Dar es Salaam – Kenyan photo journalist Joseph Mathenge was announced the winner of the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2014.It is the first time a photo journalist won this competition – for his work capturing arresting images of the horrific terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya in September 2013.
Mathenge was on his way to go photograph a wedding when his son urged him to make a U-turn and race to the mall where he captured the striking set of images as unknown gunmen opened fire on civilians.
This year's ceremony took place on Saturday evening at the Mlimani City conference centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with host and CNN presenter Soni Methu who stepped in for an absent Isha Sesay.
South Africans and South African media also won in some of the categories which received entries from 38 nations across the continent, culminating in the 28 finalists from 10 countries who attended Saturday's awards ceremony.
Sean Christie won the business award for his Landbouweekblad and The Mail & Guardian article about deforestation in Zimbabwe.
Joy Summers and Susan Cromrie won the infrastructure award for their corruption with solar geysers story for M-Net's Carte Blanche investigative magazine show.The judging panel gave the Press Freedom award to the jailed editor Bheki Makhubu from Swaziland's The Nation newspaper, saying that Swaziland has a long history of abuse of civil rights and freedom of expression.
Makhubu and columnist Maseko were jailed after highlighting state corruption regarding the misuse of government vehicles.
"We believe the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards has had a profound effect on the African media landscape and as MultiChoice Africa we remain committed to recognising excellence in journalism throughout Africa," said Nico Meyer, CEO of MultiChoice Africa.
"As an African company we take the development of Africa and its people very seriously. Despite the challenges that journalist face on a daily basis you have continued to play a pivotal role in our everyday lives," said Meyer.
"Your dedication and commitment to tell stories that reflect the reality of our world is very encouraging," said Imtiaz Patel, the group CEO of MultiChoice South Africa. "Your work echoes a great future for the role of the journalists and serves to further strengthen the role of the media in Africa."
Deborah Rayner, the senior vice president for international news gathering for TV and digital at CNN International applauded the journalists for having "the determination, professionalism and courage to showcase Africa's stories to the world."
"Right now in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea journalists are risking everything to bring the story of the Ebola crisis to the world. Stories such as these take enormous courage to tackle and serve as a reminder of the challenges that go beyond editorial and logistical issues," said Rayner.
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