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MMA 2019 Isu Elihle Awards Winner

On Saturday, 1st of February 2020, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) announced the 2019 lsu Elihle Awards winner live on SABC news. “Isu Elihle is an isiZulu phrase that means a “Great Idea” when translated to English, the Awards were launched in 2016 and has been running for four years.

The Awards aim to encourage fresh reporting, innovative approaches and insightful investigations that seek to give children a voice and elevate the status of the child all over Africa. In the past two years, the awards were open only for journalists in the Eastern and Southern Africa but from 2018, journalists from all over Africa were included.

We are excited to announce the winners:

1st prize and winner of the 2019 Awards go to Thomas Otieno Bwire, who is an Early Childhood development Journalist from Habari Kibra in Kenya. The overall winner of this year’s organisation’s lsu Elihle Awards is Thomas Bwire, who is awarded for his in-depth coverage of the conditions that children in the Kibera slums are forced to live in. He says the lack of open spaces in the area has led to children not having any place to play, this is bad because play is an important part of each child’s development. Children were also given a voice to reveal how this affects them. Bwire receives a cash prize of ZAR25, 000 after being ranked the overall winner by a panel of judges who are media practitioners. The judges commented on his reporting by saying, ”it is an excellent story that engages those who are involved (children) and seeks out solutions “.

The second prize of ZAR15 000 goes to Jamaine Krige & Yeshiel Panchia for their four-part series titled, “Scatterings, undocumented, unaccompanied foreign children in South Africa” which was published on Al Jezeera. They looked at the issue of foreign children who arrive in South Africa alone. They explore the lives of these children and how they struggle to get an education in South Africa due to lack of documents. The judges commented on their series saying, “it is a great feature which highlights statelessness, xenophobia, the lack of identity, lack of access to education as a result of
being undocumented. The series could have strived to engage more in-depth with those who are in power.”

The 3rd prize of ZAR10 000 goes to Athandiwe Saba for her story about education behind bars. It looked at how some children in the criminal justice system struggle to access education and how this can affect their future. The article “The cracks children fall into when they are in conflict with the law”, was published in the Mail & Guardian newspaper. The judges commented on her in-depth reporting saying, “it is a great story which looks at how most children behind bars are unable to access quality education”.

However there was no Mandy Roussouw category winner this year, even though the stories were great, the powerful were not held accountable in their stories. The Isu Elihle Awards 2020 application date will be announced soon, we call upon journalists from all over Africa to enter the awards. Congratulations to all the winners!

For more information contact:

Isu Elihle Project Coordinator Girlie Sibanda

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 011 788 1278

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