Zubeida Jaffer is an award-winning South African journalist and author. She was a key figure in the struggle movement in the Western Cape in the apartheid years.
Her latest short publication, Not by Dread Alone, is an essay about the state of journalism in South Africa. Her memoir, Our Generation, eloquently tells the story of her emotional journey through the years of South Africa’s turbulence into a new democracy. One of her books, Love in the Time of Treason, has been described as a ‘tour de force’ and has been given a special mention at the prestigious Africa-wide literature award known as the Noma Awards. It is based on a true story of love between an Indian young man and a feisty political leader in rural South Africa.
Since 1980, she has worked for the Rand Daily Mail, the Cape Times, Grassroots and has been part of the movement that gave birth to a number of community newspapers all over the country. Post ‘94, she was the founding editor of the parliamentary bureau for Independent Newspapers, the major chain of 14 newspapers and was tasked with forging the formerly whites-only press corps into a diverse team.
Ms Jaffer holds an MSc degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York and bachelor degrees from the Rhodes University and the University of Cape Town. She has also been an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for African Studies and a fellow at UCT’s Africa Gender Institute. She has written for a wide-range of publications in South Africa and abroad. In 1994, her coverage of the Rwanda genocide was carried in the Hindu, in India, on French and South African radio, in the Asahi Shimbun in Japan and a number of other publications.
She is the first woman in Africa to have won the coveted foreign journalist award from the National Association of Black Journalists in the USA.
Ms Jaffer is known too for her community activism which has earned her at least two spells in apartheid South Africa’s notorious detention centres.