The Kenya Editors’ Guild(KEG) has announced an annual Hilary Ng’weno Prize for journalists starting this year in honour of late veteran journalist Hilary Boniface Ng’weno.
Ng’weno, who died on July 7, 2021 at his home after a long illness was best known for producing documentary videos on Kenyan history, including the The Making of a Nation, Makers of a Nation, Kenya at the Olympics and Kenya’s Darkest Hour.
KEG President Churchill Otieno said the award has been launched in honour of Ngw’eno’s contribution in the growth of independent journalism.
“Hilary’s departure must trigger, within all editorial gatekeepers, a renewed zeal to stand steadfast and uphold the values that enhance the practice of journalism,” he said.
According to Otieno, Ng’weno brought honour, dignity, respect and unparalleled incisiveness into the practice of journalism in Kenya and in the region, inspiring great minds upon whom media work thrives to this day.
The prize shall be awarded annually during the Editors Convention and it will recognize a journalist who demonstrates strength of mind and spirit in executing editorial leadership and innovation.
“The ideal journalist would be an exceptional individual – having confronted editorial danger with ethical fortitude, and/or exhibited astute leadership at the newsroom, corporate or mentorship levels, and/or brought editorial rigour to entrepreneurship,” he said.
He added that the Trustees of the Editors’ Guild shall every January nominate a jury for ratification by the Executive Council, which jury shall then search for the fitting laureate and the jury’s decision shall be final.
KEG had organised a memorial for Ng’weno at Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi ahead of his burial.
Ng’weno left behind his wife Fleur Grandjouan Ng’weno, and two daughters Amolo and Bettina Ng’weno.
After graduating from Harvard with a degree in physics, Ng’weno worked as a reporter for the Daily Nation for nine months before his appointment as the newspaper’s first Kenyan editor-in-chief.
He resigned in 1965 and established a successful career as a journalist for more than forty years. In 1973, together with journalist Terry Hirst, he founded Joe, a political satire comic magazine that circulated in many parts of Africa until the late seventies when its publication ceased.
He was best known as the editor-in-chief of the Weekly Review, a weekly newsmagazine than ran from 1975 to 1999.
He is also the founder of The Nairobi Times and the first independent TV news station in Kenya, STV.