Home News Sinelizwi Awards: Drama, tears, fashion and a shocker!

Sinelizwi Awards: Drama, tears, fashion and a shocker!

Mzansi is buzzing after the first Sinelizwi Citizen Journalist of the Year Awards. The glitzy event, hosted on a wine farm, brought together top achievers from across the country

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Emotional speeches, loads of laughs, bubbly, high fashion, tears and drama. Food For Mzansi’s inaugural Sinelizwi Citizen Journalist of the Year Awards was the highlight of the year.

The ceremony went down at the picturesque Rhebokskloof wine estate in Paarl in the Western Cape. Just more than 40 invited guests attended the socially distanced event. Here’s a rundown of the highlights. The pictures were taken by Dané Vermeulen.

The drama…

Rejoyce Legodi nearly did not make it to the Mother City for the Sinelizwi awards. Out of all the invited guests, her travel arrangements were the trickiest because it involved four different flights in a space of four days.

Rejoyce Legodi from Limpopo chatting to Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa on arrival at the Sinelizwi ceremony. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Rejoyce Legodi from Limpopo chatting to Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa upon her arrival at the Sinelizwi ceremony. Photo: Food For Mzansi

The afternoon before her first early-bird flight from Polokwane to OR Tambo International, however, Airlink called with shocking news.

It had suspended all its Polokwane services with immediate effect after the South African Civil Aviation Authority said the airport didn’t meet the minimum requirements for commercial air services.

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Legodi, a public administration graduate, had to quickly make a plan B. Luckily she was already packed for the trip, so she could immediately jump on a taxi service to Jozi where she stayed the night before her flight from OR the next morning.

It’s a good thing she made it to the ceremony because she was announced as Limpopo’s top Sinelizwi performer.

The draw-jopper…

The biggest shocker came when, hours after the Sinelizwi ceremony and luncheon, a call came through from five participants who missed their flight back to OR Tambo.

Rising farming star Gugulethu Mahlangu celebrating her win as Gauteng’s top Sinelizwi journalist with Food For Mzansi journalist Noluthando Ngcakani. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Rising farming star Gugulethu Mahlangu celebrating her win as Gauteng’s top Sinelizwi journalist with Food For Mzansi journalist Noluthando Ngcakani. Photo: Food For Mzansi

Our sources say they were dropped off in time by their shuttle, but somehow didn’t get through all the security checks and stuff on time.

Sinelizwi Games Master Duncan Masiwa’s jaw dropped. Shame, he was really worried about Gugulethu Mahlangu, Lieketseng Lecheko, Nozipho Ntshingila, Lebogang Malebo and Sharon Ndlovu who were now in a fix at Cape Town airport.

Luckily it was just a few administrative details that could be quickly sorted out. Mahlangu, a farmer and Gauteng’s top performer, made it onto the next flight.

The rest, however, had to sleep over for another night in Cape Town to catch an early flight back on Saturday.

Lecheko and Ndlovu were the Free State and Mpumalanga’s top Sinelizwi achievers.

Ntshingila also was the first runner-up in the prestigious Sinelizwi Citizen Journalist of the Year category besides being awarded for outstanding participation. Malebo was Sinelizwi’s News Journalist of the Year.

The fashion…

Television presenter and actress Chanelle Davids-Abrahams hosted the Sinelizwi Citizen Journalism Awards 2020. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Television presenter and actress Chanelle Davids-Abrahams hosted the Sinelizwi Citizen Journalism Awards 2020. Photo: Food For Mzansi

Besides being a heart-warming, thought-provoking and downright entertaining event, the Sinelizwi top achievers and guests were also dressed to the nines. It was a day-time event, so tuxedos and evening gowns would not work, but that didn’t stop them from still dressing up.

Television host and actress Chanelle Davids-Abrahams set the tone with her classy look and flawless performance as MC for the Sinelizwi awards.

She is one of South Africa’s most loved presenters after being on the screen for, among others, Hectic Nine-9 and Beter assie bure. Also, Davids-Abrahams currently stars in the new hit movie, Swirl.

Singer Zeldene McDonald had the tongues wagging with her glitzy black outfit. Yellow, grey and black never looked so good until Mpumalanga’s top Sinelizwi performer Sharon Ndlovu wore it.

Plus, everyone was gushing over the outfits of Yamkela Welaphi from YehBaby Digital and Jo-Ann Prinsloo, a radio personality with Radio KC 107.7 FM.

The tears…

There was not a dry eye in the room when Terri-Ann Brouwers, Jessica Isaacs and Busisiwe Mganxela took the podium. The three Sinelizwi graduates movingly shared the impact of the programme on their personal lives.

Brouwers was crowned as Sinelizwi Citizen Journalist of the Year – the biggest of all the prizes handed over during the event. She admitted that she doubtfully submitted her application, not realising that it would turn into a life-changing experience.

Say cheese. Food For Mzansi journalist Duncan Masiwa celebrating with Western Cape Sinelizwi achievers Jessica Isaacs and Terri-Ann Brouwers. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Say cheese. Food For Mzansi journalist Duncan Masiwa celebrating with Western Cape Sinelizwi achievers Jessica Isaacs and Terri-Ann Brouwers. Photo: Food For Mzansi

“This was all during a time that I was battling very bad depression and anxiety… When the names were released (of the candidates approved for the programme) it was on a day that I was having very bad suicidal thoughts,” said Brouwers, a journalism student from the Western Cape.

“I got the message and said, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ And I think that set the tone for how this programme saved me in my darkest moments for the next year.”

Busisiwe Mngaxela was there when Food For Mzansi first launched Sinelizwi in Mkhubiso, a rural village in the Eastern Cape. Besides being an agro-ecological farmer, she has also completed the citizen journalism programme. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Busisiwe Mngaxela was there when Food For Mzansi first launched Sinelizwi in Mkhubiso, a rural village in the Eastern Cape. Besides being an agro-ecological farmer, she has also completed the citizen journalism programme. Photo: Food For Mzansi

Meanwhile Mganxela, an Eastern Cape farmer and Sinelizwi’s top performer in the province, struggled to hold back the tears.

“We want to thank Sinelizwi for this marvellous programme. From March last year, just before lockdown, I could see a theme; a journey by train.

“And all those that are my age will know we had to write a composition like that at school and you had to hadn’t even travelled by train. But here (with Food For Mzansi) we experienced travelling…”

Also, Jessica Isaacs, a Cape Town mother and entrepreneur, said the Sinelizwi programme came at just the right time.

“The day that I had to apply I was on the way to buy groceries with my kids in the car. I thought, ‘They won’t take me.’ But I tried… I was praying, ‘God, I really want to do something else.”

WATCH: The live recording of the Sinelizwi awards ceremony

The laughs…

Simanga Mhlope, KwaZulu-Natal’s top Sinelizwi performer, had the crowd in stitches when he shared his experience of the programme.

Simanga Mhlope is KwaZulu-Natal’s top Sinelizwi performer. He received his award from journalist Robin Adams. Mhlope is a freelance journalist, author and award-winning radio personality. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Simanga Mhlope is KwaZulu-Natal’s top Sinelizwi performer. He received his award from journalist Robin Adams. Mhlope is a freelance journalist, author and award-winning radio personality. Photo: Food For Mzansi

He said when people in Stanger, his hometown, heard that he was flying to Cape Town for the awards they had a very peculiar request.

“They asked me to come back with a wife,” he said. “So, if any of you ladies are doing nothing this coming weekend. Don’t worry. It’s already arranged.”

Mhlope, an author and award-winning radio personality, had high praise for Sinelizwi. “It really gave us everything a journalist should be and should not be. From understanding what is news, how to pick your sources, interviewing tips and everything in-between.”

More Sinelizwi highlights

Nozipho Ntshingila walked away with three Sinelizwi awards. Journalist Robin Adams congratulated her. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Nozipho Ntshingila walked away with three Sinelizwi awards. Journalist Robin Adams congratulated her. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Simanga Mhlope is KwaZulu-Natal’s top Sinelizwi performer. He received his award from journalist Robin Adams. Mhlope is a freelance journalist, author and award-winning radio personality. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Simanga Mhlope is KwaZulu-Natal’s top Sinelizwi performer. He received his award from journalist Robin Adams. Mhlope is a freelance journalist, author and award-winning radio personality. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Rejoyce Legodi, Sinelizwi’s top performer in Limpopo, received her reward from global broadcaster Robin Adams. Legodi holds a degree in public administration from the University of Limpopo and also graduated from the Young African Leaders Institute. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Rejoyce Legodi, Sinelizwi’s top performer in Limpopo, received her reward from global broadcaster Robin Adams. Legodi holds a degree in public administration from the University of Limpopo and also graduated from the Young African Leaders Institute. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Global sports journalist Robin Adams congratulating Gugulethu Mahlangu, a Gauteng farmer, for also coming out tops as her province’s Sinelizwi candidate. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Global sports journalist Robin Adams congratulating Gugulethu Mahlangu, a Gauteng farmer, for also coming out tops as her province’s Sinelizwi candidate. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Terri-Ann Brouwers was announced as Sinelizwi’s citizen journalist of the year. She is currently studying towards a journalism degree and described the programme as a life-saver while battling with mental health challenges. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Terri-Ann Brouwers was announced as Sinelizwi’s citizen journalist of the year. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Lebogang Malebo beat participants from all corners of South Africa in the category as Sinelizwi News Journalist of the Year. He was congratulated by Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa and Kobus Louwrens. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Lebogang Malebo beat participants from all corners of South Africa in the category as Sinelizwi News Journalist of the Year. He was congratulated by Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa and Kobus Louwrens. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Gugulethu Mahlangu, Nozipho Ntshingila and Lebogang Malebo celebrating their success in the Sinelizwi citizen journalism programme. Mahlungu was Gauteng’s top performer while Ntshingila walked away with three awards. Besides being the top Gauteng performer she also won the award for outstanding participation. Furthermore, she was the first runner-up in the Sinelizwi Citizen Journalist of the Year award. Malebo was the Sinelizwi News Journalist of the Year. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Gugulethu Mahlangu, Nozipho Ntshingila and Lebogang Malebo celebrating their success in the Sinelizwi citizen journalism programme. Mahlungu was Gauteng’s top performer while Ntshingila walked away with three awards. Besides being the top Gauteng performer she also won the award for outstanding participation. Furthermore, she was the first runner-up in the Sinelizwi Citizen Journalist of the Year award. Malebo was the Sinelizwi News Journalist of the Year. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Xoliswa Xulubana from the Eastern Cape has successfully completed the Sinelizwi programme. She was congratulated by Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa and Kobus Louwrens. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Xoliswa Xulubana from the Eastern Cape has successfully completed the Sinelizwi programme. She was congratulated by Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa and Kobus Louwrens. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Thabiso Ndobo from the Free State successfully completed the Sinelizwi programme. He volunteers as news editor for a community-based publication, and also has a passion for community radio. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Thabiso Ndobo from the Free State successfully completed the Sinelizwi programme. He volunteers as news editor for a community-based publication, and also has a passion for community radio. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Vateka Halile from Khayelitsha in the Western Cape (in the middle) was congratulated by Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa and Kobus Louwrens. Halile is a promising poet and writer known for his work in isiXhosa. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Vateka Halile from Khayelitsha in the Western Cape (in the middle) was congratulated by Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa and Kobus Louwrens. Halile is a promising poet and writer known for his work in isiXhosa. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa and Kobus Louwrens congratulating Jason Jakuja for completing the Sinelizwi programme. Jakuja is a presenter with Radio Helderberg. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa and Kobus Louwrens congratulating Jason Jakuja for completing the Sinelizwi programme. Jakuja is a presenter with Radio Helderberg. Photo: Food For Mzansi
The awardees in the 2020 Sinelizwi Citizen Journalist of the Year awards moments after the glitzy ceremony in Paarl in the Western Cape. Photo: Food For Mzansi
The awardees in the 2020 Sinelizwi Citizen Journalist of the Year awards moments after the glitzy ceremony in Paarl in the Western Cape. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Ronelle Louwrens, the CEO of YehBaby Digital, pictured with colleagues Ricardo Silva and Gareth Davies. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Ronelle Louwrens, the CEO of YehBaby Digital, pictured with colleagues Ricardo Silva and Gareth Davies. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Food For Mzansi’s 2020 Sinelizwi Citizen Journalist of the Year awards were presented at the picturesque Rhebokskloof wine estate in Paarl in the Western Cape. Photo: Food For Mzansi
The picturesque Rhebokskloof wine estate in the Western Cape. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Food For Mzansi co-founder Kobus Louwrens addressing awardees and other guests during the Sinelizwi ceremony. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Food For Mzansi co-founder Kobus Louwrens addressing awardees and other guests during the Sinelizwi ceremony. Photo: Food For Mzansi
A veteran sports journalist and broadcaster, Robin Adams, was the keynote speaker at the Sinelizwi ceremony. His work has captured the imaginations of global audiences. Photo: Food For Mzansi
A veteran sports journalist and broadcaster, Robin Adams, was the keynote speaker at the Sinelizwi ceremony. His work has captured the imaginations of global audiences. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Food For Mzansi co-founder and editor-in-chief Ivor Price congratulating Sinelizwi candidates who have successfully completed the year-long programme. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Food For Mzansi co-founder and editor-in-chief Ivor Price congratulating Sinelizwi candidates who have successfully completed the year-long programme. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Food For Mzansi journalist Noluthando Ngcakani featured with Ricardo Silva, who heads up concept editor and communication at YehBaby Digital. Photo: Food For Mzansi
Food For Mzansi journalist Noluthando Ngcakani featured with Ricardo Silva, who heads up concept editor and communication at YehBaby Digital. Photo: Food For Mzansi
The glitzy Sinelizwi Citizen Journalism Awards 2021 was presented from the picturesque Rhebokskloof wine estate in Paarl in the Western Cape. Photo: Food For Mzansi
The glitzy Sinelizwi Citizen Journalism Awards 2021 was presented from the picturesque Rhebokskloof wine estate in Paarl in the Western Cape. Photo: Food For Mzansi
The CEO of YehBaby Digital, Ronelle Louwrens (right), in conversation with well-loved Namaqualand storyteller Danneline Ramsden. Photo: Food For Mzansi
The CEO of YehBaby Digital, Ronelle Louwrens (right), in conversation with well-loved Namaqualand storyteller Danneline Ramsden. Photo: Food For Mzansi
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