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Zimbabwean Wins Top Documentary Award

Thousands of children in Zimbabwe are facing various challenges ranging from lack of school fees to food shortages (Photo/Nothando Sibanda)
Harare-based freelance journalist, Stanely Kwenda, this week won the first prize for the Best Documentary on Children’s Rights after his piece ‘Exodus of children from Zimbabwe’, came top at the 7th Annual International Film Festival on human rights in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

The festival, which ran from September 18 to 24, saw Kwenda's documentary beating other entries from countries such as the USA, Belgium, South Korea, Great Britain, Canada, Sweden, Poland, South Africa, France, Netherlands, Germany and Serbia.

Kwenda's 25-minute documentary, which was aired on Al Jaazera television in 2010, exposes risks faced by thousands of children as they cross illegally into South Africa.

Kwenda told VOA Studio 7 shortly after arriving from Bishkek, where he received the prize on Tuesday, that organisers of the festival, Bir Duino, invited him to enter the competition after watching the plight of Zimbabwe’s children as portrayed in the documentary.

In their citation, the organisers said Kwenda’s documentary was “a dreadful phenomenon investigated, ignored by most of the international media” as school-going African children struggle to survive and an face uncertain future.

Kwenda said the award will encourage him to continue promoting the rights of children.

The Best Documentary on Human Rights Grand Prix was won by Mark Isaacs from the United Kingdom for his movie ‘A story of life and death’.

This year’s programme had 32 films. Each film screening was followed by a discussion with the film-maker, experts and human rights activists.