afrol News, 24 July - The CNN MultiChoice at the weekend awarded excellent African journalists in Cape Town, South Africa, with the Ugandan investigative reporter, Richard Kavuma of 'Weekly Observer', winning the overall award.
Mr Kavuma outstripped more than 1600 other competing journalists to lift the coveted CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the year 2007.
"In accepting this award, I dedicate it to my colleagues at the 'Weekly Observer' in Uganda, and my fellow journalists in Africa,“ elated Kavuma said, describing the award as a “recognition for journalism that strives to put people at the forefront. With this award, I give my renewed dedication to act as a voice for the voiceless."
Kavuma’s eight series article that assessed Uganda’s progress towards the UN's Millennium Development Goals earned him the top prize. He is a graduate of Makerere University and has been a journalist in Uganda since 1996.
Of the 26 finalists from 12 countries, 17 went home with prizes in respective categories ranging from general news, features, sports, health, tourism, health among others.
An exiled former Gambian editor of sealed bi-weekly newspaper, 'The Independent', Musa Saidykhan, won the coveted Free Press Africa award. He was nominated by The African Editor’s Forum (TAEF) who cited his ardent strives to champion press freedom in his country, resulting to world of troubles for him, including detention and tortures.
The program, which went alongside a lavish dinner, was jointly moderated by Jonathan Mann and Nothemba Madumo, anchors of CNN and South Africa’s e.tv morning edition, respectively.
The highlights of the awards ceremony will be broadcast in 46 African countries this weekend. It will also be broadcast in OBE TV in the UK, Africa Channel in the United States, RTP Africa and CNN’s Inside Africa on 28 July.
In his message to the 26 finalist, 17 of who emerged winners, South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero, Nelson Mandela said he is honoured to be part of the awards because “journalist working in African perform a social function of immense importance.”
“While the awards celebrates individual excellence, it honours all those who contribute fulfilling this function at the same time,” he said, hailing “African journalists for playing a critical role in bringing information to the masses of people.”
Tony Maddox, the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of CNN International, was fascinated by the growth of the awards this year.
He was delighted that CNN now has a network of journalist awards that stretches around the world.
“They came about because of the phenomenal success of CNN’s African awards, something that all of us here today can be very proud of,“ he said.
MultiChoice’s Chief Executive Office for Africa, Eben Greyling, said, “as we celebrate excellence and fete the winners, please reflect on immense contribution that good journalism is making to sustain freedoms and improve the lives of Africans.”
The awards is a brainchild of a Ghanaian, Edward Boateng, whose Global Media Alliance sponsored the Sports awards, which was won by a Kenyan journalist, James Wokabi.
All the winners carried home trophies, laptop computers, modem, printers and substantial cash prizes. In addition to the prizes, the overall winner will be invited to the CNN headquarters for couple of weeks.
Shola Oshunkeye, a Nigerian General Editor of 'The Sun' emerged the overall winner in 2006.
At a farewell breakfast, Mr Boateng asked the honoured journalists to serve as good ambassadors of the awards because everything they do, good or bad, counts a lot.
Joel Kibazo, Ugandan media consultant, chaired the judging panel of distinguished media professionals in Africa.
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