Former motoring journo honoured!

The Steve Dlamini Award for Excellence in Motoring Journalism was created to recognize the kind of excellence and passion that the late Steve Dlamini showed towards motoring journalism in his relatively short career.

Says Desiree van Niekerk of Bridgestone South Africa:”Bridgestone SAare again pleased to honour the memory of Steve Dlamini with this award.

We recognise the kind of excellence and passion shown in this industry and we would like to congratulate the winner of the Bridgestone Steve Dlamini Award for Excellence in Motoring Journalism in advance for the enthusiasm and dedication with which he or she works in the motoring industry.”

All entries into the various MJOY categories are automatically considered for this award, provided that the winner is a young, up and coming motoring journalist aged younger than 26, employed as a motoring journalist for at least two (but no more than five years) and who has been a member of the SAGMJ for less than five years.

The SAGMJ’s Motoring Journalist of the Year competition, sponsored byToyota Financial Services South Africa since 2013, seeks to recognise excellence in motoring journalism and photography and to honour journalists and photographers who inform, enlighten and entertain readers, listeners or viewers.

The SAGMJ believes that, through the presentation of these awards, its members will aspire to improve and advance the quality and standards of motoring journalism and photography in South Africa.

* Dlamini was respected as a vocal character within the motoring industry.

Both his reporting and public engagements solicited different feelings.

Whilst still with City Press, he wrote a damning story on racism still plagued in the automotive sector.

The question is, has that changed now? As a motoring journo with clear conviction it hasn’t at all…

Here’s the piece that Dlamini-Kabini wrote in his living days.

City Press, Johannesburg, 03/03/2007 16:42 – (SA)

Racism keeps popping up in the motoring industry’

Steve Dlamini-Kabini

IT SEEMS racism just won’t go away. Thirteen years into democracy some fairer-skinned members of society still want to treat black people like second-class citizens.

This was the humiliation I had to go through last weekend at the A1 Grand Prix held in eThekwini.

I was crucified by A1 GP press officer Peter Burroughes for asking why City Press was excluded from invitation lists of the media that attend the A1 GP.

A group of journalists has been invited several times to the international A1 GP event, but City Press has never been invited and no one seems to have answers.

At the media centre the liaison officer treated me like a garden boy, shouting in full view of local and international motoring journalists. Hey, even garden boys have rights.

I found it quite disturbing that Burroughes yelled at me in that fashion, saying that I was an embarrassment to motoring journalism, making me look bad in front of his white comrades.

Is it wrong to raise a concern when one is not invited to a motoring event? Did he behave like that because a black journalist questioned him?

The A1 GP was supposed to be a race for the people, yet the organisers didn’t even make sure that black publications are part of it in terms of coverage.

It shows how far off the mark they are in terms of reaching the masses, particularly the youngsters in townships and black communities countrywide.

There are four drivers in the A1 GP SA team and it is disappointing that none of them is black. Are we suggesting that there are no capable black drivers in the country? It makes me wonder.

The motor industry is slow to transform or to appreciate the cultural differences and diverse perceptions of SA communities.

A quick glance at the motoring companies based locally reveals that senior management posts are held by previously and currently advantaged individuals.

No matter how qualified, intelligent, astute or knowledgeable, it seems that black professionals will always be regarded by some as inferior.

I am not surprised. Racism keeps on popping up in this booming industry. Some whites call us (black journalists) bobbejaantjies (little baboons) behind our backs.

This happened last year when two white public relations officers referred to a black female motoring journalist as a “bobbejaantjie” in an email that was accidentally copied to her by a technologically challenged sender.

Black colleagues have always warned of racism in the industry but I thought they were exaggerating as I hadn’t experience it first-hand until last weekend, when it stared me in the face.

This was a sign that not only SA Rugby has to transform, but all sectors.

There was recently an investigation into racism in the media and frankly, I think the same has to apply to the entire automotive industry.

There is no transformation, and when some argue it does exist, it is probably at a snail’s pace.

Motoring journalism isn’t any better. Most of the people who are supposed to be on retirement (and are white) found a luxury old-age home in motoring journalism.

I was quite shocked to hear a white colleague saying to me that crime only affected whites in the country.

He further uttered a reckless statement that to white people crime was a problem and to black people it’s okay.

The old man, who is not even South African by birth, wrapped up his comments by saying: “We are white and we don’t have to be apologetic about it.”

It seems we need to arrange counselling for some South Africans as apartheid has destroyed them psychologically.

Only time will tell how long it will take for everyone in this country to acknowledge that all South Africans are equal.

  • Dlamini-Kabini is City Press motoring editor









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