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Nat Nakasa Award for courageous journalism goes to Qaanitah Hunter

Hunter expressed gratitude towards Sanef for the award.

Qaanitah Hunter

JOHANNESBURG - Political journalist at the Sunday Times Qaanitah Hunter, walked away with the Nat Nakasa Award for Courageous Journalism this year.

The 2019 Nat Nakasa Awards ceremony of the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) took place on Saturday.

Replying to the award on her Twitter account, Hunter wrote “Wow. I am so humbled. Thank you, Sanef for the 2019 Nat Nakasa award, for courageous journalism.”

The criteria for the award is as follows:

  1. Show integrity and report fearlessly;

  2. Display a commitment to serve the people of South Africa;

  3. Tenaciously strive to maintain a publication or other medium despite obstacles;

  4. Resist censorship; and

  5. Show courage in making information available to South Africa’s public

She started on Muslim radio and has been a journalist since 2011. She has worked for publications such as The Sunday Times, Daily Maverick, Eyewitness News, the Mail & Guardian.

Her nominator, Muhammad Abdool, wrote:

“When Nat Nakasa passed on, he was 28 years old and by then already had a dynamic and impact-full career in journalism. Which is why it is only fitting that this award this year is given to a young journalist, who at 25 years old has proven to be a fearless journalist who is committed to her craft…

“As a young powerhouse, she has been at the forefront of political reporting in South Africa. Having started as a 17 or 18 year old, she has accomplished much more than any of her seniors. In her reporting on state capture, governance and party politics she has shown utmost integrity and has reported fearlessly. Her body of work has made her one of the country’s lead investigative and political reporters.

“Her reporting on the so-called ‘Maharani meeting’ proved that she is not only a skilled reporter, but does not shake in her boots when threatened. She has faced a litany of attacks, including death threats, from supporters of former president Jacob Zuma. She has fought back against legal threats and blatant intimidation. Her reporting sets the agenda week after week and I find that she focuses on stories that many ignore.

“(She) recently shared her battle with anxiety and has begun an open conversation about the need for journalists to get therapy. She has advocated for open conversations about mental health in newsrooms, which has prompted many other journalists to come forward with their stories.

“As a young female journalist, (she) has proven over and over again that she (stands against) censorship, shows courage and works tirelessly to uncover the truth.”