By Francis Tsawayo WINDHOEK After a month-long wait filled with anxiety and anticipation for one of the biggest nights on the local media calendar the MISA awards proved to be a glamorous occasion not to be missed. Anticipation filled the air in the media fraternity as early as Tuesday last week when Bank Windhoek handed over its pledge of N$23 000. It was at this event that several issues pertaining to the event came to light. The NSEP headed by Ferdinand Tjombe would be in charge of organizing the event for the next three years. “Judges would be elected by the MISA board on the grounds of their standing in society and their professional abilities,” said Tjombe, who did not divulge the names of the judges. It also emerged at this briefing that the number of entries for the event had set a new record of 154. Coming to the night of the event, most people were in a rush to get to their seats from the car park. Whispers could be heard: “So who are the Judges; Is Tangeni going to scoop it again?” Indeed that question was soon answered as Tangeni Amuphadi took the overall prize of Journalist of the Year, along with those of best reporter and best political journalist. In the individual categories, starting with the journalism student of the year: in second place was Enjela Mukatu and taking home the award was Thileni Mogudhi. Doro Graps, with Denver Isaacs at second, scooped the Young Journalist award, which was sponsored by MTC Namibia. The Best Columnist award, which had the following requirements: a regular by-line, a unique style and an ability to investigate was awarded to Annellie Erasmus. Best Magazine story was tightly contested as Catherine Sassman clinched third but this time Tangeni Amuphadi had to settle for second place as David Lush took the honours. The community reporter award went to Oswald Shivute, with Des Erasmus second and Lukeman Cloete coming third. Amuphadi may have collected the Best Reporter award but the people who kept his work at par were fellow contestants Werner Menges at third and Lindsay Dentlinger who came second. Best feature Writer award in third place was Doro Graps, in second David Lush, with Imgard Schreiber top. Sharing the podium with Amuphadi for the Bank Wind-hoek sponsored Political Journalist award were Graham Hopwood at third and Lindsay Dentlinger at second. Business Journalist award winner Robin Sherbourne was absent from the event. Second placed was Des Erasmus and Eberhard Hofmann was in third place. The last individual category was the Specialist Writer award sponsored by Telecom, which Graham Hopwood swiped, with Dirk Heinrich at second and Desi Heita in third position. The team categories followed immediately with the Best Scoop of the Year going to “none other than Tangeni Amuphadi”. In second and third place were Lindsay Dentl-inger and Robin Sherbourne respectively. The Best Journalist Team of the year saw the One Africa team in the third spot, second was Des and Anellie Erasmus and taking the biggest team prize was The Namibian newspaper. The Best Supplement of the Year award was scooped by Des and Anellie Erasmus with Carmen Honey and Conrad Angula in second place. The Best Community Media award was taken by Erongo, supplement to Die Republikein newspaper with local Katutura Community (KCR) radio coming second. In the Visual Entries category the Sports Photographer of the year was Helge Schutz and Best Feature Photographer was Francois Poolman. The Best Photographer of the Year was then scooped by Dirk Heinrich of the German daily Allgemeine Zeitung and second was Tanya Bause of The Namibian. The biggest award of the night was then awarded to Amuphadi, who excelled as the Journalist for the Year 2006. The award was handed over by the MISA Namibia chairperson Robin Tyson and Marelize Horn of Bank Windhoek. Also to receive a prestigious award at the gala evening was Phil ya Nangolo who has been a human rights defender for the past 16 years. Ya Nangolo of the Namibian National Society for Human Rights movement received the MISA Namibia Freedom of Expression Special Award. The award was handed over by previous recipient Norman Tjombe of the Legal Assistance Centre. In his acceptance speech, Ya Nangolo emphasised the importance of private and public expression as an essential tool for maintaining awareness within society. In his opening statement, MISA Namibia Chairperson Robin Tyson reminded media professionals: “there are few occasions in the year when we can stand back and get some perspective on this hectic existence, and ask those vital questions: what have I achieved? Where have I come from and where am I going to? The occasion is one of those times when hopefully we can look back and get that necessary perspective.” He also touched on issues like measures that are being put in place for the continuation of the awards event and ways of developing that event. This, he said, was now in the hands of the organizers who would run a survey to solicit opinions and suggestions for next year’s event. The chairperson then extended his gratitude to all those who had made the event possible and urged journalists to perform in the true sense of the word – with their eyes and ears open, reporting without bias, without fear and without favour. Finally, he called on the media community to move away from previous rivalries and come together and join hands for the common causes that affect all journalists, something exemplified by his board that is made up of members from the different sectors of the media community. The keynote address was delivered by Chief Executive Officer of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Tarah Shaanika. Shaanika, himself a trained journalist, described the event not only as one that identifies talent but improves the maturity of journalism in the country. He explained how important the role of the media is to economic development and what a significant contribution it makes in the drive to achieve the objectives of vision 2030. Calling for more investigative reporting and more “bread and butter stories”, Shaanika recommended proactive rather than reactive reporting. The media were deemed as forces for expansion within the economy, he said. As for the others in the business world, he urged them to provide the media with information, as this would encourage debate. As the last man to take the podium before the award giving ceremony, he took the opportunity to congratulate all who had taken part. The team of judges were made up of Joe Putz, Dr Hartman, Dr Carol Kotze, Eve Black, Tony Figueira and Emily Brown, who gave the vote of thanks.
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