South African journalist Beth Amato was crowned the 2017 winner of the Isu Elihle "Great Idea" Awards, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) announced on Friday.
Amato won R25 000 for her story published on News24, which explored the effects of emotional trauma on child offenders.
Amato's story stood above her competitors for its unique topic and research-oriented approach.
Judge Phemelo Motene of Talk Radio 702 praised Amato for a job well done.
"This continent needs more journalists who are more critical in thinking, who still go out there to do their best every single time. This is a great story, next time we still want a better story from you. The more of us strive to do better, the more we will be doing ourselves a service in the continent."
Malawian journalist Bashir Amin claimed the second spot which saw him win R15 000 for his article on the exploitation of children in the country at the hands of their parents.
Collins Hinamundi of Uganda took third place, winning R10 000, for his story on child labour in the extractives industry, that has forced children to leave school and work in the mines in Eastern Uganda where there has been a "gold rush" in the past few years.
MMA director William Bird also congratulated the winners for their efforts.
"The finalists for this year's competition have again given the judges a difficult time with their exceptional stories. We look forward to growing these awards in 2018 and supporting more unique story ideas from journalists across the region."