An investigation into appalling conditions in school hostels has won two South African journalists the top prize at the at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.
Msindisi Fengu and Yandisa Monakali shared the top honor of CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year for their series “School hostels of shame,” which appeared in South African newspaper Daily Dispatch.
The series investigated appalling conditions experienced by thousands of pupils in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, uncovering hygiene and safety risks in school hostels and lifting the lid on corruption within the education department.
Their winning entry was chosen from 1387 submissions from 42 nations across the continent.
“It’s a huge honor to win,” the pair said in a statement. “It means all the work we put in has been rewarded. It always feel good to be recognized by your fellow journalists. We’ll keep pushing this agenda.”
Ferial Haffajee, chair of the judging panel, said the top prize was tightly contested. “But we felt that ‘Hostels of shame’ had resonance across the continent. We live in an era of fast everything, so fast journalism is a big part of it. To find a piece of work where people took their weekends, took months to do it and told the story over some length is a real joy.”