Namibian journalists shine at Merck Foundation media awards 2023

Desert Radio presenter Charlotte Nambadja and The Namibian’s investigative journalist Sonja Smith won first and third place, respectively, in the Merck Foundation Media Recognition Awards 2023 for best radio and print documentary in southern African countries.

The event took place on 19 April via livestream and saw media practitioners from across Africa being awarded for their contributions to the foundation’s ‘More than a mother movement’ and ‘Diabetes and hypertension blue points programme’.

Nambadja says as a health reporter, it is her obligation to create informative articles and produce programmes that educate the public on their health.

“It is such an honour to win this award… The documentary I was awarded for focused on fertility, aiming to break the stigma that comes with infertility,” Nambadja says.

She adds that it is sad that some people still perceive infertility as a woman’s problem, when in reality it affects both men and women equally.

Smith says it feels great to have her work recognised.

“I am excited. For me, this symbolises the hard work I’ve put in. The sole idea of penning this story was motivated by the fact that surviving the trauma of sexual abuse and rape is something that more and more survivors and their families and loved ones are experiencing,” Smith says.

According to Smith, the issue of a woman choosing to raise a baby conceived during rape has remained unexplored in Namibia specifically, and other countries, in general.

She says her coverage of the story dug deep into the issue and lifted the veil on this important topic.

“It gave a voice to these women who have largely experienced this in silence. It also gave a deeper understanding of the impact of rape that society often is not mindful of.”

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