Qaanitah Hunter is an award-winning political journalist with the Sunday Times in Johannesburg. Her writing on South African politics and investigations feature prominently on the front pages of the Sunday Times and often set the agenda in the country.
She has reported fearlessly on state capture, the Zuma years and the political transition thereafter. Qaanitah’s constant probing and investigations have played a pivotal role in holding truth to power.
In 2019, she became the youngest person to be awarded the Nat Nakasa Award for ‘brave and courageous journalism’. The judges of the award commended her for showing integrity and reporting fearlessly.
“Her focus is politics, and frankly, living in South Africa in these times, politics is probably the most exciting beat for a journalist – but potentially very dangerous indeed. We salute her courage and congratulate her on this award,” said the convenor of the judges, Joe Thloloe.
Qaanitah’s accolades include ‘Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award’ in 2017 and 2016 both regionally and nationally. She was also the runner-up in the Taco Kuiper award for investigative journalism in 2016. Her political analysis and commentary on current affairs and politics have featured prominently on many platforms including the SABC, eNCA and Talk Radio 702. She has also previously written for the Daily Maverick and the Mail & Guardian. She is well-versed in issues of governance and her well-rounded and balanced political reporting has contributed to her astute analysis of the news and current affairs.
In 2017, Qaanitah was featured on ‘The Young Independents’ list of 100 influential youth as a disruptor to watch. She has fought strongly against censorship and intimidation among journalists and has been a strong advocator for the freedom of the press.
Qaanitah believes that the prospect of any democracy to persevere is pinned on how free the media is and its ability to hold those in power accountable.
“During the past administration, when state institutions were dismantled and collapsed the tenacity of the media is what held up South Africa’s democracy. Had it not been for the hard work of journalists and the constant probing, even in the face of threats and intimidation, this country would have been worse off,” she maintains.
The young journalist believes strongly in the need for accountability in both the public and private sectors and has not been afraid to take on even the most powerful.
Qaanitah holds an Honours degree in Journalism from the University of the Witwatersrand where she focused her research on the phenomenon of fake news and its impact on journalism. She believes that in the era of misinformation and disinformation as well as attempts by politicians to rubbish credible reporting, journalists have to be more fearless than ever.
The judges of the award commended her for showing integrity and reporting fearlessly.