‘Award winning journalist’. That is something every journalist wants to add to their Twitter bio regardless of the type award won! We are all a bunch of narcissists, let me tell you.
Since I began as a journalist as a snotty 17 year old in 2011, it has been a long goal of mine; to produce journalism worthy of an award and this year I celebrate winning the Vodacom Journalist of the Year award in the print category . (Can I get a high five?)
I was part of a great team who unearthed the details of state capture by the Gupta family, stuff I still can’t believe any normal human being would do.
The year started with the aftermath of President Jacob Zuma’s decision to fire the finance minister and replace him with a little known back bencher MP, Des Van Rooyen- a move many say was an attempt to capture the treasury by the Gupta. We also learnt what a Weekend Special Minister is as a result.
Four days later Zuma was forced to replace him with current finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
Gordhan came in, told the Guptas where to get off and put effort in getting the ratings agencies off the country’s back when the Hawks pounced on him.
Since then we broke the story about the Hawks planning to charge Gordhan and the firecracker of a revelation that the Gupta family offered deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas the job of finance minister before Nhlanhla Nene was fired. And. And. And.
(This is not a brag. Or maybe it is. Whatever.)
It has been a long year of sometimes exhausting reporting on state capture- which is arguably the story of the year in South Africa.
The judges of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards recognised the efforts our team put in the whole body of work on state capture over the last few months.
I was thrilled that our team won the regional award in the print category and even more excited to have won the national award.
Over the years, I have had the luxury of observing and working with some of the best political and investigative reporters in South Africa. Some became my friends, some my mentors and some who only acknowledge my presence with a nod (It’s okay. I will force them to be my friend).
I always regarded the opportunity to work with good journalists as a means for me to learn the craft of journalism and understand how they do things (often being very annoying).
I have learnt a lot through out my career but more so in this last year. I still have so much more to learn but for now I will be grateful for all the editors and senior journalists who took a gamble on me.
To many more!