eHowzit sports editor Quintin van Jaarsveld was named Vodacom Sports Journalist of the Year for the KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga region at the Hilton Hotel in Durban on Friday evening.
This year’s Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards introduced new categories more in keeping with the 21st Century media landscape. The theme for the 2018 awards is ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword’ and the competition drew close to 1 000 entries from all over the country.
For the first time, the KwaZulu-Natal region expanded to include Mpumalanga this year, with Shelly Beach-based Van Jaarsveld becoming the enlarged region’s inaugural Sports Journalist of the Year.
The esteemed panel of judges remarked, “Sport can unify and inspire the nation – but it can also bring division, disaster, and dissent. The many moods of our people are reflected in sports journalism as it celebrates the glory and elegance of great sporting achievements; analyses, questions or even mourns great sporting heroes. The judges looked for eloquent, lucid, in-depth sports journalism, beyond reporting on results and numbers.
“The contestants in this category entered work of a very high standard. Entrants showed exceptional commitment and dedication to getting to the heart of the story. The winner in this category stood head and shoulders above the rest. For a body of work including entries on The Roof of Africa, Touch and Go, and a story called Empowering Journey Fit for a Champion, the winner is Quintin van Jaarsveld from eHowzit.”
“I’m stunned to be honest,” said Van Jaarsveld. “I approach my career according to Colossians 3:23, which says, ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people’, so this is truly a gift from God.”
Van Jaarsveld suffered a broken neck in a first team rugby match in 2000. Playing for Hoërskool Suid-Natal against Durban North College, he landed on his neck after being tackled from behind, which left the talented scrumhalf a quadriplegic at the age of 16.
“My circumstances aren’t exactly ideal, so for the Lord Jesus Christ to bless me with this award is beyond humbling. The stamp of approval and kind words of the judges mean the world and it’s an honour and a privilege to win this award,” said the 35-year-old.
“All credit goes to God for blessing me with the talent and ability to live out my passion, and to my family for all the help, support and sacrifice over the years.
“What I do isn’t a tenth of the bigger picture – God, my parents and my brother Jacques have done and continue to do so much to enable me to have this career, so this award is theirs, not mine.
“Thanks to the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund, the Cunningham Kemp Trust Fund, the KZN Rugby Union, the eHowzit team and my physio Marinda Salotto. I can’t thank them enough for their support.”
This is Van Jaarsveld’s third regional Vodacom Sports Journalist of the Year award, the first coming in 2013 and the second when he shared the prize with Myron Naicker of eNCA last year.
He’s also a former MDDA-Sanlam South African Local Sports Journalist of the Year, Fever Newspaper Group Most Outstanding Journalist of the Year and Media24 award winner.
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group said: “We are pleased with the response to the updated categories that were introduced this year. It’s vital that the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards remain relevant and a true reflection of the changing media landscape.
“Special thanks go to our judges Ryland Fisher, Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Collin Nxumalo, Mathatha Tshedu, Albe Grobbelaar, Megan Rusi and Obed Zilwa, who continue to lend their time and expertise in the adjudication of these awards.”
Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher said: “There was an excellent array of entries across the 12 new categories this year, with 131 entries from the KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga region. The winners can be proud of the work they have done and we hope to see even more entries from this region next year.”
The other regional winners on the night were Ziyanda Ngcobo and Pieter Theron from EWN (investigative), Matthew Savides from Tiso Blackstar (opinion), freelance reporter Glynis Horning and Dasen Thathia from eNCA (lifestyle/feature), Jackie Clausen from Tiso Blackstar (photography), Sam Sole, Susan Comrie and Craig McKune from AmaBhungane (economic/financial), Sabelo Nsele from The Witness (politics), Julie Laurenz from Nguni TV (CSI/sustainability), Dasen Thathiah, Nkanyiso Mdlalose, Susanna Holmes, Terence Stone, and Francois Grobler from eNCA (live reporting/breaking news), Jeff Wicks, Suthentira Govender and Lwandile Bhengu from TimesLive (multi-platform) and Vuyelwa Mtolo from Media24 (young journalist).
The regional winners will now advance to the national awards in Johannesburg on 29 November.
EDITOR’S COMMENT: Congratulations Quintin, you are an exceptional human being and eHowzit’s greatest asset. Thank you for being an example not only to journalists everywhere, but to people who are in the same situation as you.
You are living proof that with faith and sheer perseverance, seemingly insurmountable odds can be overcome. What you have accomplished is simply amazing. Heartfelt thanks to your parents and family, without whose love and care your amazing career would not have been possible. We salute you.