University of Cape Town: UCT’s Communication and Marketing Department shines at MACE Awards

Taking place annually, the awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of specialists and practitioners in marketing, advancement and communication in the higher education sector.

During this year’s virtual awards ceremony, UCT walked away with three gold, four silver and seven bronze awards in three different divisions (Skills, Campaigns and Media) and various categories.

Olwen Manuel, the department’s deputy director, said it was exciting to hear about the awards the team had won.

“We are so proud of each and every one behind these awards. We managed to develop a great remote working rhythm, and these awards are testament to our resourcefulness and to the anti‑fragility that has developed.

“Being recognised by our peers as being part of the best in the business of communication and marketing in the higher education sector adds to the sweetness of this shared success,” she said.

According to the MACE website, 109 awards were made to 11 institutions. A total of 163 entries were evaluated, with 65% of entries receiving an award. Thirty-five evaluators and a moderator spent 511 hours evaluating entries.

Shining bright

UCT’s three gold awards went to UCT News senior writer, Helen Swingler, for her piece titled The dead teach in a universal language; media liaison and monitoring officer Aamirah Sonday1 for a campaign focused on the 35-year anniversary of the Trojan Horse Massacre in Athlone (article one, article two, photo essay and video); and CMD’s head of video production, Roxanne Harris2, for the Thuma Mina video featuring the UCT Choir.

The following received silver and bronze awards:

Swingler for her article titled From Ugandan child soldier to PhD graduate (silver)
Carla Bernardo (acting newsroom coordinator and writer) for the District Six: 55 years later campaign3 (article one, article two, article three and article four) (silver) and her article UCT transforming, through the eyes of the Jaffer sisters (bronze)
Aloy Gowne (Senior Manager: Marketing and Stakeholder Relations) for the Vice‑Chancellor’s Open Lecture Series4 (silver) and the COVID‑19 Commemoration/Memorial – One Year On event5 (Bronze)
Niémah Davids (writer) for her articles titled UCT gave me freedom (silver), Touch down for SA’s banking Siri and Centre has ‘Africanised’ neuroscience (bronze)
Lerato Maduna (CMD senior photographer) for her coverage of the damage to the Jagger Reading Room during the recent UCT fire and the return of students to their residences following the fire evacuation6 (bronze)
Harris for her video coverage of the UCT Annual Awards 20207 (bronze).
Working remotely and breaking silos

“I am immensely proud of what the phenomenal women in our team delivered during a particularly difficult year,” said Omphitlhetse Mooki, Senior Manager: Newsroom and Video Production (NVP). “The stories, projects, photographs and videos were conceptualised and written/recorded during lockdown while we were all working remotely, so this is testament to our team’s resilience.”



“I’m delighted that our team’s work continues to compete with some of the best projects in the sector and still features prominently.”

Mooki added that the team also broke silos and worked closely with colleagues from the Media and Social Media team to produce the Trojan Horse Massacre and District Six commemoration projects.

“I’m delighted that our team’s work continues to compete with some of the best projects in the sector and still features prominently,” said Gowne. “The achievements give me and my team a sense of pride and accomplishment; that our individual contributions into each of the projects, no matter how small, does not go unnoticed.”

The various CMD teams are still working remotely and have been unable to get together to celebrate their achievements.

“We did, however, order snacks for the [NVP] team members to munch on during the virtual awards ceremony and connected through our WhatsApp group to share comments and pictures throughout,” said Mooki.



“Seeing what our colleagues are showcasing encourages us to do better and strive for even greater excellence.”

Mooki and Gowne agree that entering competitions like these are important for a variety of reasons.

“We are part of a global community of institutions and practitioners and seeing what our colleagues are showcasing encourages us to do better and strive for even greater excellence,” said Gowne.

Professionalism and excellence

Justin Marthinus, CMD’s marketing communications officer, said he was “delighted to be part of a winning team” and to have helped coordinate the department’s entries.

“Coordinating the entries for submission on the various platforms is no easy task as each programme differs and has its own set of rules and restrictions which need to be adhered to for a successful entry.

“I am proud of the important work we do as a team and the professionalism in the execution of each of the projects,” he said.



“Nothing compares to that winning feeling or the feeling of being part of a victorious team!”

Elijah Moholola, Senior Manager: Media and Social Media (MSM), echoed Marthinus’ sentiments: “Awards of this nature provide a yardstick as we measure ourselves against peers in the industry. They also serve as external confirmation of the excellent work we always strive to produce. And of course, nothing compares to that winning feeling or the feeling of being part of a victorious team!”

Moholola also recalled the ‘old normal’ MACE awards ceremonies (as opposed to the ‘new normal’ of online events), where he’d often exceed his daily steps count target, walking back and forth to collect awards on behalf of CMD.

“While this year the awards were different in that they were done virtually, it was the same old CMD at its excellent best as we continued ransacking the various categories and raking in the honours,” he said.

For most awards, only the entrant’s name (the person who writes and submits the award entry) appears on the certificate. Below are the names of those who were listed as team members on relevant entries where the award was a shared one:

Carla Bernardo, Yusuf Omar and Lerato Maduna
Omphitlhetse Mooki, Olwen Manuel, Lerato Maduna, Leon Starker and Evan Zerf
Aamirah Sonday, Helen Swingler, Niémah Davids, Lerato Maduna, Elske Joubert, Sherry Solman and Lerato Mhlanga
Nina Taaibosch, Aniqah Deers, Nico Badenhuizen, Colleen Jeftha, Justin Marthinus, CMD: MSM and CMD: NVP
Nina Taaibosch, Khanyisa Mbambo, Evan Zerf, Craig Prins, Ashwin Marescia and Oatmeal Productions
Jean Claude Nsabimana and Nadia Krige
Evan Zerf, Craig Prins, Ashwin Marescia, Omphitlhetse Mooki, Olwen Manuel, Nico Badenhuizen and Lerato Maduna.

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