In a statement on Sunday, Nura Daura, acting chief executive officer (CEO) of Daily Trust, said a seven-man panel led by former Botswana President Festus Mogae picked and announced Sawo after a “rigorous” process.
“A key consideration for Musu Bakoto Sawo’s selection was that in this period of COVID-19, women have been particularly impacted negatively, especially during the lockdown when a lot of husbands lost their jobs, resulting in, among other tendencies, domestic violence in the homes,” Daura said.
“So, with Musu championing the rights of women in any part of Africa, which is largely a traditional society, she is deemed to be promoting a great cause, and therefore found worthy of selection for the award.
“The award comes with a cash prize of $10,000. The presentation of the award will be done sometime in March, this year, in Banjul, The Gambia.”
The Daily Trust chairman quoted Mogae as saying: “Musu Bakoto deserves the award for her continuous work to end violence against girls and women, including child marriage and female genital mutilation.”
Musu, a 30-year-old lawyer, is known for her efforts in combating violence against girls and women — including child marriage and female genital mutilation.
The lawyer who was married at the age of 14 and widowed at 21 is also a victim of genital mutilation.
Musu defied the odds and strove to have an education, and she has risen to the position of a university lecturer.
Denis Mukwege, a Congolese medical doctor, is the first winner of the Daily Trust African Award.
The newspaper began recognising exceptional Africans in 2008.