Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Oct. 13 (EFE).- Journalist Agus Morales and photographer Pau Coll received this Thursday the Saliou Traoré Prize for journalism in Spanish on Africa for their column on the harsh end of migration in Europe as an “injection of morale and a nudge to move forward” in his eagerness to try to tell the story and “open his eyes to reality”.
Both sign in the magazine “5W” the report recognized this year by Casa Africa and the EFE Agency, “A cabin at the end of the road”, a long-term chronicle whose title alludes to the destination which awaits them in Spain. , in Italy, France and many other countries who risk everything to reach Europe: a life sometimes worse than the one they left in Africa, even if they do not dare to admit it to their families, as some of the book’s protagonists confess.
Morales and Coll, both Catalans, collected this Thursday from the headquarters of Casa Africa, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, their prize, a sculpture by María de Frutos and 5,000 euros, which the mayor of the city, Augusto Hidalgo, has given them, whose town is part of the Atlantic migratory route to Europe and is witness to the human drama it entails.
The award-winning book is part of a series of reports on migration routes that end in Europe entitled “The Backway”, and is also an acknowledgment of “5W” magazine and professionals who, like them, share the spirit of knowledge reality , not always with the best economic conditions, underlined Morales, who directs the aforementioned publication.
From the massive arrival of Syrian and Afghan immigrants and their great media response, in which no one talked about the routes and how they started their march, they began to investigate and look for money to produce the project, of which another prize is part Saliou Traoré, journalist Xavier Aldekoa, as well as Clara Roig, and photographers Edu Ponces and Toni Arnau, who traveled to Gambia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger, in Tunisia and Libya to deepen the cause of this migratory wave.
During these four years there have been many trips to Africa, although the last two have been to Spain, to Huelva, to tell about the conditions in which immigrants live and work in their fields in Lepe, where the we cultivate what we call red gold: strawberries.
Morales explained that he normally works outside of Spain, but he thought it was important to close this project in Europe, after traveling through various African migration routes and showing that “this path, full of pain, ends often in a cabin that is not in Africa, but in Europe”, so they started talking to people who are going through this situation so that the reader can put themselves in their shoes.
They visited Huelva twice, once before the pandemic, in February 2019 and, later, in August 2021, when they checked that life there was different and that nothing had changed.
“Despite the fact that we are in the 21st century, we have hundreds of people who live in indecent conditions and work in the fields, and in many cases are exploited”, lamented Morales, who therefore maintains that “it is worth the hard to open your eyes to this reality and know that it is they who work in the fields and who put the fruits and vegetables on the table”.
Morales does not rule out traveling to Huelva for the third time because he believes that in journalism it is essential to return to the problems, and even more so in the case of migration, and, in particular, in Spain , where “it is a visible phenomenon reality that together we have become invisible, like the hundreds of people who live in the slums of Huelva, specifically in Lepe and other towns”.
Agus Morales underlined his enthusiasm and pride for this prize, given its African vocation and, above all, because it bears the name of a former colleague of EFE, the Agency’s correspondent in Dakar for more than 30 years.
He also considers it “nice” that a column was awarded this time, which allowed him “to be able to transport readers to touch and feel what is happening, something almost necessary to denounce the violation of human rights. ‘man”.
The two winners are rewarded for four years of work and a new “channel for spreading their stories” and, above all, obtaining financial support to do investigative journalism, which is “very expensive”, made remark Coll, one of the founders of the Ruido Photo organization, from which the idea for “The Backway”, now a book, was born.
“The dead who live in me”, one of the chronicles produced in Tunisia also by Agus Morales and by photographer Edu Ponces, won the Ortega y Gasset prize for journalism in 2019 and a scholarship from the National Geographic Society, which made it possible to finance several trips.
Morales and Coll both insisted on the importance of acknowledging this type of long-standing investigative journalism, which deals with human rights and which is “off the public agenda”.
“A cabin at the end of the road” is also the end point of the project, which took a lot of effort and is currently in full circulation, through conferences and book presentations.
The Saliou Traoré Prize is awarded by Casa Africa and the EFE agency for the best journalistic work on the African continent in Spanish and is sponsored by the Government of the Canary Islands, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria and Naviera Armas.
In this fourth edition, the winners were able to enjoy at the start of the act a concert offered by a group of musicians from Barrios Orquestados, a social initiative that began ten years ago in Gran Canaria to train boys and girls from their poorer neighborhoods and create bowed string groups. The project has spread to other islands and to America, in particular to Chile and Honduras.
Web edited: Javier Agramunt