As with many media based professions, journalists often have to deal with the misconception that they suddenly achieved fame. In reality, years of grueling groundwork paves the path for a journalist to find an execute the career affirming work that leads to public recognition and global recognition. 2019 was definitely that year for Kiki Mordi.
Mordi put out her challenging Life At The Bay documentary, spotlighting the often ignored coastal communities that live in the shadow of Lagos’s tourist beaches, a film that leveraged her network of contacts and reputation as an on air radio host to bring awareness to those communities. A partnership with the BBC would lead to the Sex For Grades expose, which led to legislation to better protect university students from a system that primed them for exploitation by lecturers and academic staff in universities and secondary schools.
The Gatefield People’s Prize for Journalism in Africa is the latest in an impressive list of awards and recognition that Ms. Mordi has received since she put out her documentary. Winning the award alongside respected investigative journalist Fisayo Soyombo is even more impressive considering Soyombo’s investigative work has led to reform in several sectors in the country and he has spent the last decade challenging successive governments and speaking truth to power. Soyombo was nominated for his investigative series that chronicled prison life in the notorious Kiri-Kiri prisons, exposing deeply entrenched corruption, a system that punished innocents and allowed criminals free reign to operate from within the prison. The backlash from Soyombo’s most recent series was so severe, he was forced to go into hiding as a precautionary measure.
Congratulations to both of them and a stellar start to the year for Nigerian journalism.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.