Honoured: Veteran journalist recognised for lifetime achievement

2009-10-12 00:00

FORMER Witness journalist Khaba Mkize won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the eighth annual Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards in Johannesburg on Friday evening.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday he said it was “a great feeling to be so appreciated”.

The citation for the award recognised Mkhize for “his relentless contribution to great journalism during the pre- and post-democratic phases of our country’s history.”

Mkhize said he saw himself as a journalist who played a role in the struggle for a democratic non-racial South Africa. “I saw myself as part of carrying it forward.”

Mkhize was a reporter, columnist, editor of Echo and an assistant editor on The Witness. He is also a well-known playwright with a string of productions to his name — Pity Maritzburg! won a Vita award. He was the first South African to receive the Commonwealth Foundation Fellowship in 1995.

Mkhize left The Witness in 1996 after being appointed regional general manager of SABC KwaZulu-Natal. He later went to Johannesburg and became a member of the SABC Corporate Affairs division. He retired in 2002 and returned to Pietermaritzburg where he wrote the occasional article for The Witness and a column for Public Eye.

The citation for the award said Mkhize had a “passion for great story telling, fearless reporting, a more than worthy contribution to the transformation of newsrooms and to media freedom during an era of apartheid’s most fierce and draconian stranglehold on the fourth estate”. Mkhize was also recognised for the role he played in encouraging new talent.

Talk Radio 702’s Nomsa Maseko was named the 2009 Vodacom Journalist of the Year winner for her coverage of the xenophobic violence in Gauteng last year. The cartoonist award went to Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro) for his controversial cartoon “Rape of Justice” published in the Sunday Times.

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