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Awards honor African journalists

Peter Matlare (left), Peter Murimi (center) and Chris Cramer (right)
Peter Matlare (left), Peter Murimi (center) and Chris Cramer (right)
Awards and Prizes

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- Peter Murimi, working for Camerapix, Kenya, has been awarded the top prize at this year's CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards ceremony.

Murimi was chosen among 465 entrants from 30 nations across the African continent for his story, "Walk to Womanhood."

Chris Cramer, Managing Director, CNN International, and Peter Matlare, Group Chief Executive Officer, SABC, presented him with the award at a gala ceremony hosted by CNN in partnership with the SABC and the Awards sponsors at The Sandton Convention Center, Johannesburg, on June 19.

Chairperson of the Judging Panel, Dr. Doyinsola Abiola, said: "This year's entries echoed, once again, the spirit and diversity of the African continent. Each finalist should be proud in the knowledge that their work represents the pinnacle of not only African, but world journalism."

"What we see in Murimi's piece is a dispassionate, non-judgmental, objective, journalistic piece of work. This is encompassed in the beauty and sensitive nature of the filming, the beauty of the scenery and because you consistently understand how the story is developing and what is going on," added Abiola.

The overall CNN Journalist of the Year Award prize comprises training at CNN Center, Atlanta, with complimentary flights courtesy of South African Airways; along with the prize awarded to all category winners, which consists of a laptop computer, modem and printer and an additional cash prize.

"These journalists join an ever-increasing number of professionals recognized by their peers over the last nine years. They've become part of a new community of excellence, representing the best in African journalism and maintaining the highest standards of journalistic integrity," said Cramer.

Award winners gathered at the ceremony.

The competition, now in its ninth year, is held in partnership with SABC and in association with Multichoice Africa Foundation, South African Airways and the Wescliff Hotel, Johannesburg (part of the Orient Express Group).

All related flights for the competition and South Africa-based accommodation are provided respectively by associate sponsor South African Airways (SAA) and by official hotel sponsor The Westcliff.

Other prestigious African companies on board as sponsors include: The Sandton Convention Center, Johannesburg; IPP Media Group, Tanzania; Merck Sharp Dohme (MSD); Global Media Alliance - GMA; Johnnic Communications Limited; Camerapix; Kenya; and Nederburg Wine Farm.

Winners in the individual competition categories are:

Arts and culture award: Peter Murimi, for Camerapix, Kenya Topic: Walk to Womanhood Judges' Citation: "What we see in this piece is a dispassionate, non-judgmental, objective, journalistic piece of work. This is encompassed in the beauty and sensitive nature of the filming, the beauty of the scenery and because you consistently understand how the story is developing and what is going on."

Business award: Mwenda Njoka, Daily Nation, Sunday Nation, Kenya Topic: Kenya's rich revealed Judges' Citation: "This really is a very solid and very good investigative piece which goes to great depths to reveal the often substantial wealth of a number of Kenyans including businessmen and politicians."

Environment award: Oscar Obonyo, Freelance for Daily Nation, Kenya Topic: Why Africa's largest lake stinks Judges' Citation: "It is a very thorough and well-researched piece that gets across this terrible dilemma in Africa, between the long term conservation of the environment and of the natural resources which are clearly vital for the future of the continent, against the immediate dictates of survival which are to survive each day and go and catch the fish regardless of the consequences for the environment. It captures that really very well."

Francophone general award: print/photo: Alakagni Hala, Fraternité Matin, Ivory Coast Topic: Bouake: Perilous journey in rebel heartland Judges' Citation: "The journalist had a very hard time getting into the dangerous rebel held north of Ivory Coast. It really takes either very courageous or very stupid people to do these kind of things, but as a journalist we frequently combine these two factors."

Francophone general award: TV/radio: Ouézen Louis Oulon, Télévision du Burkina, Burkina Faso Topic: Les Travailleuses du Sexe Judges' Citation: "Although this is not necessarily a new topic, the journalist is not judgmental and gives you all the elements you need to make up your own mind about the nature of the trade and what pushes the women to do it."

Free Press -- Africa award: Lokumu Kabamba, Le Journal, Gabon Topic: Body of work including 'Crimes et Chatiment' and 'Sans famille' Judges' Citation: "The suspicious murder of a young Gabonese singer is investigated in a country where press restrictions are at an all-time high and where the government is clamping down on journalists who write what is considered anti-government publications or articles. This is an insightful piece."

MSD -- health and medical award: Dumisani Ndlela, Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe Topic: Zimbabwe's health system shuts the door to health Judges' Citation: "Focused on an unreported aspect of the broader political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe, this piece looked at the collapse of the medical and healthcare system in a very effective way. It was well researched and the story was well told. What was further noted by the judges was that the inferior health service is a problem throughout the continent, and in that sense the piece is relevant in a much broader context."

M.K.O. Abiola print journalist award: Wisani wa ka Ngobeni/Matuma Letsoalo, Mail and Guardian, South Africa Topic: Is Mabona the dirtiest politician in SA? Judges' Citation: "These Mail and Guardian journalists went out of their way to show this politician was corrupt, was fraudulent and embezzling funds. They approached the politician, confronted him and, although he tried to deny it, the more he tried to resist the more they exposed him. An impressive expose."

Mohamed Amin photographic award: Neo Ntsoma, The Star, South Africa Topic: Their world in flames Judges' Citation: "It stood out as a news piece in that not only did the photographer manage to capture the intensity of the event, but she did so in a very unusual way. She produced a very attractive set of photographs that were technically superb, visually very attractive, the sort of photographs one felt you could enlarge and frame and hang on your wall, and yet they were photographs of a tragedy."

Radio award: Simon Peter Kasyate, 93.3 Monitor FM, Uganda Topic: Interview with a lesbian. Judges' Citation: "The interview is intriguing, informative, revealing and often entertaining. What is nice about it also is that it is very conversational and manages to break important stereotypes regarding homosexuality."

South African Airways tourism award: Thuli Nhlapo, The Star, South Africa Topic: Giver of dreams, maker of magic. Judges' Citation: "So often when people talk about tourism they just think of animals and beaches, but here is a writer who took a rather complicated issue of development and tourism, merging them and showing the two things go hand in hand"

Sport award: Sophia Phirippides/Jonathan Pienaar, Modern Times cc for Carte Blanche, South Africa Topic: Kamp Staaldraad Judges' Citation: "We heard two different views about the methods used in training the Springboks, one from the security outfit that was responsible for the training, the other from a sports psychologist who believed that the method used was simply wrong. It was a compelling and sometimes disturbing insight into the often extreme methods used."

Television General News Award -- feature: Mr Cliffderrick Richard Otieno, Freelance for KTN Baraza Ltd, Kenya Topic: Body of work: Street muggers, daylight robberies Judges' Citation: "It is informative, it is entertaining, it is well researched and the camera work is good. It has all the aspects of a good piece of journalism but the way the story was told and the pictures just made it outstanding."

TV General News Award -- news bulletin: Sarah Kimani, Orto Sori Orto, Nation TV Nation media Group, Kenya Topic: Lechukuti: Education for the Samburu child Judges' Citation: "'The piece was extremely well shot, the story was helped through good interviews and it just had that kind of feel good factor to it as it relates the struggles and successes of educating the nomadic Samburu people of Kenya."

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