Lagos and Abuja — Tom Mboya and Evanson Nyaga, both from Kenya, were last weekend awarded the top prize at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2012 Awards. Tom and Evanson, won for their work 'African Tribe in India', which was aired on Citizen TV, Kenya. It was chosen from among 1,799 entries from 42 nations across the African continent, a statement from organisers said. The work by these Kenyans tells the story of an African tribe in India, long forgotten and little known about. The tribe is based in Karnataka, Southern India.
Tom and Evanson were among the 34 finalists at the awards ceremony on Saturday evening and were winners in the category 'Television Features Award (TV60).' The ceremony, which rotates location each year in tribute to their pan-African credentials, was held at a Gala ceremony hosted by CNN and MultiChoice at Auditorium Hall, Government Complex Convention Centre, Lusaka, Zambia Saturday 21 July, and broadcast live on ZNBC.
Nico Meyer, CEO MultiChoice Africa, Parisa Khosravi, Senior Vice President for CNN Worldwide in charge of International Newsgathering, and Hon. Given Lubinda MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs, presented Tom and Evanson with the Award. Member of the judging panel, journalist and media consultant Joel Kibazo said of the story: "This story 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."
Parisa Khosravi, Senior Vice President for CNN Worldwide in charge of International Newsgathering, said "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."
Collins Khumalo, CEO MultiChoice South Africa said: "We salute the finalists and the winners of the 2012 awards. These journalists give a voice to Africa and help to make that voice heard around the world. We encourage journalists from around the African continent to continue to tell the stories of Africa - who knows, your story might be celebrated at the 2013 awards."
Nico Meyer, CEO MultiChoice Africa, said: "Each year we are amazed at the growing number of entries we receive for the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Award and we continue to marvel at the growing quality of entries - a great indication of the talent and skills pool in the continent. All tonight's winners should be very proud of their achievements and we wish them well as they advance to a higher level of global influence. The selfless nature of the trade often displayed in the work done by our journalistic community is once again to be commended and honoured. As MultiChoice we are committed to the empowerment of Africa's communities, and telling stories of their lives to raise awareness of their plight is commendable. We salute all journalists and tonight's winners for their contribution to the development of open and democratic societies, creating future hope for generations to come."
Nigerians who bagged awards and whose works were highly commended included Ahaoma Kanu. He won the winner of Tourism award. He is a staff of the Nigeria Daily newspaper, bagged his award with his story titled "Badagry, A Walk Through the Slave Route.' In it, Ahaoma told the story about the horrific slave trade at the Badagry. The organizers said he was able to bring to limelight the feelings and experiences of slavery and sends it apparently to minds of the readers. Ahaoma who was originally an engineer by training, in 2005, switched to a position as a Public Relations Officer. From there, he went ahead to work as arts and entertainment editor of the National Daily newspaper in 2006, a position which he held until 2007 when he was appointed as a media and publicity coordinator for Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria (DSAN) in 2008, for creating awareness for people with Down's Syndrome in Nigeria. Apart from his recent tourism award, Ahaoma won the Golden Pen awards and was also nominated for the Olu Aboderin Entertainment reporter of the year in 2009 Nigeria national merit award (NNMA)
Also Nigerian journalists killed in Boko Haram attacks, Enenche Akaogu and Zakariya Isa, were announced as winners of the Free Press African awards. The late Enenche and his colleague won their merit award for their bravery in reporting in spite of the challenges of Boko haram and other terror groups across West Africa and the Sahel. Though they had faced many intimidations, threats and even death, they were determined to live up to their profession. The late Enenche was a staff of Channesl Television; he was killed during the January attack by Boko Haram in Kano, which led to the death of 185 persons. Zakariya was a staff of NTA and was killed in Maiduguri last year.
The works of five other Nigerian journalists were highly commended by the panel of judges. They were, therefore, given awards and cash prizes. The journalists include Musikilu Mojeed, who investigation into the fuel import scam, while he was a staff of NEXT newspaper, was commended because of the courage exhibited by the team that carried out the task. Mojeed's career began as the general assignment reporter for the Nigerian Tribute in 1993.
He later worked as a reporter and researcher for Independent Communication Network Limited. In 2004, he became the chief correspondent of Punch Newspaper (Investigative Desk) before he became the Deputy Enterprise Editor of Timbuktu Media Limited. In the beginning of 2011, he was the Deputy Editor of Next Newspaper and resumed as Managing Editor of Premium Times News in January 2012.
On the NEXT team is Idris Akinbajo. He has written several stories focusing primarily on regulatory failure, corruption and human right abuses. He was also a part of investigative team which exposed high profile corruption cases including the involvement of Nigerians in the $180 million dollars Halliburton bribery scandal. Another member of the team is Elor Nkereuwem. She graduated from the university recently with B.Sc in International Relations from London School of Economics and has worked as the only female journalist for three years in the investigation unit at NEXT.
The fourth journalist on the defunct NEXT team that was highly commended is Peter Nkanga. Peter began his career in journalism in 2008 as an investigative reporter and photographer for Next Newspaper, where he primarily wrote investigative stories with a focus on human rights abuse, corruption and regulatory failure. He has also worked as freelance human right journalist in 2011 providing an in-depth reportage with audio-visual content for international and local media.
Due to his expertise, he was appointed as independent elections observer for civil society organization. He also undertakes investigation into human rights abuses. He has been the recipient of several professional awards most notably the Wole Soyinka award for 2010-2011 and also the Forum of African Investigative Reporters (FAIR) African investigative journalist of the year in 2011.
Another Nigerian whose work was highly commended is Tunde Akingbade. He is a journalist and author. In 1984, he began his career as a freelance reporter for The Guardian newspaper in Nigeria. He later worked as senior reporter and correspondent for Sketch Press, Sunday Guardian and African Concord. In 2007 he became an environmental writer on a freelance basis for The Guardian on Sunday. Tunde's published works include monographs on the environment, health and politics and political essay.