South Africans shine at CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards

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South African journalists and photographers made their mark at this year’s CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards.

Antoine de Ras, from South Africa, was awarded the Mohamed Amin Photographic Award, presented by Salim Amin, CEO, A24 Media, at this year’s CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2012 Awards ceremony.

The Star’ photographer won for his body of work ’Pulse of the People’, which was chosen from among 1 799 entries from 42 nations across the African continent.

“One of the most important lessons was from my uncle Pieter de Ras to not just look but to see with both eyes wide open.  This goes for all journalism,” De Ras said.

Megan Small and Clive Mtshai were awarded the MSD Health and Medical Award. Small and Mtshai, who work for 3rd Degree, won for their three part series beginning Elephant Woman.

“This is incredibly humbling.  Medical journalism is about going the extra mile.  We really embedded ourselves in the story and we’re really glad that we did,” the winners said.

Member of the judging panel, editor of the Daily Independent in Nigeria, Ikechukwu Amaechi, said: “The story won because it is not just another health story. It is a classical case of journalists going beyond the call of duty. It is responsible journalism and the tenacity of the journalists is amazing. Perhaps, without them, Nana Ntobela, the elephant woman, would have been dead by now.”

Adriaan Basson and Piet Rampedi won the general news award for print. Basson and Rampedi (who now works for the Sunday Independent), won for their series on Julius Malema in City Press.

“The depth of the story had a huge impact on South African politics… the exposé of Malema’s double character, exposing his true person, helped change the course of South African politics,” said Arlindo Lopes, member of the judging panel and general manager, regulatory & corporate, Angola & Mozambique, MultiChoice Africa Ltd.

Basson said: “Without the brave whistle blowers we wouldn’t have been able to do this,” Basson said, while Rampedi added: “We want to thank our wonderful colleagues and everyone else who had a hand in our careers over the past 10 years or so.”

“The men and women who enter these awards have become part of a community of excellence, representing the very best in journalism and maintaining the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Their resourcefulness and bravery in pursuing the story has my deepest admiration,” said Parisa Khosravi, senior vice president for CNN Worldwide in charge of international newsgathering.

Demelza Bush, Craig McKune and Verashni Pillay of the Mail and Guardian Online won the digital journalism award for ‘Leasing Scams: A Dummy’s Guide’ while Carte Blanche’s Joy Summers won the Coca Cola Cola economics and business award for her piece, ‘Central Rand Gold’.

Kenyans win top prize

Tom Mboya and Evanson Nyaga from Kenya were awarded the top prize at this year’s CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2012 Awards Ceremony.

Mboya and Nyaga won for their work ‘African Tribe in India’, which aired on Citizen TV. The work tells the story of an African tribe in India, long forgotten and little known about, based in Karnataka, Southern India.

Mboya said: “Journalism is a profession that allows you to go in, and then bring out what the world needs to know.  It is humbling that the

The evening also recognised Enenche Akogwu and Zakariya Isa as this year’s recipients of the Free Press Africa Award, for their work in Nigeria. Zakariya, a cameraman for the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), was killed in October 2011, and Enenche, a news reporter with Channels Television, was shot and killed, having covered the Kano

Winners in the individual competition categories are:

ARTS & CULTURE AWARD, presented by Mwambu Wanendeya, Vice President and Head of Communications, Ericsson sub Saharan Africa (Pty) Ltd.

Winner: Andrew Mulenga, Freelance for The Post Newspaper, Zambia.

Title: ‘In Mali, The Kora Is No One-Night Stand, It Requires Commitment’

Judge’s Citation: “Focussed around the importance of the relationship between people and their musical instruments, the story is well put together, full of colour and interesting to read. It just pulls you into one of the most amazing stories of African culture.”

DIGITAL JOURNALISM AWARD, presented by Shiv Shivakumar, Senior Vice President for India, Middle East and Africa, Nokia.

Winner: Demelza Bush, Craig McKune and Verashni Pillay, The Mail and Guardian Online, South Africa

Title: ‘Leasing Scams: A Dummy’s Guide’

Judge’s citation: “This ‘Dummy’s Guide’ to leasing scams is a good example of what you can achieve by using multimedia tools. The Mail and Guardian had produced an impressive investigation story on how to rip off tax payers with state leases.”

THE COCA-COLA COMPANY ECONOMICS & BUSINESS AWARD, presented by William Asiko, President, Coca-Cola Foundation.

Winner: Joy Summers, Carte Blanche, South Africa.

Title: ‘Central Rand Gold’

Judge’s Citation: “The story had detailed research and the reporter showed tenacity in assembling the details.”

ENVIRONMENT AWARD, presented by Dr Magatte Wade, Acting Head of External Relations and Communication, African Development Bank.

Winner: Gerald Tenywa, Saturday Vision, Uganda.

Title: ‘Concrete Graves Threaten Environment’

Judge’s Citation: “Environment stories are not usually exciting. This story is an exception; it is a simple story told brilliantly. Gerald has amazing journalistic skills and has brought to the fore something that most Africans have not thought about before now.”

FRANCOPHONE GENERAL NEWS AWARD: PRINT, presented by Amadou Mahtar Ba, CEO, African Media Initiative.

Winner: Manar Attiya, Ahram Hebdo, Egypt.

Title: ‘Profession: Semer La Terreur’

Judge’s Citation: “An excellent piece of investigative reporting on the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ revolution; A good explanation of what we’ve seen on the screen during the demonstrations at Tahrir Square in Egypt, as covered by major international outlets.”

FRANCOPHONE GENERAL NEWS AWARD: TV / RADIO, presented by Amadou Mahtar Ba, CEO, African Media Initiative.

Winner: Najlae Benmbarek, 2M TV, Morocco.

Title: ‘Devoir de Memoire’

Judge’s Citation: “A wonderful story about Morocco’s journey under King Mohammed VI. It demonstrates the dividends one can get from famines, reconciliation and forgiveness.

FREE PRESS AFRICA AWARD, presented by Ferial Haffajee, Chairperson of the 2012 Judging Panel.

Winner: Enenche Akogwu and Zakariya Isa.

Judge’s Citation: “This award is made to the body of Nigerian journalists and editors in recognition of their bravery in continuing to report though they face the ire of Boko Haram and other terror groups in operating across West Africa and in the Sahel. They have faced threats, intimidation in death. We make the award in the name of Enenche Akogwu and Zakariya Isa, who lost their lives covering attacks and trying to get to the bottom of a story that has become a blot on a growing region and continent. The award will be received by the Gbenga Adefaye  President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors.”

HIV/AIDS REPORTING AWARD, presented by Fatuma Noor, CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2011.

Winner: John Muchangi Njiru, The Star, Kenya.

Title: Inside the Life of Nairobi Male Sex Workers’

Judge’s Citation: “Through his colourful and well-painted characters and compelling writing, John bravely illustrates part of a growing generation of male sex workers in Kenya, and effectively highlights a new risk group. John takes us into his subject’s room, into his life, without judging or moralising. But his message is clear: unsafe sex is common and deadly.”

MOHAMED AMIN PHOTOGRAPHIC AWARD, presented by Salim Amin, Chairman, A24 Media.

Winner: Antoine de Ras, The Star, South Africa.

Title: ‘Pulse of the People’

Judge’s Citation: “The body of the work smartly captures the contrasts and contradictions which have rocked Africa in 2012 from the Arab Spring to the famine in East Africa. A serious indictment of African media houses where a freelance journalist uses his own resources to go and cover some of the big stories of the continent.”


MSD HEALTH & MEDICAL AWARD, presented by Antonia Lang, Communications Director, Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa.

Winner: Megan Small and Clive Mtshai, 3rd Degree,, South Africa

Title: ‘Elephant Woman’

Judge’s Citation: “The story won because it is not just another health story. It is a classical case of journalists going beyond the call of duty. It is responsible journalism and the tenacity of the journalists is amazing. Perhaps, without them, Nana Ntobela, the elephant woman, would have been dead by now.”


PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE GENERAL NEWS AWARD (PRINT), presented by Arlindo Lopes, General Manager, Regulatory and Corporate, Angola and Mozambique, MultiChoice Africa Ltd.

Winner: Isabel João, Novo Jornal, Angola.

Title: ‘A Vida Nas Cadeias (Descida Ao Inferno)’

Judge’s Citation: “This is a good hard news report on a hot topic, written in a difficult environment, where the reporter shows audacity and insight. The story is about conditions of prisons in Angola, telling us about alleged corruption, violence, poor health assistance and overcrowding.”


PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE GENERAL NEWS AWARD TV (RADIO), presented by Arlindo Lopes, General Manager, Regulatory and Corporate, Angola and Mozambique, MultiChoice Africa Ltd.

Winner: Arsénio Henriques Cossa, Soico – STV, Mozambique.

Title: ‘Garimpo: A Vida Pelo Ouro’

Judge’s Citation: “This is a story about illegal mining in the Manica province, in Mozambique, where mostly young men use basic material and techniques to look for gold and gemstones. The reporter gives a sense of how hard and dangerous life can be in an unregulated activity but present in other regions of the country that he also visits.”


PRINT GENERAL NEWS AWARD, presented by Sebastian Ashong-Katai, Group Head, Financial Institutions & International Organisations at Ecobank Transnational Incorporated

Winner: Adriaan Basson and Piet Rampedi, City Press, South Africa.

Title: ‘Series on Julius Malema’

Judge’s Citation: “The depth of the story had a huge impact on South African politics… the exposé of Malema’s double character, exposing his true person, helped change the course of South African politics.”

RADIO GENERAL NEWS AWARD, presented by Collins Khumalo, CEO, MultiChoice South Africa.

Winner: Joshua Anny, Joy FM, Ghana.

Title: ‘Squatter’s Paradise’

Judge’s Citation: “This is a good radio story about life in one of the biggest slums in Ghana. The emotions come through the reporter’s energetic voice. He tells a story using descriptive explanations that make the listener visualise it.”

SPORT AWARD, presented by presented by Andre Venter, Director Media Solutions Africa,  SuperSport

Winner: Waihiga Mwaura and Jepitha Mwai Mwangi. Citizen TV, Kenya

Title: ‘Maasai Cricket Warriors’

Judge’s Citation: “It’s a clash of cultures. But a wonderful, positive clash of cultures. It’s about the universal lessons and values that can be spread by sport, in a way that lectures, pamphlets or the minister guy never could. What’s wonderful is also that Waihiga Mwaura gives you a sense of remoteness: we’re very far from Lords.”

TELEVISION FEATURES AWARD (TV60), presented by Joyce Mhaville, Managing Director, ITV Tanzania.

Winner: Tom Mboya and Evanson Nyaga, Citizen TV, Kenya.

Title: ‘African Tribe in India’

Judge’s Citation: “It introduced the viewer to something new, an African tribe in India few know about. The journalist took the viewer with him to India, and the village to speak to the tribe members. An all round detailed story that was well told.”

TELEVISION NEWS BULLETIN AWARD (TV5), presented by Elhadj As Sy, Regional Director For Eastern and Southern Africa, UNICEF.

Winner: Nimrod Taabu Mwagamoyo and Charles Kinyua Kariuki NTV Kenya.

Title: ‘Pokot Water Challenges’

Judge’s Citation: “This piece is in many ways a simple story of a water hole in remote Kenya, in which we realize that a simple commodity – water – is a matter of life and death for the men, women, children and livestock in the region. What made this story a winner was how the pictures, audio and storytelling were all woven together, to bring the dirty Barpello water hole to the rooms of television audiences, and to highlight the ingenuity that is being found to avoid drinking the contaminated water.”

TOURISM AWARD, presented by CNN’s Errol Barnett.

Winner: Ahaoma Kanu National Daily Newspaper, Nigeria.

Title: ‘Badagry: A Walk Through the Slave Route’

Judge’s Citation: “Ahaoma Kanu tells a familiar story on the horrific slave trade museum at Badagry but with his writing he is able to bring the reader with him and experience this terrible place with him. Ahoama is not afraid to reveal his emotions and let the reader know when he could no longer keep the tears in. He doesn’t just want to observe this place but tries to experience what it was like to go through this place by asking to wear the chains. A lovely storyteller who brings an awful part of world history to light and is able to convey the experience to his audience.” 

Ways to Watch the African Journalist Awards: 

Viewers across the continent and across the world will be able to watch the African Journalist Awards in the following ways:

  • M-Net will broadcast the ‘Highlights Programme’ of the Award Ceremony on AfricaMagic on Sunday 29 July
  • Broadcasters in 45 countries on the African continent will be transmitting the ‘Highlights Programme’ during August.
  • Internationally, the ‘Highlights Programme’ will be shown on OBE TV in the UK, The Africa Channel in the United States / UK and on RTP Africa.!/CNNMultichoiceAfricanJournalistOfTheYearAwards

PHOTO: The Digital Journalism Award wnet to Demelza Bush, Craig McKune and Verashni Pillay, the Mail and Guardian Online, South Africa