Monday June 27 2011

Daily Monitor journalist wins CNN Multichoice Africa Journalism Award

By Othman Ssemakula

Daily Monitor’s Benon Herbert Oluka has scooped the prestigious CNN Multichoice Africa Journalism Award in the 2011 Tourism category.

The award once again highlights Daily Monitor’s journalism excellence that has propelled Mr Oluka and others to win various prizes in a number of competitions.
Mr Oluka was one of the 27 finalists at the awards ceremony conducted on Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Award winner
His piece, ‘Why Ugandans would rather watch goat races than visit their national parks or heritage sites’ questions the commitment of Ugandans towards the growth of the country’s tourism sector.

The judges said it stood out as an illustration of exceptional writing that can but only deliver Africa towards best journalism and growth of the continent’s tourism sector.

While presenting the award, Ms Thandiwe January McLean, the chief executive officer of South Africa Tourism, commended journalists like Mr Oluka for their tireless effort in portraying the positive side of Africa amid a seemingly determined West that only tells the negative side of the continent.

She said: “Our continent has challenges, but it also has many fascinating facets, such as the beauty and warmth of its people, richness of its diversity, myriad attraction and thousands of fascinating stories that are still untold.”

In his acceptance speech, Mr Oluka thanked the team at Daily Monitor, his family, friends and all those who have had a hand in his career growth. The award carries with it prizes including, cash, a laptop computer, a blackberry smart phone, a trip to Atlanta and a fellowship.

Uganda registered good performance posting three awards and was only rivalled by Kenya ,its East African neighbour, and South Africa. Kenya registered five winners, coming off as the only country to take home six awards, including Ms Fatuma Noor’s top prize, the 2011 eventual winner.

Ms Noor, an investigative writer with The Star – Kenya, was rewarded for her investigative three-part series on the Al-Shabaab. The series tell the story of young men who give up their freedom abroad to return and fight for the Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Ms Noor also won the Print General News category.

Other winners
Other winners from Uganda included: Mr Norman Katende, a freelance sports writer with the New Vision and Mr Farouk Kayondo, the news editor and chief anchor with the UBC.

The duo won the Mohamed Amin Photographic and TV News Bulletin awards respectively.
The awards are a celebration of Africa’s unique heritage portrayed through journalism. Other East African winners included Kamau Mutunga (sports category) from Daily Nation – Kenya, a sister newspaper to Daily Monitor, Beryl Ooro (HIV/Aids category) from the K24 – Kenya, Sylvia Chebet and Kimathi Githare (Business and Economic category) both from the Citzen T