A night of glitz and glamour celebrating writers old and new from all around the continent. Who was the belle of the ball? East African journalist, Fatuma Noor of course.
The Kenyan journalist won Africa’s journalist of the year award for her three-part investigative series on the “Al Shabaab”. It was chosen amongst 1407 entries.
She tells the story of the young men who return to Somalia, ‘one of the most dangerous places in the world’, giving up their freedom to fight for the Al Shabaab also known as “The Youth” or “The Lads”. An Islamic insurgent group fighting to overthrow the Somalian government.
On accepting her award Fatuma Noor said, “I want to thank my mum and my boss Catherine, who believed in me when no one else did. There was a time in my life when I thought about giving up, but with this award I’m not giving up any time soon.”
The judges praised her for her detailed and personal account of these young men as they join one of the world’s most “ruthless militant groups”. They admired her determination and courage to tell such a “fascinating” story.
Mrs Noor set the pace for the rest of the ceremony. Out of the 18 awards available, nine were won by female journalist. And East African journalists showed they had an edge over everyone else by walking away with nine awards. If ever there was a moment to be a proud East African.
The award ceremony, held at The Sandton Sun Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa, was in its 16th year. This year in particular showed a very high standard of journalism. Nolo Letele, Executive Chairman MultiChoice South Africa group said, “We are proud of our long-standing partnership with CNN for these awards. And we are even more proud to play a part in telling the stories of Africa. It is thanks to the excellence of these journalists that Africa has a voice on the international stage.”