Wednesday, 13 November 2019 20:31

The 31th annual SAB Environmental Media Environmentalist of the Year Awards 2019, took place at a ceremony at AB InBev headquarters last night.

Nearly 200 environmental entries were received from South African journalists reporting across categories of Video Media, Audio Media, Written Media and Photography, with renowned rhino calf response and rehabilitation expert, Karen Trendler receiving the Nick Steele Memorial Award for Environmentalist of the Year, for the on-going instrumental role she plays in rhino calf rescue.

For the first time, the SAB Environmental Community Award, recognising community-based environmental projects, was given to environmental scientist and author Fortunate Phaka, for his frog handbook, the first to be written in isiZulu and English, with input from local community members in KwaZulu-Natal.

“This award is aimed at helping those on the ground make a difference in communities that are affected, more than most, by daily environmental challenges,” said Zoleka Lisa, SAB VP Corporate Affairs and Sustainability SA.


The winners of the SAB Environmental Media and Environmentalism Awards 2019 are:

  • Written Media Award (Print and Online) - Bongani Fuzile, Daily Dispatch for his investigation into a possible Cholera outbreak in the Eastern Cape.
  • Written Media Award (Magqubu Ntombela and Ian Player Cub Award) – Ahmed Kajee, EWN for his investigation into how South African could run out of water by 2030.
  • Photography Award (Print and Online) - Alon Skuy, Sunday Times for his work capturing the treatment and recovery of Chaos the lion from skin cancer.
  • Video Media Award (Magqubu Ntombela and Ian Player Cub Award) - Shivan Parusnath, 50/50 for the work he did on the Sungazer lizards and the impact of the illegal reptile trade in South Africa.
  • Video Media Award (short form) – John Webb, Carte Blanche for his entries on the impact of Palm Oil on the environment, how Mpumalanga is regarded by Greenpeace Africa as the world’s worst Nitrogen Dioxide hot spot and the risk that rising planet temperatures could thaw carbon-rich Permafrost in the Arctic, causing methane gas to be released and turn the earth into a global hothouse.
  • Video Media Award (long form) - Bonne de Bod and Susan Scott, freelancers for Stroop: Journey into the Rhino Horn War
  • Audio Media Award (short form) - Kaylynn Palm, EWN, for her entries on the drought and its effects on the Western Cape.
  • Audio Media Award (long form) - Suzanne Paxton, RSG, for her investigation into the effects of humans and climate change on the country’s flora and fauna.
  • Nick Steele Memorial Award for the Environmentalist of the Year - Karen Trendler
  • SAB Environmental Community Award - Fortunate Phaka


Each category winner received R15 000 in cash, while the Magqubu Ntombela and Ian Player Cub Award winners each received R7 000.

Commenting on the awards, convenor Katy Katopodis commented on the current environmental crisis the world is facing saying, “there’s never been a more important time to for journalists to write stories about this critical issue. The environment has a direct impact on every aspect of our economy and our lives and we encourage all journalists to keep writing about the catastrophic effects of climate change.”

SAB has committed to several sustainability goals to be achieved by 2025 in the areas of Water Stewardship, Smart Agriculture, Climate Action, Circular Packaging and Entrepreneurship. “Transforming a global business into one which is environmentally friendly is a behemoth task, but one which we know is vital for the sustainability of our business and the communities in which we operate,” Lisa said.