JUDGES



Judging the Vodacom Journalist of the Year is no easy task and therefore we are proud of the well-respected panel of judges who are experts in the media world; and who themselves, have earned many accolades. We are certain that the right decision will be made by these judges whose collective experience exceeds 100 years. Each judge will enhance the exacting criteria for entrants from their wide range of experienced focus areas.







Albe Grobbelaar

Albe Grobbelaar


an SABC announcer/producer since 1979, worked in various positions for the Afrikaans Radio Service in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria before moving to Bloemfontein in 1985. He was appointed the first Programme Manager of Radio Oranje (OFM). During the years 1987 and 1989, he also worked as a News Reporter and News Editor for SABC TV. His work in television included anchoring the Free State studio broadcasts during two national elections in the 1990’s.


Albe was nominated eight times for an Artes Award (then the highest accolade in broadcasting in South Africa.) He received the award twice, once for his work in radio and again for television. In 1989, he became the SABC’s Head of Radio for the Free State and Northern Cape. 1996 saw him appointed as the first CEO of the newly privatized commercial radio station OFM.


Albe has travelled abroad extensively, where he benchmarked some thirty radio stations and television networks in Taipei, Paris, London, Berlin, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Jacksonville.


As a freelance journalist he has written a considerable body of work for a variety of publications. A compilation of his radio talks was published in 1985 and he has also contributed chapters to a number of books. He currently writes a weekly column for the newspaper “Bloemfontein Courant”.


Albe now shares his knowledge through his lecturing post in Media Studies at the Dept. of Communication Science at the University of the Free State since 2008.






Arthur Goldstuck

Arthur Goldstuck


is an award-winning writer, analyst and technology commentator, providing understanding of technology issues to local and international media. In 2013, the Institute of IT Professionals of South Africa presented him with the Distinguished Service in ICT Award and bestowed him with an Honorary Fellow of the Institute.


As a journalist, Goldstuck was news editor of the Weekly Mail (now the Mail & Guardian), SA correspondent for Billboard, and a freelance feature writer for the Times of London, among others. He publishes the online consumer technology magazine Gadget.co.za, and is author of 19 books. His weekly gadgets column is the most widely syndicated technology column in South Africa. He also writes a weekly trends column for Business Times in the Sunday Times.


He heads the World Wide Worx research organisation, leading groundbreaking market research into how change is affecting business and society, and presents his findings and insights to audiences across the globe. World Wide Worx produces the most widely accepted statistics for Internet use in South Africa, and has conducted research across Africa since 2001, unraveling the complexities of operating on the continent.


In 2014, the Minister of Communications appointed Goldstuck to South Africa’s National Broadband Advisory Council, where he served until the end of 2015. He is an international judge in the GSMA Global Mobile Awards in Barcelona and has judged the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards since 2011.


He provides strategic guidance to corporate executives in their use of social media, and offers virtual training to companies worldwide..






Elna Rossouw

Elna Rossouw


joined academia in 2001 after a career of more than 20 years in the magazine industry; first as a junior reporter, then as a feature writer and finally as a managing editor. Currently she is a lecturer in the Department of Journalism, Film and Television at the University of Johannesburg.


Elna holds a BA Honours in Communication (RAU, now the University of Johannesburg), completed her MPhil in Journalism (cum laude) at Stellenbosch University in 2005 and is a registered PHD candidate exploring the field of magazine journalism. She has served as an external examiner, mainly on postgraduate level for several South African universities. Rossouw serves as judge on other industry panels which recognises excellence in journalism, and is a member of SA National Editors Forum (SANEF) and SACOMM.






Mathatha Tsedu

Mathatha Tsedu


is Adjunct Professor in the School of Journalism at Wits University and Acting Executive Director of the National Editors Forum (SANEF). Prior to that he was General Manager for Strategic Development and Projects at Media24 News.


After serving as editor of City Press, Mathatha took the helm at the Media24 Journalism Academy, responsible for training intern journalists. Tsedu is a seasoned media trainer and he was until September 2013 the Project Director of the Print and Digital Media Transformation Task Team (PDMTTT). Prior to this Tsedu served as Project Director of the Press Freedom Commission of SA, established in 2011 to look at the regulatory framework of print media in SA. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Unisa School of Governance. Tsedu served as Editor at a number of SA newspapers, namely Sunday Times and City Press and as Deputy head of News at SABC. He was the Chairperson of The African Editors Forum (TAEF), and of SANEF. He is also a member of Council of the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution. Tsedu holds a BA Hons in Journalism and Media Studies from Wits University and an Honorary Doctorate (DPhil in Arts) from the University of Western Cape.


He is a recipient of a number of awards, including The Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University, the Nat Nakasa Award for Courageous Journalism, The Mondi Shanduka Lifetime Achiever Award and The SANEF Wrottesley Award, the Media24 Newspaper All Time Legend and the Naspers Phil Weber Award






Mary B Papayya

Mary B Papayya


is an award winning journalist, a media & stakeholder (Government and Corporate & Academic) Strategist, Mentor & Trainer, in South Africa and on the African continent. Papayya is well known in the media industry in South Africa and the continent in a range of positions including Journalist, Bureau Chief, Editor and News Manager and Project Convener and Strategist.


She was General Manager at the Times Media Group & Publisher of the Sunday Times Extra and Coastal Regions Editor of the Sowetan. At Times Media, she was instrumental in engaging with all stakeholders in government, business and corporate sectors as well as leading sporting bodies in the creation of special sporting products.


She was the KZN Media Strategist for the FIFA 2010 World Cup, BRICS and AFCON. She is Convener of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year, Convener for the Nat Nakasa Bringing Home a Hero project, and Convener of the KZN Newsmaker of the Year and Convener of the Commonwealth Businesswomen Africa. Pioneering in her field, Mary remains SA’s first black broadcast Editor when appointed to the SABC as News Editor, Executive producer and Acting Regional Editor. She launched the SABC’s first Community Current Affairs News Product – Newsbreak. Papayya is a founding Manager & the News Manager of East Coast Radio and the country’s first Commercial news product – NewsWatch. She served as the first black Bureau Chief at the Witness Newspaper.


She is a founder Editor, Secretary-General & Deputy Chair & now Honorary Editor of the South African National Editor’s Forum (SANEF). She serves on a range of professional bodies in her capacity as a board member. Of note is her appointment as Board member on the oversight committee on the SA Professional Journalists Association and a Patron on the Forum of Journalists for Transformation (FJT). She is currently the Executive Director of Mary Papayya Media and focuses on the sustainable development of media, women in business and community. She is media Ambassador for the Denis Hurley Centre (DHC). She is also a Board member of the eThekwini Community Trust. She has several qualifications including an MPHIL (Journ) from the University of Stellenbosch.






Nikiwe Bikitsha

Nikiwe Bikitsha


is one of South Africa's leading journalists and broadcasters. She's enjoyed an illustrious 20-year career as one of the most trusted news and current affairs presenters and talk show shosts in radio and television. She's worked for broadcasters like Primedia, SABC and eNCA.


Previous awards include the Sanlam Financial Journalism award in the TV category in 2010, Women in media rising star in 2006. She has also been the recipient of the Mondi creative writing category for her column in the Mail & Guardian in 2010.


Nikiwe is a highly sought after Programme Director of events and moderator of panel duscussions. She's passionate about Africa's economic development and believes that women should be at the forefront of these efforts. To that end, she's the co-founder of Amargi Media, a content company which aims to tell African stories in a compelling way. Nikiwe holds a B.A Honours degree in Journalism and media studies from Wits University and is completing her MA at Wits.


She's a previous recipient of the Fulbright Hubert Humphrey Fellowship to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in the U.S 2012 - 2013






Patricia McCracken

Patricia McCracken


is a multi-award-winning freelance writer, editor and photojournalist, contributing to specialist media such as Business Day, Financial Mail and Healthcare Gazette and mass media such as the Sunday Times, Wild and Garden & Home. She also acts as an editorial consultant to organisations such as UNICEF, Health Development Trust, African Development Bank and the South African Tourism Enterprise Partnership. She writes a regular book column for Farmer’s Weekly.


Patricia graduated from the University of Cambridge and worked in investment banking before moving into journalism, where she worked as an assistant editor at Bona. Over the past 20 years, Patricia has received in excess of 40 reporting award credits in the fields of personal finance, consumer, business, ICT, health and environment. These include a Vodacom Journalist of the Year National Print Feature for an investigation into the dangers of paraffin stoves that helped change SA law. Patricia has won Vodacom regional awards in three categories. Her in-depth investigation and dedication to accuracy and her ability to translate news and investigative values into mass-media format has been particularly commended.


Patricia is a member of the Credit Ombud Council and also sits on their Corporate Governance and Media Policy Committees. She serves on the Advisory Boards of both the Department of Journalism and the Department of Translation and Interpreting Practice at the Durban University of Technology. She is a member of the Financial Review Committee of the SA Freelance Association. She is currently co-writing a history of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement.






Ryland Fisher

Ryland Fisher


has more than 30 years of experience in the media industry as an editor, journalist, columnist, author, senior manager and executive. He is the former Editor of the Cape Times and The New Age, and was assistant editor of the Sunday Times. However, his experience in the media industry extends across all media platforms, including broadcast, online, books and events. Early in his career, he was one of the pioneers of alternative community journalism in South Africa.


Fisher is the author of Race, published in 2007 dealing with race and racism in post-apartheid South Africa. His first book, Making the Media Work for You (2002), provides insights into the media industry. He has contributed chapters to several other books. Among others, he has edited the official Opus on Nelson Mandela, a book on 20 years of democracy in South Africa (published in July 2014) and a book on the National Development Plan (published in 2015).


He is executive chairperson of the Cape Town Festival, which he initiated while editor of the Cape Times in 1999 as part of the ‘One City, Many Cultures’ project. He consults on media and social transformation and has lectured on transformation and race in Switzerland and the United States of America.


He writes a weekly column for the Weekend Argus and occasional articles for other publications in South Africa and abroad.






Megan Rusi

Megan Rusi


is a television journalist with over 25 years of experience in journalism, journalism training, television training and media spokespeople training.






Obed Zilwa

Obed Zilwa


is a renowned South African photographer who has attracted photographic acclaim with an impressive collection of images that capture defining moments in South African and Southern African history.


Obed started photography in the 80's and worked for the Cape Times and the Cape Argus before joining the International News Agency, The Associated Press. His vast archives cover life under apartheid, SA's transformation to democracy, Southern Africa's struggles and triumphs, world leaders, artists and much more. Amongst other awards Obed received the Mogadishu Fellowship Award for photography from Reuters.


Obed currently freelances and produces both photographic and video projects for government, the private and business sector. Recently he has worked on the Mandel Opus, the Kurdish Human Rights Action Group South Africa and a Forum for Dialog for Palestinians.