Inaugural Community media Awards a big hit!

The inaugural Community Media Awards winners were announced at a glittering ceremony at the Theatre on the Track, Kyalami in Johannesburg on Friday 30th June 2008.
The Community Media Awards are the result of a collaboration amongst SABC News (which also hosted the Awards), the MDDA (Media Development and Diversity Agency), NCRF (National Community Radio Forum) NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) and Independent Federation of Religious Broadcasters (IFRB).

Bush Radio led the pack with three awards;

  • Excellence in Journalism, which was won by Rhod? Michelle Marshall,
  • Excellence in In-Depth News Coverage and Current Affairs, which went to Celeste Langa, and
  • Excellence in Investigative Journalism, which was bagged by Chanèl September.

Excellence in Developmental Journalism went to Radio Islam's Azhar Vardi
Excellence in Broadcasting in Indigenous Languages was won by Angeline Morake from East Rand Stereo.
Best Producer went to Glen Ubisi of Radio Bushbuckridge
Best Presenter was won by Sanelisiwe Fortunate Cele of Radio Khwezi, but that wasn't her only triumph for the night, Sanelisiwe went on to take the;
Best Overall Winner was won by Sanelisiwe Fortunate Cele of Radio Khwezi.

The winners of each category received R10, 000 and a trophy; and the overall winner won R20, 000, a certificate and a trophy.

Mr. Lumko Mtimde, the Chief Executive Officer of the MDDA, in his speech at the Awards evening on Friday, said; “In the late eighties and early nineties there were lots of prophets of doom saying community radio will never survive. Today we have more than 90 community radio stations on air. These were licensed since from 1995. Tonight we are showcasing the talent that exists in the sector, even though most of this talent has been absorbed by either the PBS (Public Broadcasting Services) or Private Broadcasting Services and therefore growing the broadcasting industry. We congratulate all the winners, the finalists and runners up. But we also thank all the entrants and wish them the best in the next awards, hopefully in 2009.”

Judges for the awards were drawn from the wide spectrum of the communications and media sector, including some of the former activists who were part of the birth of community radio in South Africa and they are:

Libby Lloyd - former MDDA CEO, currently self-employed and works on a range of projects including media and development issues and policy development,
Pheladi Gwangwa - Radio 702 Station Manager and former ICASA employee,
Joe Mjwara - Group Executive Strategic Relations: Business Connexion and former Deputy Director General of the Department of Communications,
Mapule Mbhalati - Head: Radio News SABC,
Criselda Kananda - MD: Positive Talk Services & Metro FM Talk Host,
Lawrence Ubisi - Programme Manager: Munghana Lonene FM and formerly from the Radio Bushbuckridge
Franklin Huizies - CEO of the National Community Radio Forum

The Community Media Awards ceremony is the first of many to come and is a platform that will be used to reward and recognise the excellent work done by South African journalists in community media. The intention by the partners is to strive to encourage the community media to go beyond the call of duty, elevate to the highest standards and grow the industry.

It is expected that the awards will promote professionalism in the Community Media and build capacity in the respective areas of focus in the value chain of broadcasting and the media, that will contribute to the growth and development of the media.

Mr. Bheki Khumalo, Chairperson of the News Sub Committee in the SABC Board said, “We are very excited and dedicated to nurturing talent in the journalism industry. We believe that through the Community Media Awards a high caliber of authentic South African news leaders will be bred and their work will continue to shine locally and globally.”

Although this year's event focused mainly on broadcasting, it is hoped that in the years ahead this event will grow into broad Community Media Awards that will include print and other electronic mediums such as television and the internet.

The judges felt that they would not be able to make a fair decision regarding winners in the categories for Best Community Radio Station and Best Station Manager. This was having regard to the information submitted by various community radio stations and station managers, the criteria and the time allocated for the adjudication of Awards. Accordingly, the judges had this to say,

“Unfortunately there will not be an award for the Best Community Radio Station and Best Radio Station Manager. The information that was requested for the stations to send did not enable the judges to judge on the criteria given within the allocated time for judging. The information was more formative than substantive. Therefore we could not make a fair and objective judgment. We thank and appreciate the effort from all radio stations and apologize for the inconvenience! This in no way is a reflection on the ability of any of those that entered.”

Mr. Lumko Mtimde, the CEO of the MDDA, in his closing speech at the Awards evening on Friday concluded by saying “its good to acknowledge and celebrate excellence”
30 Jun 2008 13:05