The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Communications and Marketing Department (CMD) has been recognised for its role in championing world-class communication at the 2022 Marketing, Advancement and Communication in Education (MACE) Excellence Awards.
According to the body, MACE “fulfils a leadership role in the higher education, [Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET)], and private education sectors within Southern Africa”.
In order to do this, it focuses on “adding value to practitioners in marketing, advancement and communication through high-quality development programmes, facilitating networking partnerships and transformation, as well as promoting best practices among these professions at [its] member institutions”.
The MACE Excellence Awards, which take place annually, further this aim by recognising and celebrating “excellence and the achievements of specialists and practitioners in marketing, communication and advancement in the higher education sector”.
Giving expression to UCT’s unleashed community
This year, UCT’s CMD received a total of 13 awards at the ceremony. The CMD newsroom and video production, brand and stakeholder relations, and media and social media units were honoured in various categories. They reeled in seven Bronze Excellence Awards, five Silver Excellence Awards and one Gold Excellence Award in the following categories:
The work at CMD is always a team’s effort which involves different units some behind scenes. The online team also played an important during the Chancellor’s installation showcase which was awarded a bronze for videography skills.
Deputy Director: Communication & Marketing Department Olwen Manuel notes that CMD’s achievements are testament to the department’s commitment to excellence in communications.
“I’m thrilled that the team was recognised with 13 wonderful awards at the recent annual MACE Awards ceremony. This event is important because we use it to benchmark ourselves and our work against our communication and marketing peers from other South African higher education institutions,” she said.
“The recognised pieces of work touch on themes of inclusion, disability awareness, transformation, decoloniality, excellence, feminism, and environmental sustainability to name a few.”
“The recognised pieces of work touch on themes of inclusion, disability awareness, transformation, decoloniality, excellence, feminism, and environmental sustainability to name a few. Through these stories – shared via different mediums and modes – we give expression to who our unleashed community is, and what they are doing towards helping UCT achieve a more fair and just society. It is rewarding and humbling work, so to be recognised for it amongst our peers is heartening.”
Rich storytelling for a diverse community
Senior writer in the newsroom, Helen Swingler, received two bronze MACE awards for her articles World Oceans Day: Sustaining the ocean as a scientist and sangoma and Barefooted scholar now a joint PhD candidate, and took home two silvers in the Writing for Features, Documentaries and Brochures for her Mother Earth Day: Saving endangered sandfish and Barefooted scholar now a joint PhD candidate pieces.
When she joined UCT in 1999, Swingler did not envision a career here of more than two decades. However, the range and depth of work have kept her around. “I thought UCT would be a short stay,” she explained. “But for a writer curious about the world and what inhabits it, UCT has been a wellspring.
“It stretches me in so many directions. Where else do you get to cover subjects as varied as string theory, restorative justice, new crab species, and body donation as a matter of course?”
An accomplished writer, Swingler has always been entranced by the worlds she discovered in the pages of books. This enthusiasm for rich storytelling translates into skilfully written and people-driven articles.
“The human stories highlight the courage, vulnerability, and doggedness that underpins success and UCT’s very diverse community.”
“These are stories of transformation or evolution. The human stories highlight the courage, vulnerability, and doggedness that underpins success and UCT’s very diverse community. There is huge richness there,” she said.
“These awards reflect a team effort and are for those who entrust me to write coherently and authentically about their thoughts, struggles, histories, and their work, whether researchers, students, [professional, administrative support & service (PASS)] staff or alumni.
“I try to take care in how each story is presented. I think awards affirm that and I am immensely grateful.”
Writer in the newsroom Niémah Davids won bronze awards for her articles New online tool helps users learn an African language and Ground-breaking project to monitor well-being of wildlife using robotics and AI.
Of the awards, she said, “The MACE stamp of approval affirms and recognises the hard work by a group of incredibly talented colleagues who hold their work in such high regard. What’s more, it allows us to momentarily reflect on those stories of excellence that have led us here. This work is a collective effort, and therefore respect, credit and hearty congratulations to our Newsroom and Video Production team.”
Publications filled with heart and soul
The CMD’s head of Video Production, Roxanne Harris, whose team took home six prizes for various videos in the Videography Skills and Audio, Visual and Audio-Visual categories, is thrilled at the outcome of the recent awards.
“This year our team won a total of six awards. We are delighted at this outcome because it is testament to the creativity and talent that exists within CMD,” she said.
“Two of our videos won Silver Excellence Awards. One touches on mental health awareness through the inspiring story of one of our graduates Zané Dlamini and the other was a beautiful video featuring highlights from UCT’s [graduation] walk of celebration held in March 2022.
“I want to congratulate my team members: Ruairi Abrahams and Rozanne Engel who directed the UCT Parasport Club hosts blind football workshop video, which won a Gold Excellence Award at this year’s MACE Awards. The video really highlights the essence of what it means to be inclusive and explains the concept of ‘blind football’, which is such an exhilarating sport,” she added.
Harris also notes that CMD’s achievements are the result of a culmination of plenty of dedication, creativity and teamwork. “Our team works hard to produce video content that is engaging and relevant to a variety of stakeholders.
“The entire CMD at UCT deserves all the credit because we work together on the events, communications, and marketing campaigns that are winning these awards.”
“I think this is the biggest challenge because – as the team responsible for creating video content that covers news, communications and marketing – we are always wearing different hats, so we are constantly asking ourselves what each of our audiences will benefit from and how we can best use the medium of video to tell the stories they want to see.
“The entire CMD at UCT deserves all the credit because we work together on the events, communications, and marketing campaigns that are winning these awards. We really put our heart and souls into each publication, article, video, event and campaign we work on, and I think this is why they did so well at the MACE [Excellence] Awards.”
The CMD’s marketing and communications officer, Justin Marthinus, who leads the team that coordinate the entries said “Taking part in the MACE Awards provides an imperative and fantastic opportunity for us (CMD) to showcase the amazing projects we work on collectively as a department.
Our team undertakes the challenging part of coordinating and managing all the entries to ensure that the department follows the necessary rules and best practice guidelines for a successful entry. Well done to all the winners.”
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