AmaZulu Football Club, which celebrated its 80th anniversary earlier this year, was crowned as the KZN Newsmaker of the Year 2012, at a glittering gala dinner held at the Durban City Hall.
The football club received thousands of public votes, beating the COP17 Climate Change Conference, Save the Rhino KZN campaign, as well as Vera Hecht – the Durban woman who negotiated for more than 20 months with Somali hostage-takers for the release of her brother Bruno Pelizzari and his partner Deborah Calitz. Hecht was announced as the first runner-up, while Save the Rhino KZN campaign became the second runner-up.
Launched in 2011, this year’s KZN Newsmaker of the Year event was hosted in association with the eThekwini Municipality, in the spirit of Heritage Month and in keeping with the Celebrate Durban campaign.
The event was conceptualized at DUT with the help of the DUT Journalism Advisory Board and the Department of Journalism. Four members comprised the adjudicating panel that shortlisted the four newsmakers of the year. The panel included Mary Papayya (Journalism Advisory Board Chairperson and Regional GM AVUSA), Judy Sandison (SANEF Regional Convenor and Editor SABC), David Canning (Traning Editor Independent Newspapers and former EDitor: The Mercury) and Dr Mikhail Peppas (Senior Lecturer, Department of Journalism DUT).
An elated AmaZulu FC spokesperson Philani Mabaso said the football club did not expect to get the award since the club “ was not doing very well on the field. But the win shows the good relationship we have with our supporters. It’s good to know that our brand is in people’s eyes and ears even when we are not winning games. It (the KZN Newsmaker of the Year award) motivates us as a team,” said Mabaso.
Alan Khan, DUT Senior Director for Corporate Affairs said, “this is the second year running that sport has won the KZN Newsmaker title. Last year it was Hashim Amla, who has since gone on to achieve even greater things and now, AmaZulu win the 2012 award. I’m already looking forward to the 2013 KZN Newsmaker of the Year and we at DUT hope to build and grow the event with our partners in the media and at the municipality in the years to come.”
eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo said journalists play a crucial role in society, adding that they (journalists) should remain independent. Nxumalo said it is the media’s role to report news that is fair and accurate and that journalists should in turn expose lies and corruption wherever it exists without fear.
“The eThekwini Municipality has chosen to support this event as it highlights the achievement of local citizens. We recognise people who have made us proud as people who live in KZN”, said Nxumalo.
KZN Newsmaker of the Year Convener, Mary Papayya said the primary role of the newsmaker event is to bring to focus the events and personalities that have attracted the lion’s share of the news spotlight and have touched the hearts and minds of people in the province. It also offers a platform for the public, the consumers of news, to share in the crowning of a KwaZulu-Natal news related story or event that most affected them and shaped their thinking.”
–Nomvula Sikakane and Nongcebo Khumalo
Pictured: Philani Mabaso PR and Communications Manager at AmaZulu FC, with the awards