Malan won for her long-form piece, “Diepsloot: Where men think it’s their right to rape.”
Director of Bhekisisa, The Mail & Guardian Centre for Health Journalism, Mia Malan took home the top prize in the features category at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards Saturday night.
The annual competition drew a record-breaking 1637 entries from 38 countries across the continent, according to a press release earlier this year issued by organisers.
Malan won for her long-form narrative piece investigating child rape in a community north of Johannesburg, entitled “Diepsloot: Where men think it’s their right to rape.”
“Diepsloot has incredibly high levels of crime, rape, sexual violence and alcohol abuse. I spent five days in Diepsloot doing the story about child rape – I visited shebeens, children who had been rape and their families and spoke to police and rape counselors,” said Malan in a 2015 multimedia piece about the story.
“I was overwhelmed by how widespread child rape was in Diepsloot. In almost every street that I visited, there were two or three children who had been raped, but there was little support available for families that had been affected.”
WATCH: Understanding the prevalence of rape in Diepsloot
Malan’s story led to an outpouring of reader support for a rape counseling organisation, Green Door, which was featured in the story. In addition to numerous donations, Green Door also accessed free legal and administrative help to register as a non-profit (it is in the process of doing so) and expand its services.
Two months after the publication of the article, a United Nations special rapporteur visited Diepsloot to include case studies in a report on the causes of violence against women and children in South Africa.
More than a year later, the nuanced narrative about life in the community – and the intersection of violence, family dynamics and alcohol abuse – continues to be one of Bhekisisa’sbest read stories.
In a press release, MultiChoice Africa CEO Tim Jacobs said the competition continues to unearth some of Africa’s finest storytellers:
“The finalists are to be applauded for their courage in covering some of the stories, many of which were in difficult circumstances. Congratulations to all the finalists.”