Dual category winner, John-Allan Namu, from Kenya, scooped the CNN/Multichoice African Journalist of the year 2009 award in Durban at the weekend in an event that was transmitted live to the continent.
A weighty gathering of the continent's top journalism talent and representatives of sponsor companies were present to applaud Namu's achievements. Namu walked away from the awards ceremony held on Saturday evening, 18 July 2009 a winner in two categories, the Television News Award and Television Features Award for his work on Kenya Television News (KTN). This is a first in the history of the competition.
Tony Maddox, managing director, CNN International and Nolo Letele, CEO, MultiChoice South Africa, presented him with the award.
"I feel immensely honoured. I never thought this would happen. This goes to show anyone from any walk of life can stand among giants," said Namu.
Namu's entries, entitled "In the Shadow of Mungiki" (with James Mogaka) and "Scars and Sufurias" (with John Benson Mwangi), were chosen from among 1665 entries.
The 25 finalists represented nearly every part of the continent and its islands producing a variety of print and television journalism. Entries ranged from photographic coverage of the xenophobic violence in South Africa to corruption in Mauritius.
The winner will enjoy a year as the King of African journalism including a fellowship to CNN.
"The reporter went beyond the surface, stripped the stereotype and combined sound, images and research to bring new insight and meaning to the story. It's an excellent example of the kind of journalism that the continent badly needs," said chairperson of the judging panel, Azubuike Ishiekwene, executive director, Punch Nigeria Limited.
The evening also recognised Nicaise Kibel'bel Oka of Les Coulisses, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as this year's recipient of the Free Press Africa Award, who represents the journalists in the Eastern DRC, and accepts the award on their behalf, including three who lost their lives in recent years, Pascal Kabungulu, Serge Maheshe and Didace Namujimbo.Winners in the individual competition categories:
- Arts and Culture Award - Tolu Ogunlesi, contributing editor for Glide Magazine, Nigeria for "What the Truck?"
- Economics and Business Award - Ethar El-Katatney, Business Today Egypt for "The Business of Islam"
- Environment Award - Violet Otindo, K24 Television, Kenya for "Nairobi Matters - Embakasi: Part 1 and 2"
- Francophone General News Award - Rajen Bablee, Samedi Plus, Mauritius for "Allégation de corruption contre Siddick Chady"
- Francophone General News Award: TV / RADIO - Viviane Tiendrébéogo, Radiodiffusion Télévision du Burkina Faso for "De l'or à tout prix"
- Free Press Africa Award - Nicaise Kibel'bel Oka, Les Coulisses, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- HIV/AIDS Reporting in Africa Award - Anna-Maria Lombard, Health-e-News Service for 3rd Degree
broadcast on e.tv, South Africa for "Taking on the Quacks"
- MSD Health and Medical Award - Paul McNally, Men's Health Magazine, South Africa for "Throw Away the Bones"
- Mohamed Amin Photographic Award - Halden Krog, The Times, South Africa for "Is This the New South Africa? Flames of Hate, Tents of Shame"
- Portuguese Language General News Award - Ernesto Bartolomeu, Televisao Publica de Angola for "Battle of Cuito Cuanavale"
- Print General News Award - Beauregard Tromp, The Star, South Africa for "Flaming Man Series"
- Radio General News Award - Sammy Muraya, Radio Metro FM, Kenya for "Peace or Calm in Mathare"
- Sport Award - Ayodeji Adeyemi, Tell Magazine, Nigeria for "Game of Gold"
- Television - General News - Feature/Current Affairs Award - John-Allan Namu and James Moturi Mogaka, Kenya Television Network for "In the Shadow of the Mungiki"
- Television - General News - News Bulletin Award - John Benson Mwangi and John-Allan Namu, Kenya Television Network for "Inside Story: Scars and Sufurias"
- Tourism Award - Fredrick Mugira, Freelance for Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa for "Riding Boda Boda in Uganda"
The judges also awarded commendations in six categories. These journalists participated in the finalists' programme in Durban and received a cash prize and Certificates of Commendation:
- Anas Aremeyaw Anas, The Crusading Guide, Ghana
- Biaou Daniel Valérien Adje, ORTB, - Parakou, Benin
- Nicola De Chaud and Odette Schwegler, Backyard Productions for Carte Blanche, South Africa
- Hazel Friedman, Special Assignment, SABC South Africa
- Boniface Mwangi, Expression Today, Kenya
- Elshadai Negash, Freelance for Fortune Newspaper, Ethiopia
- Luís Nhachote, Zambeze, Mozambique
- Alain Zongo, L'Observateur Paalga, Burkina Faso
The CNN MultiChoice competition is now in its fourteenth year. Sponsors include British Airways, Coca-Cola Africa, Ecobank, IPP Media, Tanzania, Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), Safebond Africa Ltd; South African Tourism, Zain, Global Media Alliance, and A24 Media. Durban-based accommodation is provided by the Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel.