The 18th African Investigative Journalism Conference kicks off in Johannesburg

Development executive producer Peter Morimi and investigative reporter Njeri Mwangi of  BBC Africa Eye

By: Mandla Zulu and Excel Fongoma

The 18th annual African Investigative Journalism Conference (AIJC) kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday. This is the first in-person event following the pause brought on due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The three day conference celebrates some of the best investigative journalism in the world coming from right here on the African continent.

Kicking off the first session for the day was Peter Morimi, development executive producer and Njeri Mwangi, investigative reporter for the BBC Africa Eye — which focuses on current affairs investigations from BBC Africa.

The two displayed their documentary work: The Baby Stealers and Forced to Beg which focused on baby trafficking. Both of these documentaries led to arrests of some of the people involved in these syndicates.

While showcasing their work, the pair highlighted the need for investigative journalism and its purpose to society – to make a real difference in the world.

Showcasing some of their work, the audience couldn’t help but notice Mwangi being emotional in the video on display.

After being questioned on where one draws the line on emotions as a journalist, Mwangi said: “When you are an investigative journalist, you need to be head strong and put your emotions aside, even though the story will hit you straight into your emotions.”

“Stories that are painful are not easily told, and sometimes your sources need someone they can relate to in order to answer the questions or tell their story.”

Mwangi explained that doing investigative work requires collaboration as they receive many stories were by people need help: “As my life revolves around being an activist, we do what we can with the resources we have.”

Mwangi added: “When people are ready to talk about what hurts them, as a journalist we are the voice to the voiceless. We need to help them.”

Answering a question from the live audience on what is challenging about their work, Morimi and Mwangi said the hardest part of investigating societal issues or human rights matters is meeting people who are affected.

Their presentation sparked a robust engagement with the attendees which will no doubt continue throughout the entirety of AIJC 2022.


Edited by Tshegofatso Mathe and Catherine White