Johannesburg, August 2021 – Honouring communication excellence in 25 separate categories, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) recently announced the winners of the 2021 Gold Quill Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit.

Among the 482 entries received from 22 countries, 20 awards were presented to projects from southern Africa – 2 from Botswana and 18 from South Africa. To select the winners, an international panel evaluated the entries at 11 global sites, including Johannesburg, South Africa.

This year’s award winners – like those who have preceded them for more than 40 years – submitted communication work of strategic relevance, timeliness and innovation. The exceptional projects grew the body of work for the communication profession.

Gold Quill Awards entrants and winners represent the diversity of communication professionals in perspective, experience, geography, and personal identity. Their entries come from work conducted in organisations of all sizes including boutique agencies, startups, consultancies, non-profits, educational institutions, governments, and companies.

“We are very proud of this year’s Gold Quill recipients,” says Jo Eyre, IABC Africa Chair.
“Over the years, African communicators have proved that our work can hold its own against the best in the world.”

One of the South African projects, Thuma Mina by the University of Cape Town, was also named as a “Best of the Best” in the audio/visual skills category, representing the very best entries from across the globe, continuing the African stride of excellence with Best of the Best winners for the sixth consecutive year.

The following professional communicators received awards of excellence:

  • Elsabe Coetzee, Sappi (Internal communication)
  • Mpho Lethoko, Sappi (Community relations)
  • Mari Lee, ABC, DevCom & Builders Communication Teams, (Internal communication)
  • Mpho Mosate, Debswana Diamond Company (Safety communication)
  • Rochelle De Paiva, Anglo American (Community relations)
  • Janine Botes, ABC, Anglo American (COVID-19 response & recovery)
  • Barend Nagel, University of the Free State (Communication for the web)
  • Lelanie de Wet, University of the Free State (Special & experiential events)
  • Roxanne Harris, University of Cape Town (Audio/Visual)

The following professional communicators received awards of merit:

  • Janine Botes, ABC, Anglo American (Engage App)
  • Mari Lee, ABC, DevCom (Communication research; Special and experiential events)
  • Sophia Dower, Absa (Employee engagement)
  • Debswana Diamond Company (COVID-19 response and recovery)
  • Rochelle De Paiva, Anglo American (Audio/Visual)
  • Moeketsi Mogotsi, University of the Free State (Social media)
  • Nomonde Mbadi, University of the Free State (Customer relations)
  • Ilze Bakkes, University of the Free State (Marketing, advertising and brand communications)
  • Helen Swingler, University of Cape Town (Writing)

During annual IABC World Conference earlier this year, two South African communication professionals were also recognised for their contribution to the global communication profession. Dr. Amanda Hamilton-Atwell, ABC, received the Rae Hamlin Award as a member of the team that developed the IABC Career Assessment Tool. Stephanie Griffiths, ABC, was recognised as an IABC Fellow – the highest designation in the profession.

The annual African Silver Quills awards programme, a forerunner to the IABC Gold Quills, is now open for entries. The closing date is 15 October 2021. For more information on entering your world class communication projects, visit

About IABC
Setting a standard of excellence since 1970, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is a vibrant global membership association with thousands of members from around the world.

The organisation serves professionals in the field of business communication, bringing together the profession’s collective disciplines. The IABC delivers on the Global Standard in communication through our educational offerings, certification, awards program, resource library, online magazine and annual World Conference. It supports its community of business communication professionals with innovative thinking, shared best practices, in-depth learning and career guidance.

For more information about membership and events, go to, or email

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