A Malawian journalist Mallick Mnela was Saturday awarded first prize in 2019 Southern African Development Community (SADC) media competition, radio category competition and went away with US$ 2,500, laptop and certificate.
Namibian President Hage Geingob, who was Sadc chair, presents the media awards Mallick Mnela celebrates winning Sadc main media award Vice president Chimulirenji representing President Mutharika at the Sadc Heads of State summit
"I never expected it to be this big. Honestly, (to me) it was just an ordinary daily routine work," said the jovial Mnela in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where he received the award.
Mnela, a freelance journalist formley of Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), was among the six journalists in SADC Region who submitted entries under Sadc media competition, radio category.
A Sadc document reads, "Mallick Mnela from the Republic of Malawi was awarded the first prize of USD 2,500 for his entry on Malawi's peacekeeping assignment in the Democratic Republic of Congo."
Commenting on the selection of the winners, Mnela said: "I think the adjunction is fair. The integrity of Sadc cannot be questioned. The secret perhaps, is writing stories that cover issues that impact on or relate to Sadc member countries."
Mnela's runner-up is Butler Nhepure from Zimbabwe who was awarded USD1,000 for an entry titled: SADC food deficit- A cry to the sky, which highlights the growing concern of food deficit in the Sadc Region.
The Sadc handbook, says the runners up will each receive USD1,000 through their national contacts in their respective countries.
Coincidentally, Mnela developed the award winning story when the Vice President Everton Herbert Chimulirenji, representing President Peter Mutharika at the SADC Summit, was deputy minister of defence.
According to press officer in the veeps office, Charles Wahara, Chimulirenji led a team of journalists including Mnela to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to appreciate how the Malawian soldiers, in the peacekeeping mission, were fairing.
Previous winners from Malawi were as follows: 2013-MBC Vincent Khonyongwa Radio category, 2015-ZBS Winstone Mwale and Times' late Bonex Julius for Radio and photo categories respectively, in 2016-late Bonex Julius in photo category.
A total of 31 media entries were received by adjudication committee of Sadc. Other categories were photo category under which first prize went to Royd Sibajene from the Republic of Zambia who was awarded first prize of USD2,500 for his photo entry on the inauguration ceremony of Emmerson Mnangagwa President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
The SADC media awards and secondary school essay competitions take place annually. The media awards take place in four categories of print, radio, television and photo journalism. The competition is open to all journalists who are SADC nationals.
The annual essay writing competition plays a key role in raising awareness among the youth about the values, activities and programs of SADC, while bringing to their attention to the issues that affect them and how these issues can be addressed.
Tanzania, the host of 2019 SADC summit, had no winner in four media categories but had national winners in essay competition.
Theme for 2019 Sadcs Summit is "A Conducive Business Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increased Intra-Regional Trade and Job Creation."