Award-winning journalist, author and activist Zubeida Jaffer was awarded an honorary doctorate by Stellenbosch University (SU) at its December graduation. She received the degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), honoris causa, on Monday (5 December 2022) at an in-person graduation ceremony for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Jaffer was honoured for her outstanding contribution to the South African media industry, her commitment to factual and accurate reporting so as to inform and empower and for sharing her knowledge to guide a new generation of journalists.
In her acceptance speech, Jaffer thanked SU for bestowing on her the institution's highest accolade.
“The honorary degree came as a huge, but pleasant surprise."
Jaffer also paid homage to those journalists and others “who have made enormous efforts not only to secure freedom in this country, but to do so on a platform constantly committed to uniting South Africans in their diversity and not encouraging the impulse towards separateness".
In her message to the graduates, Jaffer said she firmly believes that they would not take the country backwards but would seek creative solutions to our challenges.
More about Jaffer
Zubeida Jaffer started her career at the daily newspaper Cape Times in 1980 and later helped develop local community papers such as Grassroots during the time of resistance to apartheid.
She was the founding editor of Independent Newspapers' parliamentary bureau, serving 14 newspapers across South Africa. Her articles have appeared in newspapers across Africa as well as further afield, such as Japan, India, the United Kingdom and United States.
Jaffer holds a master's degree from Columbia University in New York. Committed to safeguarding the future of free and accurate reporting, she is also the publisher of the website The Journalist. This ground-breaking platform provides context on key issues facing South African reporters, equipping journalism students with a uniquely South African perspective of the profession.
She is the first woman in Africa to have won the coveted foreign journalist award from the United States National Association of Black Journalists. Her work has also earned her numerous other local and international awards. These include the Muslim Views achiever award, the University of Missouri's honour medal for distinguished service to journalism, and the Allan Kirkland Soga lifetime achievement award.
Photo: Zubeida Jaffer at the graduation ceremony. Photographer: Stefan Els.