PICS: Photojournalist Phando Jikelo wins top international prize

Published Aug 7, 2017


Moscow - Former Independent Media photojournalist Phando Jikelo was on Monday named a co-winner in the Top News category of the prestigious  Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest.

Jikelo, who now works for Independent Media's sister company ANA Pictures, won the prize for his photo series entitled Grabouw Housing Protest. He shares the prize with Alejandro Martinez Velez from Spain who won for his heart-wrenching series “Migrants in Belgrade”, the Rossiya Segodnya media group said on Monday.

Independent Media and ANA Pictures are both part of the Sekunjalo Group headed by Dr Iqbal Survé.

Survé congratulated Jikelo and said this award was an acknowledgement of his excellent work.

“We must not forget the reasons why he was in Grabouw on that day, and how dangerous the situation was. I commend him for being a fearless photojournalist. As an ardent news-follower, I have, over the years, been able to identify the styles of many of our photojournalists, Phando being one of them. He has the eye and the fearless heart of a photojournalist.”

Phando Jikelo

Jikelo, 33, said he had not expected to win the category. He said the award was confirmation that excellence comes with passion and hard work.

“It has come at the right time of my career and life. I never thought that I would win an international competition. I was just doing my work, like I would on any other day, like the rest of the photographers were doing theirs. I'm just glad that my work is recognised internationally and the fact that our African stories are told by Africans.I will always push myself to achieve more,” he said.

Jikelo was working for the Cape Times when he took the picture. Editor Aneez Salie published the image as a banner picture.

On hearing the news Salie said: “We are thrilled at the international recognition Phando has received for a piece of work he did while a member of the Cape Times team. Well done to him, he has brought us great honour, as he did when he won awards previously for his coverage of a poor, child- headed household in the Eastern Cape. 

"Award-winning Phando has demonstrated a keen affinity for the poor and downtrodden, which is in keeping with the Cape Times and Independent Media ethos, developed after a change in ownership and leadership. It shows what transformation can do. All power to his lens.”

ANA pictures CEO, Amit Makan said, "A big congratulations to Phando in this global achievement and recognition. This award is not only a victory for Phando, but also for photojournalism and visual storytelling on the African continent. It demonstrates his, and ANA Pictures, commitment to changing the African narrative visually."

The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest aims to support young photographers and to draw public attention to the challenges of photojournalism in today’s world. It is a platform for young photographers who draw our attention to the people and events around us.

Other winners include Serbian journalist Jelena Jankovic’s strikingly colourful and textured single photograph “Selfie Culture,” and the “Alternate Reality”series by Russian journalist Pavel Volkov, about a man who chose to live away from big cities, who won the In the My Planet category.

Russia dominated the Sports category, with prizes awarded to young photojournalists from Moscow, Vladivostok and Veliky Novgorod. 

Konstantin Chalabov (Veliky Novgorod) won first place in the singles category with “Elegant Fan,” which captures a moment at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Alexei Filippov of Moscow won the prize for his “At Your Fingertips” series about victories and overcoming challenges in gymnastics, one of the most beautiful sports.

In the Portrait: A Hero of Our Time category, photojournalists from Russia and Italy took away the top prizes. Russia’s Valentin Yegorshin won in the singles category with“Face From the Past,” which addresses the topic of the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution. The best series is Danilo Garcia Di Meo’s “What?” about a young Italian woman Ambra, her courage and strong will.

“The contest reaches further every year. This year, entries from 76 countries were submitted. The winning works prove again that young photojournalists respond very accurately to the most important and significant events in the lives of ordinary people, countries and the entire world. They always manage to find a succinct and poignant photographic image,” Alexander Shtol, Director of Rossiya Segodnya's Integrated Directorate of Photography, said.

Special prizes were established in three categories this year: Top News, My Planet and Portrait: A Hero of Our Time. The prize sponsors include major international media, such as Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG), Al Mayadeen TV pan-Arabic media holding and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The media partners selected their own winners. In the Top News category, the ICRC awarded a special prize for humanitarian photography to single photograph “The European Dream” by Anna Pantelia (Greece) and the “Migrants in Belgrade” series by Alejandro Martinez Velez (Spain).  Within the My Planet category, the Shanghai United Media Group gave the prize to Anar Movsumov (Russia) for his “Theater Without Borders” single. Al Mayadeen TV gave a special prize to the “Silent Howl” series by Md Shahnewaz Khan (Bangladesh).

The full list of winners has been published on The awards ceremony will take place early next month when the grand prix winner will be revealed. 

The contest is organised by Rossiya Segodnya under the patronage of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO.

Independent Media is one of the general media partners of the contest.


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