Grassroots activists from Earthlife Africa, Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid, were awarded the honour of SAB Environmentalist of the Year at the 30th annual SAB Environmental Media and Environmentalist of the Year Awards 2018, today.
The Earthlife Africa pair received the Nick Steele Memorial Award for Environmentalist of the Year for their work in winning a crucial court case to halt plans by the South African government to proceed with a national nuclear build programme.
"The SAB Environmentalist of the Year awards acknowledges individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect the environment with the majority of the judges agreeing that the honour should go to Lekalakala and McDaid," says Katy Katopodis, Convenor of the awards.
The two built a broad coalition to stop the South African government’s massive secret nuclear deal with Russia. In April 2017, the High Court ruled that the $76 billion nuclear power project was unconstitutional—a landmark legal victory that protected South Africa from an unprecedented expansion of the nuclear industry and production of radioactive waste.
SAB also awarded several journalists for excelling in reporting on environmental matters in the categories of Video Media, Audio Media, Written Media and Photography.
More than 200 entries from media were received for the 30th anniversary edition of the awards.
"Recognising and rewarding work by the media, is an important part of making sure that big business, governments, communities and individuals take accountability for their actions, which have an impact on the environment. Your work not only shines a spotlight on the challenges that we face as a human race but also spurs action," continues Katopodis.
"At SAB, we have never shied away from the organisation's impact on the environment and on the communities in which we operate. We acknowledge the responsibility that we have towards preserving and protecting our natural resources, minimising our impact and making a substantial and real contribution to building the future of all," says David Hauxwell, VP Procurement and Sustainability, SAB and AB InBev Africa.
SAB and AB InBev this year announced their sustainable development strategy outlining their joint priorities for 2025. The key areas of focus are water, agriculture, climate change and circular packaging.
SAB also took the opportunity at the 30th Anniversary of the awards to announce a Legacy Award recognising community-based environmental projects. This award will be offered from 2019 onwards. “The legacy award will help those on the ground make a difference in communities that are affected, more than most, by daily environmental challenges,” says Hauxwell.
Judges for the 2018 awards were a mix of respected media from across the disciplines judged, namely Katy Katopodis (convenor), Derek Watts, Ntokozo Mbuli, Uveka Rangappa, Jonathan Fairbairn, Melini Moses, Liezl Thom, Steve Lawrence, Masi Losi, Neo Ntsoma, Charlie Mathews, Elise Templehoff and Thanduxolo Jika.
The winners of the SAB Environmental Media and Environmentalist of the Year 2018 are:
The Macqubu Ntombela and Ian Player Young Cub Award was awarded to Mlungisi Ntuli from 50/50 for the entry “The River Gives”, which follows the story of a group of young people who call themselves “Enviro Champs” whose actions reflect true conservation in action by the community, for the community.
The SAB Environmental Media Award for Photography went to 2014’s winner Adrian de Kock from Media 24 who travelled with a group of South Africa scientists and came across a rare group of 50 Humpback Whales and Southern Right whales.
The SAB Environmental Media Award for Written Media was awarded to 2014 winner, Fiona Macleod from Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism. Fiona and her team won for their multimedia journalism projects on how local neighbourhoods are surviving disruption by global climate change and the investigation into the anti-poaching buffer zone along Mozambique and Kruger National Park in South Africa.
The winner of the SAB Environmental Media Award for Audio Media, was first-time winner, Jamaine Krige from the SABC. Jamaine won for her detailed, insightful and heart-breaking story about how at least 800 dogs a week are poisoned with the banned pesticide Aldicarb used widely used by poaching syndicates and is regularly available on the streets of Johannesburg.
Sasha Schwendenwein from Carte Blanche won the Video Media category for the second year in a row, for her investigative stories on illegal slaughterhouses beneath the City of Johannesburg and how 90% of the high-calibre hunting rifles used for Rhino poaching came from one specific manufacturer in the Czech Republic.