Less than a year after its launch, Health For Mzansi was announced as the best Gen Z initiative in the African Digital Media Awards – the most prestigious awards for digital news publishers on the continent.
Twenty-five judges reviewed a record number of entries for this year’s competition. Health For Mzansi’s sister publication, Food For Mzansi, was also shortlisted in two competition categories.
“Grateful is really an understatement,” said Noluthando Ngcakani, head of news for Health For Mzansi, moments after the announcement by WAN-IFRA, the global organisation for the world’s press.
“It means the world, and more, to receive such a major award. Health is such a sacred and personal space for each individual and I am grateful to our Gen Z audience for trusting Health For Mzansi as a news platform.”
Health For Mzansi is produced by Mzansi Story Lab, a specialised content development team combining the journalistic expertise of the Food For Mzansi Group and YehBaby Creatives. This digital agency’s chief executive Ronelle Louwrens said, “I am so excited, actually more than that… gratified! Health is so fundamental to happiness, and everyone deserves that.”
Louwrens added that the publication tries not to keep anything secret in serving its Gen Z audience. “Health should be front and centre. That is why I feel so gratified. The news and other relevant information is shared on all our platforms – from TikTok to Instagram. It now belongs to everyone in an honest and fun way.”
‘The power of an invisible audience’
According to Ivor Price, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Food For Mzansi Group, the Health For Mzansi award is a win for the entire team. “We’re learning so many lessons in our journey to serve younger audiences. And we’re simply using our tried-and-tested recipe to salute unsung heroes; a recipe that is now also applied to public health journalism, simply highlighting the linkages between health news, food and nutrition.”
Kobus Louwrens, co-founder and strategy director of the Food For Mzansi Group, said that Food For Mzansi “showed us the power of representing an invisible or overlooked audience. It was clear to us that the health media sector was ripe for a similar disruption by creating a product for the people that you won’t see in traditional health and wellness media. Ironically, these people are often those whose lives can be impacted the most by relevant, trusted and simply presented health info.”
This year’s judges in the African Digital Media Awards included Joan Mwai from The Standard Group in Kenya, Nic Newman from the United Kingdom-based Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Danyelle White from The Salt Lake Tribune in the United States, Fanny Bonjean from Le Parisien in France, and Katarzyna Ostrowska from Puls Biznesu in Poland.