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University of Bayreuth, Press Release No 055/2024 - 13 May 2024

BIGSAS Journalist Award

Journalists are invited to apply for the prestigious BIGSAS Journalist Award. After a corona-related break, the Cluster of Excellence “Africa Multiple” is once again awarding prizes for outstanding German-language journalistic texts with a connection to Africa. The prize money is 3,000 euros, the closing date for entries is 23.06.2024.

(c) Michael Soi

The BIGSAS Journalist Award will be presented for the sixth time on November 7, 2024. The prize, which has been awarded by the BIGSAS (Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies) at the University of Bayreuth since 2011, aims to promote and recognize differentiated and outstanding articles in German-language print and online media on the broad topic of “Africa”.

The spokesperson of the Cluster of Excellence “Africa Multiple”, Professor Dr. Rüdiger Seesemann, explains: “We are delighted to finally be able to host the BIGSAS Journalist Award 2024 again after a break due to the coronavirus pandemic. By honoring high-quality journalism related to Africa, the award contributes to a more differentiated understanding of Africa. Overall, the BIGSAS Journalist Award sends an important signal for more tolerance and open-mindedness.”


The application phase, in which journalists can submit their African-related articles, runs until June 23, 2024. All journalists publishing in German-language media are eligible to participate. The submitted articles should have appeared in print and/or online media in 2023 or 2024 in the context of “Africa” and contribute to showing the public the complexity and multi-layered nature of African life and the African diaspora. The BIGSAS Journalist Award is endowed with prize money totaling 3,000 euros, which is donated by the Bayreuth University Association. (https://www.africamultiple.uni-bayreuth.de/en/Marketing/index.html)

Jury and award ceremony
The winning entry will be selected by a 15-member jury consisting for the first time of both alumni of the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS) and members of the Cluster of Excellence “Africa Multiple” at the University of Bayreuth. The jury will be chaired by Dr. Yacouba Banhoro, Head of the African Cluster Centre at the Université Joseph Ki-Zerbo in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The award ceremony will take place on November 7, 2024 in a festive setting in Bayreuth.

History of BIGSAS Journalist Award

The idea of a BIGSAS Journalist Award was born in 2010 on the occasion of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. In view of the often one-sided coverage of the first World Cup on the African continent at the time, the desire arose to honor good journalism about Africa that points beyond the often crisis-driven image of Africa in the media, breaks down existing prejudices and opens up new perspectives. The BIGSAS Journalist Award - renamed the BIGSAS Journalist Award in 2019 - has been presented a total of five times since 2011.

To date, the following people/editorial teams have received the BIGSAS Journalist Award:

  • 2019:
      • Anja Bengelstorff for Das langsame Aufbegehren, published in WOZ Die Wochenzeitung on April 12, 2018
      • Katharina Wecker for Wie Susana als erste Basketballtrainerinin ihr Land verändern will appeared in the online magazine ze.tt on September 8, 2018
      • Special award to the editorial team (represented by Tilman Wörtz and Uschi Entenmann) of MUT Magazin for Lösungen Afrika anders - issue 03/2018
  • 2017
      • Jan Rübel for Africa's determined children, published in the Berliner Zeitung magazine on August 22/23, 2015
      • Special award to Christian Putsch for the report Mit Kreide gegen Boko Haram, in Neue Zürcher Zeitung from March 2, 2017
  • 2015
      • Alexandra Rojkov for the article Chris' Reise zu den Sternen, in F.A.Z. Hochschulanzeiger, published on April 15, 2014, and in NZZ Campus, published on May 15, 2014
      • Special recognition: Amrai Coen and Malte Henk Wie das Virus in die Welt kam, in Die Zeit from October 23, 2014
  • 2013
      • Philipp Hedemann for The former colonial masters are back from WOZ Die Wochenzeitung published on September 13, 2012
      • Special recognition: Charlotte Wiedemann Bilal's piety in Le Monde diplomatique from January 13, 2012
  • 2011
      • Dialika Krahe for the report The Second Village, in Der Spiegel No. 43, published on October 25, 2010

Der Künstler Michael Soi
This year's BIGSAS Journalist Award is supported by Kenyan artist Michael Soi. Two of his works will accompany the campaign for this year's Journalist Award. Michael Soi is famous for his commentaries on socio-political issues that Kenyans face on a daily basis. However, his work also often focuses on controversial and unpleasant socio-political observations. He works from his studio at the Godown Art Centre in Nairobi and has had exhibitions in Japan, South Korea, Uganda, the United States, Switzerland, Denmark and France

Über den Exzellenzcluster Africa Multiple
The Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bayreuth was founded in 2019 as part of the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments. Under the motto “Reconfiguring African Studies”, new forms of intercontinental and interdisciplinary academic cooperation have since emerged, in particular through collaboration with the four African Cluster Centers founded: Université Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya, and Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa. In the five years of its existence, the Cluster, which currently has 168 members, has initiated and funded a total of 73 interdisciplinary and international research projects on a wide range of Africa-related topics, supervised 71 international fellows and 89 fellows and organized five major international conferences, among many other events. www.africamultiple.uni-bayreuth.de

Sabine Greiner.

Sabine Greiner

Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence
University of Bayreuth