Kenyan journalist Joseph Mathenge has been awarded the top prize at this year’s CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2014 Awards Ceremony.
Mathenge was awarded the overall CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year Award for his workImages of Terror, which appeared in Kenyan daily print newspaper The Standard and was chosen from entries spanning 38 nations across the African continent.
The work documents the moments of terror experienced by Westgate Mall shoppers in Kenya, when the mall was attacked by unidentified gunmen in September 2013.
Mathenge said: “It’s a great honor, and I’m humbled to receive this award. All finalists who are here deserve this award. I hope it will motivate men, women and children of good will all over the world to fight terrorism. Memories fade with time, but pictures don’t. We felt it necessary to capture each and every moment so that generations to come may see the horror.”
His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete President of Tanzania; Nico Meyer, CEO MultiChoice Africa and Deborah Rayner, SVP International Newsgathering TV and Digital, CNN International, presented Mathenge with the Award at a Gala Awards ceremony held at Mlimani City Conference Centre, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Saturday, 18 October 2014.
Chairperson of the judging panel, Ferial Haffajee, said: “Joseph Mathenge’s photographs so eloquently captured one of Africa’s toughest 21st Century moments that they were worth a thousand words. That said, the quality of all the winners’ works made the contest a tightly run one.”
Mathenge, winner in the Mohamed Amin Photography category, was among 28 finalists from 10 countries who attended the Awards ceremony as the culmination of a four day programme of workshops, media forums, networking, and sightseeing.
Deborah Rayner, SVP International Newsgathering TV and Digital, CNN International, said: “This evening’s journalists represent the very best in African journalism. By entering these awards, they have proved they have the determination, professionalism and courage to showcase Africa’s stories to the world. I congratulate each and every one.”
Nico Meyer, CEO MultiChoice Africa, said: “Congratulations to all the 2014 winners, we are proud to recognise your excellence in journalism and to reward you for your courage in telling stories that would have otherwise remained untold. We believe the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards has had a profound effect on the African media landscape and as MultiChoice Africa we remain committed to recognising excellence in journalism throughout Africa. We applaud all the nominees and winners for contributing to Africa’s growth and success.”
Imtiaz Patel, Group CEO of MultiChoice South Africa, congratulated all the winners of this year’s Awards: “I would like to thank all of the journalists who have entered this competition and in doing so have helped further develop this award as a platform for excellence in journalism. Your dedication and commitment to tell stories that reflect the reality of our world is very encouraging. A special congratulation to the winners announced tonight. Your work echoes a great future for the role of the journalists and serves to further strengthen the role of the media in Africa. You are indeed all winners and an inspiration to us all – you have made us very proud.”
Now in its 19th year, the Awards are supported by a range of prestigious sponsors: Coca-Cola; Ecobank; GE Africa; IPP Media, Tanzania; Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) and A24 Media.
The overall CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2014 wins a substantial cash prize, and a visit to CNN Centre in Atlanta, to attend the three week CNN Journalism Fellowship. All finalists receive a cash prize, and iPad Air, with runner-ups receiving an iPad mini.
Viewers across the continent and across the world will be able to watch the Awards in the coming weeks and months.
The awards will also feature in a forthcoming Inside Africa programme on CNN International.
Winners in the individual competition categories are:
Culture Award, presented by Greg Beitchman, VP, Content Sales and Partnerships, CNN International
Soni Methu, presenter of Inside Africa on CNN International
Winner: Obinna Emelike, Business Day, Nigeria
Title: The roads between us…..a journey across Nigeria
Judge’s Citation: “Obinna Emelike’s lovely article is both a travel and culture story of two Africans from different parts of the continent coming together to explore northern Nigeria. It is written as a first-hand account, much like a diary, full of humour and life. Obinna admits his attempt show the beauty of Northern Nigeria to his new friend without highlighting the political challenges the area faces. The author has a lovely way of making fun of himself –whether it is for the lack of his knowledge of this area or lack of the local language. A truly fun and delightful tale of Africans coming together and discovering their culture.”
Coca-Cola Economics and Business Award, presented by Erastus Mtui, Country Public Affairs & Communications Manager, The Coca-Cola Company
Winner: Sean Christie, Freelance for Landbouweekblad and The Mail & Guardian, South Africa
Title: Zimbabwe’s Forests Go Up in Smoke
Judge’s Citation: “The winner stands out for its full, balanced and insightful treatment of the complicated issue of land reform in Zimbabwe and its impact on tobacco farmers and the environment. It avoids the common bifurcation of either praising or condemning the policy, rather teasing out the implications and setting them out in an informed and balanced way. It was a great example of explanatory and exploratory journalism, which brought out new perspectives on an important issue. Not least of all, it was a compelling read, told with clarity and lucidity.”
Environment Award, presented by Richard Uku, Group Head Corporate Communications, Ecobank Transnational Inc
Winner: Patrick Mayoyo, Daily Nation, Kenya
Title: Ice on the Equator
Judge’s Citation: “Patrick Mayoyo’s beautifully presented feature in the Daily Nation’s DN2 section elicited gasps from the judges for the scope of its ambition. Mayoyo became an ice-cap expert when he climbed Mount Kenya to raise funds for the Nation’s anti-hunger campaign. In his winning piece, Mayoyo has mastered the science and presents it for his readers with topography, mapping and photography, which show the impact in tangible ways. He has clearly studied the subject and knows the mountain from climbing it – we enjoyed his mastery of science and love of mountains.
The story is a winner for the depth of its research, for Patrick’s clear understanding of his topic, his love of mountains and the implications of climate change he writes up so graphically and presents so well.”
Francophone General News Award: Print Media, presented by Amadou Mahtar Ba, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman AllAfrica Global Media
Winner: Safia Berkouk, El Watan, Algeria
Title: Pourquoi l’impôt rebute les Algériens
Judge’s Citation: “A comprehensive, well-documented, well-written story on tax issues in Algeria. The journalist demonstrated excellent skills to go beyond what would otherwise be an ordinary topic, and bring to the fore issues of incompetence, corruption and impunity underlying the country´s tax system.”
Francophone General News Award: Electronic Media, presented by Amadou Mahtar Ba, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman AllAfrica Global Media
Winner: Daniel Biaou Adje, ORTB Benin
Title: Et pourtant, c’est lui qui avait raison
Judge’s Citation: “It’s a wonderful tale of a black sheep that turned to be a national celebrity. Daniel B. Adje tells the story of a vet in Benin who was ostracized by his peers and despised by the rest of the scientific community, because he proposed an alternative method for breeding poultry and small cattle. As all his colleagues were saying ‘Do as the University told us’, he kept saying that some traditional ways worked better. It took 20 years for the members of the profession to realize how impressive his results were. Then, everybody changed his mind and paid unanimous tributes to this man. It’s a great human story, with many lessons to be learned.”
Press Freedom Award, presented by Ferial Haffajee, Chairperson of the 2014 Judging Panel
Winner: Bheki Makhubu, Swaziland
Judge’s Citation: “Bheki Makhubu is in jail. Where a journalist should not be. One of far too many journalists on the continent. Bheki and his columnist and human rights lawyer colleague, Thulani Maseko, remain in jail facing sedition charges. Their crime: They annoyed Swaziland’s chief justice after penning columns supporting a state clerk who was charged for trying to put right the system that allowed judicial officers to misuse public cars. Their jailing is part the continuum of Swaziland’s long tale abuse of civil rights and free expression.This editor of The Nation, Makhubu is a long-standing practitioner who is known for his fair hand and balanced reporting: even in circumstances where fairness and balance are tough acts. The Nation has become a talisman and assembly point, one of the last, in the fight for democracy in Swaziland.”
Mohamed Amin Photographic Award, presented by Salim Amin, Chairperson, A24 Media
Winner: Joseph Mathenge, Freelance for the Saturday Nation, Kenya
Title: Images of Terror
Judge’s Citation: “This extremely powerful body of work, Images of Terror, from Joseph Mathenge epitomises the determination, tenacity, bravery of a professional to document unfolding events for history. The image of a terrified mother playing dead with her two children surrounded by bullet shells, total chaos, tells the desperation of human beings when suddenly our lives tilt from the routine making us face danger and sudden death. Joseph Mathenge is a winner as he selflessly goes into action putting his own life in danger for the sake of achieving a noble mission, that of recording history.”
MSD Health and Medical Award, presented by Kaja Natland, Managing Director, MSD South Africa
Winner: Olatunji Olalade, The Nation Newspaper, Nigeria
Title: This marriage will kill me – Tragedy of Nigeria’s child brides
Judge’s Citation: “This category provides the challenge of making often complicated and technical issues understandable and readable. Our two excellent finalists illustrate both the range of entries and how well many of those rose to the challenge. Our winner produced a moving account of Nigeria’s child brides and a close look at the devastating medical and personal implications of forcing young teenagers to marry much older men. It is a major story on a widespread problem, written with a deep sense of humanity, and an excellent attention to detail. The medical issues are set out with clarity and the result leaves one with a tangible sense of the horrors of this practice and the long-term trauma. It is a moving and informative exemplar of the value of well-crafted health reporting. It was well illustrated and effectively presented.
Produced us a diverse shortlist, three very different stories which humanise and highlight issues of health and their impact both broadly and on individual lives.”
Portuguese Language General News Award: Print, presented by Arlindo Lopes, Acting Managing Director, MultiChoice Angola.
Winner: Bento Venâncio, Jornal Domingo, Mozambique
Title: Corrupção no Património do Estado (série de cinco reportagens de investigação, publicada em diferentes datas)
Judge’s Citation: “How can you pay less than $2 000 for an almost brand new 4X4 vehicle that cost the state coffers more than $40 000? That’s what Mozambican journalist Bento Venâncio, from the state weekly newspaper “Domingo”, decided to thoroughly investigate. Over a period of several months he managed to get hold of official documents and put together the pieces of a complex puzzle of embezzlement and plain robbery of state assets through nepotism and greed. Moreover, his investigative work resulted in the sacking of several of the officials involved and in the suspension of state assets auctions in Mozambique while the government reviews the whole process. “Corruption in the State Assets National Department” is a brilliant series of easy-to-read investigative journalism articles that courageously and painstakingly stirred the taboo subject of corruption AND got results – a rare occurrence in our continent.”
Portuguese Language General News Award: TV/Radio presented by Arlindo Lopes, Acting Managing Director, MultiChoice Angola
Winner: Brito Simango, Televisão de Moçambique, Mozambique
Title: ‘Xibejani’ (Rinoceronte), Caça furtiva do elefante arruina o Parque Transfronteriço do Grande Limpopo.
Judge’s Citation: “A thorough investigation of death and destruction at a game park that straddles Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The title is actually deceptive because the story moves on from rhino and elephant poaching and focuses on human deaths; innocent civilians, ruthless poachers, corrupt policemen and park rangers are caught in an unstoppable and, it seems, hopeless web of trafficking that extends to the Far East – the final destination of the bulk of rhino and elephant tasks taken from the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. The great merit of Mozambican journalist Alfredo Simango’s documentary was the fact that he managed to depict a wider tragedy that is occurring in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park – an important source of tourism revenue for the three countries involved. Killing, be it of animals and, above all, of humans, does not attract tourists and constitutes a bigger tragedy to all involved.”
Sport Reporting Award, presented by Msindisi Fengu and Yandisa Monakali, the CNN MultiChoice African Journalists 2013
Winner: Evelyn Watta, sportsnewsarena.com, Kenya
Title: Inside Senegal’s mythical Wrestling heritage
Judge’s Citation: “The story takes you on a journey into the world of wrestling which is part and parcel of traditional cultural life in Senegal & the Sahel region in general. It is beautifully written with the reporter cashing a wide net to look of all aspects of the part wrestling plays in Senegalese life today. The description of the characters and events leading up to the wrestling match make you, the reader, feel as if you were there.”
GE Energy and Infrastructure Award, presented by Thomas Konditi, Chief Financial Officer, GE Africa
Winner: Joy Summers and Susan Comrie, M-Net Carte Blanche, South Africa
Title: Game of Geysers part 1 and 2
Judge’s Citation: “When you drive through South Africa’s townships the sign of the solar geysers will strike you. It looks like development on the right track with provision of hot water through renewable energy, but things aren’t that rosy when one takes a keen look at the project.
A great investigative story which went the distance to establish how corruption can impact negatively an otherwise very well thought out development plan.
We see a lot of people in this story, some comments though humorous drives the point home.”
News Impact Award, presented by Joyce Mhaville, Managing Director, ITV
Winner: Anne Mawathe and Rashid Ibrahim, Citizen TV, Kenya
Title: Veiled Injustice
Judge’s Citation: “This is a story about rape of minors in the Kenyan Somali community. The journalists gained the confidence of a woman whose daughter had been raped by her stepfather and through that was able to highlight an issue in that community. The interviews of the mother, the daughter and the shattering of their lives are very powerful and the writing was also very good.
The story had great impact as the perpetrator was later given a stiff jail sentence. The journalists displayed empathy, tenacity, patience and above all good writing skills to bring this story to life.”
Certificates of Commendation
Again this year the Judges highlighted some excellent work and awarded Certificates of Commendation to 14 journalists:
Dickson Ng’hily, The Guardian, Tanzania
Bayo Olupohunda, Columnist, Punch Newspaper, Nigeria
Paballo Thekiso, Saturday Star, South Africa
Bob Koigi, Farmbizafrica.com, Kenya
John Muchangi Njiru, The Star, Kenya
Christine Muthee and Oliver Oscar Ochanda, Media Development in Africa (MEDEVA), Kenya
Vinayak Bhardwaj and Tabelo Timse, M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, Mail & Guardian, South Africa
Ben Ezeamalu and Emmanuel Ogala, Premium Times, Nigeria
Ossène Ouattara, infoduzanzan.com, Cote d’Ivoire
Suy Kahofi, Freelance for West Africa Democracy Radio, Senegal
Romão Brandão, Jornal O País, Angola