be awarded a price of R 5000, national category winners will get R 10 000 and the overall Journalist of the Year Award will get R100 000. Should there be joint winners, both prize winners will share the prize money. The Young Journalist award winner will be award an all-expenses-paid overseas trip to work in an international newsroom. 

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