About the team
Writers & contributors
Adriaan Basson has been an investigative reporter at the Mail & Guardian in Johannesburg, South Africa since mid-2007. He began his journalism career at the daily Beeld newspaper as a crime and courts reporter in 2003 and was one of the founding members of the daily’s investigations unit. He was joint recipient (with Carien du Plessis) of the 2007 inaugural Taco Kuiper Award for investigative journalism for a series on corruption, fraud and nepotism in South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services. In 2008, now at Mail & Guardian, he was part of the Taco Kuiper Award winning team again, this time for the M &G series of investigative articles that unearthed unpleasant truths around Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi. Basson’s areas of specialism include the criminal justice system, state tender policies and arms procurement.
“I have been working in the field, off and on, for most of my life and have had the good fortune to choose my assignments. Under apartheid, when I was an assistant to the property editor of the Rand Daily Mail, I got a phone call from a friend who told me that, every day, trucks were dumping what looked like newspapers behind his factory. They were in fact dumping some 30 000 copies of The Citizen, in those days the mouthpiece of the Department of Information, and obviously claiming an Audited Bureau of Circulation of more than 30k dumped papers.
Gotcha! Took the pictures, verified the fact that a large load of The Citizen was not reaching its readers and filed the story. Not a peep from the Rand Daily Mail. About a week later, former colleagues in the United States Air Force Security Services informed me that the South African Bureau Of State Security (BOSS) had purchased a house in Orlando, Florida. I filed the story. Next day I found myself in John Vorster Square suffering from quite a lot of damage. Yeah. Investigative Journalism for me is usually a series of attempts at uncovering unsavory behaviour on the part of elected officials or unscrupulous thieves in the money market, neither of whom welcome that probing. I’ve been lucky.”
Edem Djokotoe is a 48-year-old Ghanaian-born journalist, newspaper columnist and media trainer. He has worked as UN Information Officer in Lusaka, as a correspondent for Gemini News Service, as Training Editor for Post Newspapers Limited, and has extensive experience working in the SADC region as a trainer and media consultant. He holds a B.Sc. in Journalism and Media Studies from the International School of Social Sciences of the University of Tampere in Finland, a B.A. in Applied Linguistics and Literature from the University of Zambia and an M.A. in Journalism and Media Studies from Rhodes University in South Africa. Djokotoe has two books to his credit.
Sage-Fidèle Gayala is senior reporter on Kinshasa’s independent weekly Africa News, and regularly receives visits from men in military uniform threatening to arrest him for ‘defamation’: an inevitable consequence of exposing corruption of the ruling business and political elite in his country.
In spite of very real danger experienced by investigative and critical reporters in the DRC, Gayala has exposed corrupt housing contracts, diamond exploitation by local as well as South African companies and the misuse of voter education money in the run-up to the recent elections.
He led a FAIR team in investigating the murder of journalist Franck Ngyke Kangundu and his wife Helene (find the resulting dossier, The Marshall’s Treason, in the FAIR headline archive and on www.niza.nl). He headed the contribution from the DRC in the FAIR Transnational Investigation in 2007. Gayala now spearheads FAIR’s establishment in the French-speaking African countries.
Originally from the Netherlands, Evelyn Groenink has been a South African resident since 1990. She investigated the arms trade between European countries and the Southern African region and published articles about the subject in SA’s Mail & Guardian and the Dutch press. In 2001, she published an explosive account of the arms trade background to the murders of Southern African freedom fighters Dulcie September, Anton Lubowski and Chris Hani (Dulcie: A woman who had to keep her mouth shut, Amsterdam, Atlas, 2001). Groenink’s articles on the September and Lubowski cases have been published in South Africa and internationally, but her work on the Hani case only in Europe. Groenink won a Golden Key Award for using the South African Access to Information Act to gain access to, amongst others, the arms trade archives of South Africa’s chief arms procurement agency, Armscor. In 2002, Groenink spearheaded an Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ) probe into the working conditions of Southern African investigative journalists. The resulting research report, Patriots or Puppets? laid the foundations for establishing the Forum for African Investigative Reporters. Groenink has since worked as coordinator of FAIR.
Dr Joseph Hanlon is a journalist and academic. He is the author or editor of a dozen books and was the coordinator of the Commonwealth Independent Expert Study on Sanctions Against South Africa in the late 1980s and policy advisor to Jubilee 2000 in the late 1990s – proof that investigative journalism techniques are recognised as useful in a wide range of circumstances.
He has written about Mozambique for 30 years. As an academic, he has a PhD in Physics and is Senior Lecturer in Development and Conflict Resolution at the Open University in England.
Joyce Mulama is the East Africa correspondent for Inter Press Service (IPS), a global news and feature wire agency. Based in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, Mulama has more than 10 years’ experience in journalism, in both print and electronic media and since 2003 has specialised in development and investigative journalism. In 2004, she co-authored Respect Choice–Safe Abortion: a Prerequisite for Safe Motherhood, published by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education. She has won several journalism awards, the latest being UNESCO’s Red Ribbon Media Award in 2007 for her story, “Using ARVs to Fill Empty Stomachs”, which is discussed in this publication. Mulama went into investigative journalism after being “morally compelled to bring to the fore vices that widened the gap between the haves and have-nots in society”. Her agenda is to build pressure for positive policy change to make better lives for citizens.
Eric Mwamba has been a diehard investigative journalist since the age of twenty, working in a variety of fields and at a variety of levels in newsrooms. He has been editor in chief of 2 Rives, a general news and information periodical published in Brazzaville, and from 2006-7 of Africa News, a pan-African news magazine based in Abidjan. He is a member of FAIR as well as of the Francophone Press Union, and of Amnesty International’s journalists’ section in Ivory Coast. Mwamba writes for pan-African and international media as well as for the local press in Ivory Coast. Originally Congolese, Mwamba has lived in Abidjan since 2004.
“My name is Charles Rukuni. I am a Zimbabwean journalist and trainer with a special interest in political and business writing. I have been in the field for more than 30 years but still find the profession exciting despite the low remuneration. I particularly like investigative journalism because it is a challenge to the journalist. It tests all your journalistic skills. But it is also very rewarding because if done well it improves the lives of your readers. In a normal society a good investigative story should right wrongs committed by the powerful, both politicians and business people, for the benefit of society at large.”
Erika Schutze is a free-lance journalist working in the Eastern Cape area of South Africa. She contributes to, amongst others, the Sunday Tribune in that country. “My work as an environmental journalist has taken me deep into the Amazon jungle and high up into the hub of a wind energy turbine. I have been propelled by my concern for a planet in crisis, with species and biodiversity under daily threat, bringing a concomitant conflict over scarce resources by its people. Nowhere is this more evident than in Africa, where ‘brown’ (human) and ‘green’ (environmental) issues are constantly at loggerheads. As an investigative journalist I can get to the root of this exploitation of people and planet by following the money trail, and hopefully giving a voice to those who are threatened by faceless interests that manipulate and bribe the powers that be.”
T. Kenichi Serino
T. Kenichi Serino is a journalist, sometime media trainer and occasional academic. He received a dual BA in Political Science and History from the George Washington University (Washington DC, USA) and MA in Journalism from the University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa). He has written for a variety of print and online publications in South Africa. He is proud to be working in the same profession as so many great journalists before him. He’s terrified he won’t live up to their high standards and great consequence. He admits to being born and raised in the rural Midwest of the United States.
Finnigan wa Simbeye
“I was born in 1968 in the Kilosa district of Morogoro region in south eastern Tanzania. I did my high school education at Meta in Mbeya, my parents’ home region, before joining The Guardian Ltd in 1998 as a trainee reporter. I went for further journalism studies to France in late 2002. I joined Media Solutions, publishers of Thisday and Kulikoni in November 2005 as senior reporter and am currently serving as chief reporter. I also work as correspondent for the French African Report magazine, an online publication called Central and Eastern Europe Market Watch and the Botswana-based Inside Southern Africa Trade (Insat) magazine.
I decided to be an investigative journalist to hail people and institutions that have contributed significantly towards improving people’s lives and to expose corruption, bigotry and the heavy-handed public officials who have turned the lives of millions in the world into hell.” Finnigan’s reports on corrupt contracts in 2008 led to the fall of the Tanzanian government.
Brant Houston holds the Knight Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois (US) and is former Executive Director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (US). He is co-author of The Investigative Reporters’ Handbook and author of Computer-Assisted Reporting.
Houston plays a driving role in the Global Investigative Journalism Network and helped found the Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which, held for the fifth time in 2008, brought more than 500 investigative journalists from all over the world together in Norway.
We are very grateful for Brant’s valuable contributions to this manual and his and IRE’s permission to use some excerpts from his handbook.
Margaret Renn joined the Department of Journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, as the Taco Kuiper Visiting Fellow in Investigative Journalism in 2009. She has many years experience as an investigative journalist in the UK, where she worked with the celebrated British investigative journalist Paul Foot on his weekly column in the Daily Mirror. She then moved to Rough Justice, the BBC’s flagship investigative television programme, dedicated to uncovering miscarriages of justice. Since 2000 she has been making radio programmes for the BBC World Service and UK domestic stations. Before coming to South Africa she was Coordinator of the Centre for Investigation Journalism, based at City University, London.
Gavin MacFadyen is Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London, where he is visiting Professor at City University. He is a film and television producer, working for Granada Television’s World in Action, BBC 24 Hours, the Money Programme, Panorama, Channel 4 Dispatches, ITV, ABC, and PBS Frontline.
He has written for the Observer, the New Statesman, and newspapers in the UK, Mexico and the US. His investigations range across a wide spectrum including DeBeers and AngloAmerican, the torture of political prisoners in Bolivia and Turkey and Neo-Nazi violence and secret organisations. He has been arrested in a number of countries and has won a number of international awards.
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