By Rose Molefe and Moagisi Letlhaku

The annual SABC-Highway Africa New Media Awards in association with the Open Society Institute of West Africa (Osiwa) took place on Monday night, 7 September, at the 1820 Settlers Monument in Grahamstown. Pioneered nine years ago, the awards have become one of the major events for the recognition, reward and celebration of creativity for new media technologies in Africa.

Absa was proud to host the awards ceremony during their Absa Africa Night. “Absa is passionate about investing in great African stories that are told best by Africans,” said Maxwell Pirikisi, Head of Stakeholder Management Absa Group Corporate Affairs.

There were two winners in two categories of the Highway Africa New Media Awards. The Not-for-Profit award went to Jonathan Berman from www.790tv.co.za, an online TV channel capturing life in Hout Bay and Llandudno in the Western Cape.

Grocott’s Mail Online, www.grocotts.co.za, won the in the Corporate category and the award was accepted by Michael Salzwedel, new media editor of the online version of the Grahamstown community newspaper.

“It was such an unexpected win. Recognition for early growth, but yet such an honour, “said an astounded Salzwedel. In addition to the Highway Africa trophies, winners walked away with cellphones from MTN and laptops from Siemens.

Trophies were also given to the runner-ups Sana Ebrahim, www.indiansinafrica.co.za, in the Not-for-Profit category, and to www.southernafricadirect.com, represented at the awards by Head of Productions, Reggy Morobe.

Edouard Michel Ngnenguier Tamba of Cameroon took home two awards from the OSIWA categories, Best story on ICT use in communities, and Best story on ICT and public governance. Best story on ICT policies in West Africa went to Christophe T.E. Assogba Degbe from Benin, and the Best Woman ICT reporter was awarded to Nadine Tchaptchet-Kouamouo, also from Cameroon. Each of the winners received a $1000USD cash prize per award.

Delegates were treated to good food, drinks and entertainment at the Absa Africa night gala dinner. Music group Centrestage from Port Elizabeth, got delegates on their feet with cover versions of afro-pop and pop songs.

“It is delightful to be a part of and see the gathering of great celebration in Africa,” said Pirikisi.

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