Sat, 25 Sep 2021

  • News24 on Thursday won an international award for its Exodus podcast series.
  • The podcast was produced as part of a seven-month investigation into allegations of human rights abuse and money laundering at KwaSizabantu, one of the biggest missions in Africa.
  • The One World Media Awards celebrate the industry's best media coverage of the global south.

News24 on Thursday scooped top honours at the prestigious One World Media Awards in the United Kingdom.

The awards celebrate the industry's best media coverage in the global south, spotlighting under-reported stories that break through stereotypes, change the narrative and connect people across cultures.

News24's Exodus series won in this year's podcast and radio category.

"We are delighted that our expose on alleged human rights violations at a Christian mission in KwaZulu-Natal has resonated with an audience around the world," said News24's deputy multimedia editor, Nokuthula Manyathi, who produced and narrated the series.

Deon Wiggett, creator and co-writer of Exodus, said podcasts are the most exciting new investigative tools.

"Through audio narration, we can take the listener along the journey of journalism - giving greater empathy and resonance," Wiggett said after the win.

The podcast formed part of News24's Exodus series, an investigation of seven months into the KwaSizabantu Mission, which stands accused of gross violations of human rights, turning a blind eye to sexual abuse and money laundering, spanning four decades.

READ | Exodus: Uncovering sexual crimes and missing millions at a KZN 'cult'

News24's editor-in-chief, Adriaan Basson, said the award was significant on several levels.

"Not only does it catapult News24's multimedia to a world stage, but it also affirms our pursuit of justice in investigating a powerful institution, like the KwaSizabantu Mission in KwaZulu-Natal, for decades of depravity," he said.

"When our journalists' deep passion for social justice collides with new digital storytelling formats, magic happens. That is what this award means to News24."

One World Media this year received hundreds of entries from across 96 countries.

Exodus was longlisted in April, with Al Jazeera's Investigations Unit, Euronews and BBC Sounds, among others. It was then announced as a nominee, alongside SciDev.Net and the Global Reporting Centre.

The podcast's protagonists, Erika Bornman and Celimpilo Malinga, gave News24 exclusive insight into life inside the enigmatic and sequestered mission.

In their first-person testimonials, Bornman and Malinga detailed instances of alleged physical, psychological and sexual abuse at the hands of the mission's leaders and senior members.

Listen to the series here.

The podcast series was sound engineered by Sean Jefferies, project managed by Sharlene Rood, with field recording by Aljoscha Kohlstock.

Source: News24

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