Springboks are 2023’s newsmaker of the year


The National Press Club named the Springboks as its newsmaker of the year on Wednesday.

“With all the events that got media coverage, the Springboks rose above it all in 2023. The Bokke’s victory reminded us of what we can achieve if we stand together when the uphills come,” said Antoinette Slabbert, chairman of the club.

The superb performance of the Springboks in the nail-biting World Cup final on 28 October in France triggered an avalanche of media coverage.

According to the Press Club, the performance of the brave local rugby men also put the spotlight on what quality leadership is, as exemplified by Siya Kolisi. It is under his inspiring leadership that the Boks managed to lift the World Cup trophy for the fourth time – a record.

Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby, for his part said the team felt flattered by the Press Club’s award.

“Our national teams’ greatest strength lies in being able to prove what sport can do; that regardless of one’s background, anything is possible. Our diversity continues to be one of our country’s greatest assets. We are very proud of the Springboks and their fantastic performance. Through rugby we hope to continue to contribute to nation building and social cohesion in this beautiful country,” said Alexander.

This is the fourth time that the Springbok rugby team has been honored as the newsmaker of the year, with the first award in 1995, followed by 1998 and 2007 when the team together with its then coach Jake White were awarded as newsmaker.

“While the nation celebrated in the wake of the Springboks’ inspiring victory, we realized again what it means to work for a common goal as a nation. The Springboks’ victory brought with it a renewed palpable mood of optimism and anticipation,” added Slabbert.

“South Africans go through so much – from crime to load shedding – and sometimes we forget the victories we achieve. So, the Bokke victory reminded us once again what happens when we all act in unison against any adversity. No wonder then that the story evoked a strong sense of nationhood across the color line.”

The annual award made by the National Press Club since 1980 recognizes the newsmaker in a calendar year based on the amount of news coverage the newsmaker has enjoyed and its impact. Members of the National Press Club make nominations and give their motivation for them, after which the executive committee makes the final decision on the prize.

The Newsmaker Award will be presented at a gala dinner in April. The North-West University is this year’s sponsor of the newsmaker of the year, as well as the journalist of the year competition. Other newsmakers that the club has recognized over the years are South African legends such as former presidents Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki, pres. Jacob Zuma, Hollywood star Charlize Theron, #FeesMustFall and Eskom.