Catalan journalist Xavier Aldekoa won the third Saliou Traoré award for Spanish-language journalism from Africa with a series published in National Geographic Magazine “Africa. A future with names and titles,” illustrated by Alphonse Rodriguez photographs.
As Aldecoa himself explains, the project to which they have dedicated more than two years “focuses on the future generation of Africa. Through the stories of 10 boys and girls in 10 African countries”, the continent that today remembers on its global day the attainment of independence from colonialism.
“The high quality and its unique and interesting approaches, which emphasize not only the present but also the future of Africa. It is a long-standing commitment to journalism” highlights the jury’s decision.
Comprised of the head of the Effie Agency, Gabriela Cañas; General Manager of Casa Africa, Jose Segura Clavel; Maria Teresa Fernández de la Vega, President of the Council of State, and journalists Nicolas Castellano and Felipe Sahagún, the jury agree that Aldecoa “embodies the ethical and honest values of the profession of journalism and demonstrates his comprehensive knowledge of the African continent.”
“Xavier Aldekoa demonstrates the fine work of journalism full of harsh and positive messages, evidenced by the goal of Alphonse Rodriguez, who addressed the reality of both palaces to present key issues of African reality,” lauds the jury record, which awarded Pepe Naranjo and Carla Fibla in previous editions
Gabriela Cañas considered that Aldekoa’s work, according to the foundations of the award, is outstanding at conveying clear and positive messages, with high-quality texts that “brilliantly” handle the mix of data with people’s faces.
Created in memory of a former correspondent of Efe in Dakar for more than 30 years and sponsored by the Government of the Canary Islands and Naviera Armas, the award is given €5,000 and a sculpture by María de Frutos, 2015 National Prize for Fine Arts.
Fernandez de la Vega stressed that the 21 nominations submitted demonstrate the “high quality of all work” that represents an X-ray picture of the current situation of the African continent on issues of important and sensitive scope such as migration, environment or vision. of African women in science or health.
For the Director General of Casa África, some of the texts are of “exceptional quality as well as contents” and deserve a volume that allows completion of their publication, something this award aims to bring the neighboring continent closer to Spain and to the Spanish-speaking countries.
Nicholas Castellano has highlighted the winner’s long career, the diversity of sources in his work and the rigor in the data, which he notes has marked this award, and more in a year of pandemic.
He celebrated that the Salio Traore family would be “extremely happy” to continue his work represented by the winners.
Professor of International Relations at the Complutense University of Madrid, Philippe Sahagún, asserts that Aldecoa cherishes “all the values in the human approach and works with the empathy necessary to achieve enough trust so that people open up and convey reality in a diversity of subjects, personalities and problems.”
“He is the total reporter,” summarizes Sahagún.
The winner explained that he is “trying to write in a way that lasts” and claims a “hiatus” in journalistic work, which he considers what allows people to listen to people who dedicate their time to the reporter.
For the historian, it is necessary to show “some of the main challenges and achievements of the future continent,” but he also argues that “the press must have the intention of continuity because of the beauty of words.”
The award will be presented as on previous occasions at the Casa frica headquarters in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.