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Online series wins SA’s Journalist of the Year award

A series of stories on gang warfare in Hanover Park earned Tammy Petersen of News24 the ultimate prize in South African journalism. Here are all the winners of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards.



Winners and commendations in each category for the 2019 Vodacom Journalist of the Year are, as cited by the judges:


South Africa has seen great growth in investigative journalism, and the country’s politics have been irreversibly changed as a result. While the sector was previously dominated by a single story, the judges were heartened to see a much greater range of topics, very well covered and told with flair and passion. Several local investigations, for example, provided real value to their communities. The judges particularly want to commend Raymond Joseph and Anton van Zyl from the Western Cape region for their tenacity in writing their investigative series, Gaming The Lottery. The national winner of this category, however, showed impressive and ongoing national impact, pre-empting evidence before the Zondo commission and new twists keeping the topic of Bosasa on the country’s radar. The winner is Kyle Cowan of News24.


In an election year, where it was important to hear the voices of a broad range of South Africans, and not just the experts, our winning team took politics to the people to find and air their views. For allowing ordinary South Africans to share their opinions, in their languages and on multi-platforms, the national winners in the opinion category are Olwethu Matsipane, Krivani Pillay, and Deidre Uren of SABC News.


In a field of exciting and high-quality entries, one stood head and shoulders above all others in this category. This online series was compelling, exceptional, and innovative and powerfully portrayed the tragedy of the gang wars pandemic in Hanover Park through the people who are closest to it – grieving families, young children, trauma doctors, police, and social workers. For a bold and heart-rending seven-part series, the winner is Tammy Petersen from News24 Online.


The national winner captured the many moods of a defendant in a high-profile case that wove together religion, sexual abuse, pain, tears, and contrasting characters. It gripped the attention of our nation and images were splattered all over television, social media and newspapers, creating a great challenge to any photographer to capture a creatively original and insightful image. For his series of pictures of Timothy Omotoso at his rape trial entitled Man van God nie Tronk toe, the winner is Lulama Zenzile of Die Son and Netwerk24. 


Following your country’s national teams around the sporting stages of the world is a rare privilege for any sports journalist. While it’s a fantastic experience, it’s also extremely hard work and long hours working across a range of platforms. For his body of work, which included daily radio crossings, online stories, tour diaries, podcasts, and videos produced specifically for social media, our national sport winner for his high-quality multi-media work at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup is East Coast Radio’s Myron Naicker.


This category posed particularly tough decisions for the judges, who were faced with high-calibre regional winners from across the country. However, our national winner in this category is rewarded for blending in-depth and sometimes risky field research with a clearly expressed and argued account of the downfall of one of South Africa’s key economic sectors. For her painstaking, extended and exceptional reporting, the award goes to Lisa Steyn of the Financial Mail for The Death of Gold Mining.


At its best, journalism contributes to the political discussion by shining a light on realities that need to be taken into account. The winner in this category has done just that. With meticulous investigation, outstanding use of the storytelling opportunities of both television and print, and empathetic attention to the lives of those affected, the ways in which existing land-reform initiatives have been misused and corrupted are clearly pointed out, emphasising how this should be factored into debates about land. For their reports for the SABC’s Special Assignment and the Mail & Guardian, the winners are Hazel Friedman and Ridwaan Ismail for Bitter Harvest and The Lie of the Land for SABC’s Special Assignment, and Hazel Friedman for her articles in the Mail & Guardian Farm FlippingThe Land of Empty Promises, and Corruption Plagues Land Reform.


The sustainability of our society and environment is all too often overlooked instead of being safeguarded as our national Constitution urges. For a piece that shows how environmental neglect leads to health challenges, threatens recreational businesses, and endangers South Africa’s international reputation as a green haven, the national winner is a body of work on the sewage-infested Vaal River by Sheree Bega of Saturday Star.

Live reporting/breaking news

This category recognises the versatility of skills and approaches needed by journalists to supply content for a wide range of platforms and outlets in the era of social media and 24-hour news platforms. The judges seek to reward those who break important news stories fast and accurately, despite obstacles being thrown in their way such as a lack of resources or apparently unrealistic deadlines. The national winner showed an extraordinary work appetite and ethic, breaking four stories on one day yet still giving a face to the human tragedy, treating victims with sensitivity and taking his audiences to the scene. Our winner is the body of work entered by Dasen Thathiah of eNCA. Contributors were Nkanyiso Mdlalose and Francois Grobler.

Data journalism

In a world driven by information – and often misinformation – the role of data journalism becomes immense. It can provide the context and proper information needed to make sense of often confusing stories by presenting evidence that cannot be disputed. The national winning entry covered a subject that is often opaque to most journalists, going into intensive, yet readable detail. It unravelled the full complexities of the mobile operators’ stances on data pricing, the role played by spectrum, and what it will take to change the pricing structure. The national winner is Liesl Pretorius of Fin24 for The price of data.


Multi-platform journalism is an exciting field where reporters constantly push the elastic space of online media. They combine the traditional values of enterprising, balanced and insightful reporting with creative approaches to multiple platforms and online tools, resulting in effective and gripping storytelling. This year’s national winner used a website for contextual framing of a series of innovative podcasts that literally give voice to the voiceless. The national winner for SA’s Forgotten Citizens is Mihlali Ntsabo of Eyewitness News.

Young Journalist of the Year Award

The Young Journalist Award emphasises VJOY’s commitment to furthering the career of a dynamic young journalist in South Africa. At stake is the chance of a lifetime for the lucky young journalist winner to accelerate his or her professional and personal development through an all-expenses paid trip to follow cutting-edge training overseas, both at the renowned Thomson Foundation and in a newsroom context. This award recognises the efforts of the rising stars in newsrooms across the regions. Entrants must have worked in journalism for three years or less and should be demonstrating great potential. They should be able to act as ambassadors for South Africa and South African journalism when they are abroad. Entrants had to submit a body of outstanding work together with a strong motivation showing commitment to the vocation of news well above the norm – this motivation is a critical component of the judging process.

Nominees were:

Naziziphiwo Buso of The Herald from Eastern Cape

Martinette Hay of Vrystaat Nuus from the Free State/Northern Cape/Northwest and Limpopo region

Karabo Ledwaba of the Sowetan from Gauteng

Andiswa Matikinca of Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism from the KwaZulu-Natal/Mpumalanga region

Luke Folb Weekend Argus from the Western Cape region

The winner is Karabo Ledwaba from the Sowetan.

Visit the next page to read more about the winner of the top award, as well as of the Lifetime Achievement Award.


Black Friday, Cyber Monday, shot the lights out

The numbers are in, and it shows that the start of holiday season shopping in South Africa saw spectacular growth



Black Friday and Cyber Monday continues to be a hit in South Africa, with both days exceeding expectations.  

“Black Friday did not disappoint,” says Solly Bellingan, head of customer relations at BankservAfrica. “Despite the tougher economy, it seems South Africans took advantage of the days’ special deals with in-store and online transaction volumes reflecting strong year-on-year growth. Both days have certainly made their mark amongst local retailers and shoppers,

South Africans shopped up a storm with the total number of Black Friday transactions processed by BankservAfrica, in-store and online, at 7,077,117 (*) in 2019 – 36% up from 2018’s 5,204,594. This translates into a total spend of R6-billion, an impressive 106% increase on 2018’s R2.9-billion.

When compared to 2018, it seems bargain hunters decided to get the best deals early with a 33% year-on-year increase in sales at midnight. The 12-hour period between 06:00 and 18:00 proved to be busiest, with similar volumes being processed each hour. The highest number of transactions processed in a 60-minute period was between 10:00 and 11:00 at a volume of 595,792.

“3D-Secure, our online card authentication service, i.e. transactions that require a one-time pin(**), showed steady growth this year with a 32% year-on-year increase on Black Friday and transaction volumes  reaching a total of  534,828,” says Bellingan. The busiest shopping times were between 09:00 and 10:00 in 2019 compared to the earlier start in 2018 at 08:00 to 09:00

“The most expensive online transaction recorded on Black Friday was for a hospitality purchase of  R10,067,400 by an international company. The most uses by one card was 83. During peak, we processed  717 transactions while the average was 371 per minute for the day.”

Cyber Monday was less active than Black Friday with a 42% growth in online transactions that reached a volume of 249,908 in 2019 (up from 176,595 in 2018). However, in both years, most of the transactions took place between 10:00 and 11:00, with the most expensive being R1,997,800 and 151 uses by one card. The highest average transactions per minute was 322 at peak and 173 per minute for the day.

“This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday data mirrors the global data of record-breaking sales – and the BankservAfrica featured figures are only a portion of the entire sales figures for both days,” says Bellingan. “It will be interesting to see if these manage to outpace festive season spend this year.”

Visit the next page for insights gathered through the PayGate payment gateway.

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Amazon records biggest ecommerce day ever



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Amazon has announced that Cyber Monday was once again the single biggest shopping day in the company’s history, based on the number of items ordered worldwide. Customers all around the world shopped at record levels across a wide selection, with hundreds of millions of products ordered worldwide between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, alone. Customers purchased millions more Amazon Devices compared to the same period last year in Amazon’s Stores globally and the best-selling items were Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote.

“We’re focused on making this holiday season more convenient than ever for our customers, especially given how short this holiday shopping season will be,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. “We are thrilled that customers continue to come to Amazon in record numbers to discover what they need and want for the holidays. Thank you to our customers and employees all around the world for making this holiday shopping weekend the best yet.”

Holiday Weekend Highlights:

  • Customers worldwide purchased more toys this Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined than ever before. Among the tens of millions of toys purchased during this time period, best-sellers included LEGO Star Wars Darth Vader’s Castle, Monopoly Game: Disney Frozen 2 Edition and Hasbro games such as Jenga, Guess Who and Candy Land Kingdom of Sweet Adventures.
  • Cyber Monday was the single biggest shopping day for Amazon Fashion worldwide, with more items purchased than any other single day in the company’s history. Best-sellers included Carhartt Men’s Acrylic Watch Hat and Champion Men’s Powerblend Fleece Pullover Hoodie.
  • Amazon customers worldwide ordered more than 25 million home items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, combined.
  • Best-sellers on Black Friday in the U.S. included Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, Instant Pot Duo80 – 8 Quart, 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service: Personal Genetic DNA Test, L.O.L. Surprise! Winter Disco Bigger Surprise and iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum.
  • Customers worldwide purchased more than four million beauty products this Cyber Monday compared to last year, with best-sellers including Oral-B Genius Pro 900 Electric Toothbrush, Lagunamoon Essential Oils Top 6 Gift Set and L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Makeup Lash Paradise Mascara.
  • Top-selling categories worldwide include Toys, Home, Fashion and Health and Personal Care.
  • The best-selling products in Amazon’s Stores on Cyber Monday in the U.S. included Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Cookie Creations, Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker and LEGO City Ambulance Helicopter 60179 Building Kit.
  • Independent third-party sellers in Amazon’s Stores — mostly small and medium-sized businesses – sold more items during Cyber Monday 2019 than any other 24-hour period in the company’s history.
  • For the third year in a row, Whole Foods Market broke its all-time record of turkeys sold during the Thanksgiving season.
  • Amazon delivered millions of grocery items to Prime members in the U.S. through the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Best sellers from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market delivery included Honeycrisp apples, lemons and avocados.
  • Top selling items at Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star stores over the holiday weekend included the Amazon Smart Plug, Echo Dot and All-New Echo Dot Smart Speaker with Clock, L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls, Wrecking Ball (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 14), and the Wyze Cam 1080p HD Indoor Wireless Smart Home Camera with Night Vision.

Record-Breaking Weekend for Devices

  • Shoppers purchased a record number of Amazon Devices globally this holiday weekend.
  • Amazon customers worldwide purchased millions more Amazon Devices, compared to the same period last year in Amazon’s Stores globally, including Echo devices, Fire TV devices, Kindle devices, and Fire tablets.
  • It was a record-breaking holiday shopping weekend for smart home devices in Amazon’s Stores globally with shoppers purchasing millions of smart home devices, including iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum, Furbo Dog Camera, and Wemo Mini Smart Plug.
  • The best-selling products in Amazon’s Stores globally were Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote.

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