Honoring the Legacy of Knight Fellow Sputnik Kilambi

Sep 252014
  • Kilambi trained journalists to create balanced radio broadcasts and conduct in-depth news analysis during her Knight International Journalism Fellowship at Contact FM in Rwanda.

The winner of the 2014 Sputnik Kilambi Award for Social Justice Reporting has pledged to use his work to carry on Kilambi’s battle for passionate and outstanding coverage of equality and social justice issues.

Ntariyke Divine Jr. Ramzi of Cameroon is this year’s winner of the award, created by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) to honor the memory of Kilambi, a distinguished journalist and former ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow in Africa.

The award offers funding, training and mentoring to an African journalist to reward coverage of critical community issues. Divine (as everyone calls him), won the prize for his outstanding coverage of issues such as child malnutrition, food security and the disparity in education between boys and girls. As part of his prize, he won a spot at The Africa Story Challenge (TASC) bootcamp, which took place in Marrakech, Morocco, August 11-15.

“I had the pleasure of attending the bootcamp and spending a lot of time with Divine, including mentoring him on the story he chose to pursue as part of the bootcamp,” said ICFJ Vice President Patrick Butler. “Divine is passionate about issues of inequality and social justice, and he chose to report on the struggle of gays and lesbians in Cameroon and other Central African countries.”

Divine said that while he never met Sputnik, he has since learned a lot about her work helping African journalists tell stories about social justice issues in order to make their societies better.

A seasoned broadcast journalist, Kilambi worked extensively in Europe, Africa and Asia before being named a Knight International Journalism Fellow in 2007.

Ntaryike Divine Jr. Ramzi at the databoocamp in Marrakech.

During her Fellowship, Kilambi trained legions of reporters in Africa to adopt the most effective and up-to-date reporting techniques. Her work led to more fair and balanced news coverage in Rwanda— a country where hate radio gave rise to a genocide in the 1990s— and it paved the way for radio journalists to produce indepth and nuanced reporting on poverty issues in Ghana.

“Sometimes when I think about it, it is daunting,” Divine said. “But when I know I have the support of her friends who put this award together, the support of ICFJ, I know I can carry on her fight and be a role model for other journalists. You don’t just do journalism for journalism’s sake. You do it to make a difference.”