On 08 March 2018 Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) honoured the legacy of Mandy Rossouw through the launch of an awards category dedicated to the memory of the esteemed journalist who passed away in 2013. MMA made the announcement during a panel discussion which reflected on the media’s contribution to South Africa’s democracy in the past decade which was hosted at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in partnership with the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF).

The Isu Elihle Awards honoured the legacy of late journalist Mandy Rossouw by creating a category in her honour.
The Isu Elihle Awards honoured the legacy of late journalist Mandy Rossouw by creating a category in her honour.

MMA’s Children’s Programme Manager Ayabulela Poro said the category would be hosted within the organisation’s child-centred journalism awards. “The Isu Elihle Awards are yet another great initiative aimed at promoting quality journalism and shining light on the various and complex issues that face children on our continent. They do this by incentivising and supporting journalists [in Eastern and Southern Africa] to develop and investigate an original child-centred story idea and raise awareness around this issue by publishing the story in mainstream media.”

The panel hosted by Sakina Kamwendo (SABC) and which comprised Ferial Haffajee (Huffington Post), Chris Maroleng (SABC) Susan Comrie (Amabhungane) and Amina Frense (SANEF), recalled some of the biggest news stories and investigations which had a great impact on the South African media and political landscape in recent years. These included exposés such as state capture and “Nkandlagate” credited to Rossouw who first broke the story while working for the Mail & Guardian in 2009. The story reported on the excessive amounts of public money spent on former president Jacob Zuma’s private residence. Haffajee commended Rossouw’s “hunch” and noted her investigations as one of the significant media moments in recent memory: “Mandy Rossouw would have been 40 next week…I firmly believe she would have taken her place among this firm generation of media leaders that are sitting here and who really led us through an incredible moment.”

Given the integrity and dedication with which Mandy Rossouw carried out her craft, the Mandy Rossouw Award will be given to the best story idea in which the powerful are held to account on issues specifically related to children.

A new category has been included as part of the Isu Elihle Awards in honour of Mandy Rossouw's immense contribution to democracy.
A new category has been included as part of the Isu Elihle Awards in honour of Mandy Rossouw’s immense contribution to democracy.

Poro said that Rossouw had also been a member of the organisation’s Children’s News Agency Advisory Board responsible for supporting the agency’s child journalists. The agency empowers children with the skills to write for mainstream issues. “In honour of Many Rossouw, her journalism and her immense contribution to our country, MMA is proud to announce that the Isu Elihle Awards will now include the Mandy Rossouw Accountability category for those journalists who are brave enough to do just that and to take up the courage to step into her shoes and to hold the powerful to account in the context of children on our continent.”

MMA said it would announce opening of applications for the awards in the middle of the year. “May our journalism thrive and may many journalists continue to stand on the shoulders of Mandy Rossouw and now the Mandy Rossouw Accountability category.”

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