Kenyan BBC journalist shortlisted for two British Journalism Awards

Anne Soy
Anne Soy

Nairobi based BBC journalist Anne Soy has been shortlisted in two Press Gazette British Journalism Award categories for her Kenya themed broadcasts. The BBC’s Senior Africa Correspondent’s entries are among the twenty shortlisted entries from the UK broadcaster.

“Coming Out of the Shadows”, a documentary about Intersex people in Kenya, has been shortlisted for Foreign Affairs Journalism (produced by Helen Grady) award while her “The Sex Slaves of Al-Shabaab” made it into the Investigation of the Year (Global) category (with Charlotte Attwood, Michael Onyiego and Vladimir Hernandez).

Coming Out Of The Shadows in Kenya

‘Coming Out Of The Shadows in Kenya’, broadcast as part of the BBC Radio Four ‘Crossing Continents’ series, looked at the problems faced by those who, for biological reasons don’t fit the usual male/female categories and have faced violence and stigma in Kenya as a result.

Intersex people – as they are commonly known in Kenya – were traditionally seen as a bad omen bringing a curse upon their family and neighbours with most kept in hiding and many were killed at birth.

The programme explored a new generation of home-grown activists and medical experts who are helping intersex people to come out into the open.

Rejecting the old idea that intersex people must choose a gender in infancy and stick to it , they are calling on the government grant them legal recognition.

In the programme, Anne met some of the rural families struggling to find acceptance for their intersex children and witnesses the efforts health workers and activists are making to promote understanding of the condition. She also met a successful gospel singer who recently came out as intersex and hears from those who see the campaign for inter-sex recognition as part of a wider attack on the traditional Kenyan family.

Darlan Rukih
Apostle Darlan Rukih is biologically neither male or female. He says, “God never do mistakes. So I am not a mistake.” Photo: BBC

You can listen to the episode on iTunes here.

The Sex Slaves of Al-Shabab

The Sex Slaves of Al-Shabab‘ covered the untold story of a group of Kenyan women who have managed to escape enslavement by the Islamist militant group Al-Shabab in Somalia. During this investigation, Anne discovers that Kenyan women are being abducted and trafficked to Somalia to become sex slaves for the group.

They are only able to tell their stories because of one person – called ‘Salama’ – who is single handedly supporting these women when they return to their communities.

The winners will be announced at the British Journalism Awards dinner on 11 December at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London.