Director of Bhekisisa, The Mail & Guardian Centre for Health Journalism, Mia Malan took home the top prize in the features category at the CNN 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.”

I was very surprised when I visited Diepsloot about how easy it was to find case studies of victims of child rape. In every street that I visited, there was almost link two or three children who had been raped.”

Understanding the prevalence of rape in Diepsloot

The M&G’s Mia Malan spent a week in Diepsloot and spoke to rape victims, parents and councillors to understand the high rate of rape in the township.

Malan’s story led to an outpouring of reader support for some of the families and activists who were featured in the story. This enabled one of the local organisations working with families to formally register as a non-profit and expand its services.

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’s best read stories.

In a press release issued earlier this year, 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.”

CNN Multichoice Africa Journalism Awards