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The 2016 Arts Journalism of the Year Award winners were announced this morning 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 in 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.

The NAF’s CEO, Tony Lankester, noted “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,” according to BASA’s Marketing Manager, 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.”

Follow the Arts Journalism Awards using the hashtag #ArtsJourn and on:

National Arts Festival


The full list of winners is as follows:

Arts Journalist of the Year Awards 2015/2016
List of Winners
Gold Winner
Name Publication
Lesley Stones The Daily Maverick/ Artslink
Silver Winners  
Name Publication
Lesley Stones Artslink/The Daily Maverick
Marina Griebenow INK (Publication of the Woordfees)
Marina Griebenow INK (Publication of the Woordfees)
David Fick
Herman Lategan Die Burger/Beeld/Volksblad and Netwerk24
Herman Lategan Die Burger/Beeld/Volksblad and Netwerk24
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  
Name Publication
Christiaan J de Swardt LitNet
Silver Winners  
Name Publication
Wendyl Martin Weekend Argus/The Star – Independent Media
Sue de Groot Sunday Times
Gabriella Pinto The Creative Showcase Between 10 and 5


Gold Winners  
Name Publication
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  
Name Publication
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  
Name Publication
Nontobeko Sibisi eNCA
Silver Winners  
Name Publication
Johan Van Lill RSG
Nigel Vermaas SAFM


Gold Winner  
Name Publication
Nardus Engelbrecht Channel24
Silver Winners  
Name Publication
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
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