The Rep journalists win community journalism awards

    WINNERS: The Rep journalists, anticlockwise from top left, Luvuyo Mjekula, Abongile Solundwana, Andisa Bonani and Ntsikelelo Qoyo

    Four of The Rep’s journalists recently scooped top accolades at the Forum of Community Journalists’ (FCJ) annual excellence awards.
    Adding to the achievement, it was the first time that The Rep had entered the competition that pits community newspapers across the country against one another.
    Due to the coronavirus, the finalists and winners were announced virtually via a YouTube video on Friday, February 26.
    Reporter Abongile Solundwana claimed the runner-up spot in the coveted Journalist of the Year category. She said: “This was unexpected. It is deeply humbling and so surreal, but the glory is the Lord’s. I simply labour for the marginalised, for officials to account for taxpayers’ money, for justice to be served and for a job well done to be commended.
    “I aim to make a resourceful impact with every article I write. Coming second nationally as a community journalist is a sign that I am moving in the right direction. I owe this to The Rep’s team effort.”
    Andisa Bonani, senior reporter, came third in the competitive Hard News category. She said: “The award was the affirmation I needed after all the years I have dedicated to community journalism, covering hard news about basic things that immensely affect people’s lives. It is proof of the hard work I put in, and also exposes the injustices the communities are subjected to.”
    Talented intern Ntsikelelo Qoyo won the Alet Roux Award, the prestigious prize that recognises a rising star with less than three years’ experience.
    Said Qoyo: “Working at The Rep has been one of my life’s greatest experiences. The opportunity to understudy in such a dynamic editorial team has made me become a far better journalist that I ever hoped to be. To me, the Alet Roux Award is affirmation that anything is possible if you put your heart into it and work hard. I would like to thank the people who have been in the journey with me the past two years. My editor, ‘Mr M’, who gave me my shot, not just at The Rep but at journalism. The sub-editor, Chux Fourie, who constantly reminds us there are standards to be met at The Rep and my dear colleagues, who accepted and supported me since day one. They made the award possible and I am forever grateful.”
    Editor, Luvuyo Mjekula, was the overall winner in the Editorial Opinion category. “It feels awesome to be recognised in this way. It shows that the effort my team and I put into our work every day is not going unnoticed. I take my hat off to the journalists, but also to the rest of the staff at The Rep because, without their contribution, these great achievements would not be possible,” Mjekula stated.
    “You are truly the cream of the crop in our industry, even more so because of the record number of entries received,” read a statement on the FCJ’s website.
    Before the announcement, FCJ executive director Hugo Redelinghuys made special mention of The Rep team as newcomers in the competition. “Judging by what is to come on the video, I hope they will not regret that decision [to enter],” Redelinghuys said.
    Thus it came as no surprise when The Rep’s team won big in various categories.
    Managers at Arena Holdings, the parent company of The Rep, expressed their heartfelt congratulations to the winners.
    “Well done Luvuyo, Ntsikelelo, Abongile and Andisa! Congratulations and awesome work,” said general manager, Ryan Megaw.
    Chris van Heerden, product manager for community titles said: “I would like to congratulate you for your hard work and dedication in setting a high standard.”
    “Hearty congrats on all the accolades won by the editorial staff,” said Chux Fourie, sub-editor.

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