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Arts Journalism of the Year Award: all the winners

Published on 28 November 2016

The 2016 Arts Journalism of the Year Award winners were announced on Monday 28 November at a ceremony at Nando’s Central Kitchen in Johannesburg.

A partnership between the National Arts Festival (NAF) and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), these awards recognise excellence in journalism that explores and celebrates the arts and creativity across a number of categories.

The Arts Journalist of the Year 2016 was awarded to Niren Tolsi, who is a widely published freelance journalist.

Lesley Stones took both the overall Gold and a Silver in the Reviews Category (Written Word) for her work for Artslink and Daily Maverick.

In the News Category (Written Word), Christiaan J de Swardt won Gold for his work on Litnet, and Niren Tolsi also took home Gold in the Features Category (Written Word) for his work in City Press. ENCA’s Nontobeko Sibisi won Gold for the Broadcast Category.

Photographer Nardus Engelbrecht was the Gold winner for Photography for his Channel24 contributions, and the Organisational Award went to City Press for their ongoing excellent standard of and commitment to arts journalism.

The Lifetime Acheivement Award was given to Adrienne Sichel, and a Special Award for Innovation and Excellence went to online arts portal Ja.Magazine.

Tony Lankester, the CEO of the National Arts Festival, said: “These are challenging times for arts journalism as it shifts shape but we believe that the talent we have will survive the transitions and continue to bring great relevance to the sector.”

Business and Arts South Africa, who has partnered on the award since its inception, believes good arts journalism is a supporter and driver of narrative and of storytelling. “BASA strongly values such storytelling, in order to deepen the role and value of the arts in society,” says BASA Marketing Manager, cadana casino Lakin Morgan-Baatjies.

The panel of judges was convened by John Maytham, and included Andrew Tshabangu, Rafs Mayet, Darryl Accone, Robyn Sassen, Gwen Ansell, Finuala Dowling, and Jayne Morgan.

Commenting on this year’s entries, Maytham said: “Finding the media space and resources to do a proper job of covering the very vibrant SA arts scene remains a challenge. But the contributions recognised by these awards show that we have journalists passionate enough to navigate the landscape.”

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Full list of winners


Gold Winner

  • Lesley Stones, The Daily Maverick/ Artslink

Silver Winners

  • Lesley Stones, Artslink/The Daily Maverick
  • Marina Griebenow, INK (Publication of the Woordfees) – two Silvers
  • David Fick,
  • Herman Lategan, Die Burger/Beeld/Volksblad and Netwerk24 – two Silvers
  • Herman Lategan, INK (Publication of the Woordfees)
  • Herman Lategan, SPAT (Publication of the Aardklop festival)
  • Christiaan J de Swardt, De Kat & Vrouekeur
  • Steven Kretzmann, The Critter
  • Theresa Smith, Cape Argus Tonight – Independent Media
  • Niamh Walsh-Vorster, Ja. Magazine
  • Gayle Edmunds, City Press
  • Greg Kerr, Ceramics Southern Africa Magazine
  • Anton Krueger, Cue
  • Panashe Chigumadzi, City Press
  • Lwandile Fikeni, City Press


Gold Winner

  • Christiaan J de Swardt, LitNet

Silver Winners

  • Wendyl Martin, Weekend Argus/The Star – Independent Media
  • Sue de Groot, Sunday Times
  • Gabriella Pinto, The Creative Showcase Between 10 and 5


Gold Winners

  • Niren Tolsi, City Press
  • Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi, Financial Mail/Mail & Guardian/Red Bulletin
  • Theresa Smith, Cape Argus Tonight – Independent Media
  • Dave Mann, The Con

Silver Winners

  • Wilma Cruise, Ceramics Southern Africa Magazine
  • Keith Bain, Juice (Mango airline inflight magazine)
  • Keith Bain, High Life SA (British Airways inflight magazine)
  • Nontando Mposo, Cape Argus/IOL – Independent Media
  • Jo-Ann Floris, INK (Publication of the Woordfees)
  • Thuli Gamedze, ArtThrob
  • Tiyese Jeranji, People’s Post
  • Hagen Engler, The Red Bull Note (Publication of RBMA Weekender Festival)
  • Grethe Kemp, The Con
  • Oliver Roberts, Sunday Times Lifestyle
  • Lloyd Gedye, City Press
  • Khanya Mashabela, ArtThrob
  • Danielle O’Neill, Ja. Magazine/The Creative Showcase Between 10 and 5
  • Jennifer Malec, Sunday Times Books Live


Gold Winner

  • Nontobeko Sibisi eNCA

Silver Winners

  • Johan Van Lill RSG
  • Nigel Vermaas SAFM


Nardus Engelbrecht, Channel24

Silver Winners

Michael Pinyana I’solezwe lesixhosa – Independent Media

Danielle O’Neill Cue/Ja. Magazine


Gold Winner

  • City Press

Silver Winners

  • INK (Publication of the Woordfees)
  • The Con


  • Ja. Magazine


  • Adrienne Sichel


  • Niren Tolsi