Isu Elihle Awards

Rewarding Innovative journalism about children

Media Release

23 August 2019

Entries Are Open for Media Monitoring Africa’s Child-centred Journalism Awards

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) invites journalists across Africa to enter the organisation’s Isu Elihle Awards and stand a chance to win ZAR 25 000.

MMA’s awards seek to give children a voice and highlight the status of children in our continent.   

Story ideas can be targeted at any mainstream news medium such as TV, Radio or Online. The top six story ideas will then be selected during an awards ceremony which will be held in October. The journalists behind these will each receive guaranteed financial support of ZAR 10 000. MMA will also offer support to the finalists to develop their concepts. The final stories will be ranked once they have been published or broadcasted, and the final cash prizes will be awarded: ZAR 25 000 (Overall Winner); ZAR 15 000 (2nd place); ZAR 10 000 (Third Place). 

Applications for this year’s awards open today (23 August 2019 ) and will close at midnight on 23 September 2019 

More About Isu Elihle Awards:

Isu Elihle: isiZulu meaning “Great Idea”

“Isu Elihle is isiZulu and could be translated into English as a beautiful, great or simply a neat solution… (The Awards) couldn’t have been conceived at a better time than this when the young are again asserting themselves through uprisings like #FeesMustFall and others…These awards also strike at many other stereotypes and seek to ignite a revolution in its own right.”  Joe Thloloe, Director in the South African Press Council.

The Isu Elihle Awards were launched in 2016, the awards seek to contribute to a change in attitudes and behaviours of opinion and decision-makers and citizens across the country and continent from the premise that the media frames debates in society and carries enormous influence and, therefore, ability to drive positive change.

The media can play an important role in protecting and promoting children’s rights and, in many instances, in exposing their abuses and triumphs. This is informed by the belief that children are not a homogenous group and deserve protection of their rights in all stages of their lives from early childhood development right up until they are legally considered to be adults.

However, satisfying the public’s right to hear stories about and affecting children, while at the same time respecting children’s rights to privacy and dignity, is a delicate and difficult balancing act. Along with ethical dilemmas of an extraordinarily complex and diverse nature, journalists who may attempt to report on children are often confronted with a myriad of challenges including:

  • A lack of resources, both time and technical means, to conduct adequate research for stories,
  • Challenging existing media methods for reporting on children, through investigative and fresh approaches to news practices,
  • Inherent views within newsrooms where children are seldom seen as target audiences for news media;

The Isu Elihle Awards therefore aim to encourage alternative thinking around reporting on children, and to contribute to an environment that enables journalists to expose and highlight issues affecting children in the country and the continent.

For more details, terms and conditions as well as the Application Form visit the Isu Eihle Award’s website

For enquiries please contact:

Girlie Sibanda 


George Kalu

Isu Elihle 2018 winner!

Media Monitoring Africa announced the 2018 lsu Elihle Awards winner on SABC news on Sunday 16 February 2019. “Isu Elihle is an isiZulu phrase that means a “Great Idea” when translated to English. The lsu Elihle Awards where launched in November 2015 and has been running for three years. lts aim is to encourage fresh reporting, innovative approaches and insightful investigations that seek to give children a voice and elevate the status of the child all over Africa. In the past two years the awards were open only for journalists in Eastern and Southern Africa but in 2018 journalists from all over Africa where included. This year’s top three winners are from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in South Africa and Mallick Mnela from Malawi took the 4th prize. The winner of this year’s organisation’s lsu Elihle Awards is Jarmaine Kringe for her in-depth coverage of the issue of scholar transport. She explores the dangers that children face every day when being transported by vehicles that are not road-worthy and are driven by negligent drivers. Children are also given a voice to reveal how this affects them through her three-part radio series which was broadcast on SAFM. Kringe receives a cash prize of ZAR25, 000 after being ranked the overall winner by a panel of judges including child monitors and media practitioners. The judges commended her reporting by saying, ”you always stayed true to the voices, experiences and wisdom of children and this is why as listeners we were frequently moved to tears”. Listen to the story “Surviving school Transport. The second prize of ZAR15,000 goes to Krivani Pillay for a radio series on “How some South African Children under five struggle to access adequate nutrition” which was also broadcast on SAFM. He deeply looks at the access to child nutrition and basic healthcare services in the country’s different provinces how this leads to the high rate of child mortality. Listen to the story “The Hunger Games – giving South Africa’s Children the right life”. The 3rd prize of the same amount (ZAR15,000) goes to Edwin Naidu who is the winner of the Mandy Roussow award on his three part article highlighting the issue of malnutrition and its impact on children in South Africa. The articles were published by the Sunday independent newspaper. Read the stories: “Children suffer in twilight zone” “Crisis in human development” “Starved of food and education” “SA 4th on Child-friendly Index” The final prize goes to Mallick Mnela from Malawi’s Zodiac Radio broadcasting cooperation who looks at the issue of textbook deficiency at schools in Malawi. He reveals how officials should be held accountable for the corruption at schools which sees free textbooks being sold in the black market. This unlawful act causes children to struggle as they are forced to learn with inadequate study material. His story was broadcast on Zodiac Radio Broadcasting cooperation. Listen to the story “Abuse of resources worsens primary education woes in Malawi”. The application date for this year’s awards is yet to be announced, we call upon journalists from all over Africa to enter this year’s competition.