15 March 2011
South Africa’s National Press Club has named World Cup Local Organising Committee chief Danny Jordaan and Fifa president Sepp Blatter as its Newsmakers of the Year for 2010.
At a ceremony in Pretoria on Monday night, the club also honoured Jordaan and Blatter for their role in bringing the biggest soccer showpiece on earth to Africa for the first time in Fifa’s 100 years of existence.
“They have not only brought us this wonderful spectacle that united our country, but through their work in the period leading to the event, they had ensured a lasting legacy for both South Africa and the continent,” said National Press Club chairman Yusuf Abramjee.
The Newsmaker of the Year title is awarded to individuals and issues that have dominated the news in the year. Previous recipients include former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, current President Jacob Zuma and even the local currency, the rand.
“You know the World Cup was the best thing that had happened to this country since 1994,” Jordaan said on receiving the award. “It brought all of us together, and we need not lose the unifying element it has brought to our country, because it is through sports that we can really break the race divide and prosper as a nation.”
Receiving the award on behalf of Blatter, Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said the football body had made the right choice in bringing the World Cup to South Africa.
“I need not say much about South Africa’s abilities anymore, everybody knows how the World Cup was,” Valcke said. “South Africa is one of the best countries in the world right now, and well done.”
A few journalists also walked away with honours after being selected as winners in various categories. Radio 702 Eye Witness News reporter Mandy Wiener scooped the Journalist of the Year in the radio category, while Pretoria News journalist Graeme Hosken took the same award in the print category.
Masi Losi, also from Pretoria News, was named Photographer of the Year, while Gautrain spokesperson Barbara Jensen was selected Media Officer of the Year.
The judges chose City Press Editor Ferial Hafajee as Editor of the Year for the work she has done in repositioning the newspaper since taking over more than a year ago.