Taking place at the Leakey Auditorium of the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi on Friday night was a seven-year-old award ceremony being held for the first time in Africa.
Attendants left the hall after 11pm loaded with various stories told by Africans from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, among other countries who received the awards.
They heard the sad story of a woman who hid in the bushes for three months with a young child on her back during the Rwanda genocide of 1994.
They were told of a girl who was almost lynched in Uganda for being HIV-positive. The attendants also heard from a bishop who started preaching in 1962 and who would not give up yet.
Deputy President William Ruto, who was the special guest of honour at the function, presented some of the 38 awards. Those awarded included Ugandan opposition figure Kizza Besigye, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, Redeemed Gospel Church leader Arthur Kitonga and his wife Josephine, Deliverance Church’s iconic bishop William Tumising, Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris, Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba, former anti-corruption commission head PLO Lumumba, retired judge Joyce Aluoch and physician Josephine Ojiambo.
Organisers of the awards are The Voice magazine, a monthly publication headquartered in The Netherlands and founded in 1999 “to create a voice for Africans across Europe” by Pastor Elvis Iruh, a journalist of Nigerian descent.
The Voice Achievers Award Ceremony was first held in 2012 to celebrate people who have impacted the African society. It has always been held in The Netherlands since its inception, and Friday’s event was the first to be held out of the European country.
Nation Media Group’s Sports Editor Elias Makori was the only African journalist honoured at the event, taking home the African Media Personality Award.
Mr Makori said he was humbled by the recognition.
“It encourages us to keep telling the African story and setting the pace for reporting on Africa,” he said.