The award recognises great work in, and rewards and encourages investigative journalism in South Africa. Published by the Daily Dispatch, the prize-winning story exposed horrifying conditions in the Eastern Cape’s rural school hostels with a photographic story titled “Hostels of Shame.”
Senior reporter Msindisi Fengu and Monakali, who was a photographer for Daily Dispatch at the time of doing the story, spent two months visiting more than 70 state-run school hostels. The two journalists were persistent and worked hard in their pursuit for the truth.
The Taco Kuiper award is presented to investigative journalists who go above and beyond the call of duty, to tackle issues and events affecting South Africa. Winners are chosen by a panel of judges who have discretion to set and use criteria they consider to be appropriate and reasonable.
The judges, in this case, also made special mention of Monakali, who took brilliant photographs that brought this story to life. Monakali said that he took his pictures with the aim to best capture the conditions as they are; to have the audience develop a true sense of the sights and the smells within the photographs.
Yandisa was very humble about the award, yet very proud to receive it. He went on to mention how he wanted the story to be done so as to improve the lives of the learners. He was touched by what the learners said, and amazed to hear all their big dreams. He does not believe that the government understands the magnitude of the situation, and wanted people to keep in mind that these young boys and girls are our future.
Monakali went on to say: “These are the situations that lead learners to hate school, and want to quit. This story wasn’t about us, it was about the students”.