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Ian Gabriel’s Death of a Whistleblower Wins Best African Film 2024 at Joburg Film Festival

The Story⚡

The political thriller Death of a Whistleblower  takes home the big win at the Jo Burg Film Festival

Tell Me More

The film Death of a Whistleblower, directed by Ian Gabriel, was awarded Best African Film at the Joburg Film Festival 2024.

The film was produced in honour of the journalists (often referred to as whistleblowers) who lost their lives, including Babita Deokaran and Sindiso Magaga. The ones regarded as whistleblowers are responsible for exposing political toxicity, reporting corruption, and bringing the right information to the people.

This story delves into the life of investigative journalist Luyanda Masinda, whose life is thrown into shock when her one-night lover, renowned editor Stanley Galloway, is hijacked and killed in front of her in a busy Johannesburg street. 

When it becomes clear that Stanley’s death was engineered by unknown forces in high places and Luyanda discovers that Stanley has been receiving explosive information from a secret military whistleblower, she realizes that the clue to his death may lie in the secrets the whistleblower is determined to reveal. 

The Joburg film festival was quite fierce in competition, as several other films were awarded according to their categories. Some of which include:

  • Yellow Bus by Wendy Bednarz wins the Best Film award for the event.
  • London Recruits a documentary by Gordon Main wins the Best Documentary Award of the year.
  • Who I Am Not by Tünde Skovrán was a special mention at the festival
  • Everything Nothing wins the Young Voice Award (An initiative of The Joburg Film Fest Youth and Audience Development Programme).

The event took place between February 27th and March 3rd, 2024, at Nelson Mandela Square, Corner Sandton Drive, South Africa.

Key Background

Ian Gabriel is a South African film and commercials director based in Cape Town, South Africa. His experience in film and theatre began at Dorkay House, Johannesburg’s renowned anti-apartheid theatre, where he worked with legends of South Africa’s jazz and theatre scene.

Ian directed the Netflix crime series Ludik (2022). Ian worked closely with actor Arnold Vosloo, reprising the relationship the two established when Ian directed Forgiveness (2004), which won the Best South African Film Award and Best African Film Award, was a Golden Leopard nominee at the 2004 Locarno Film Festival, and won the Locarno Youth Jury Best Film Award and Human Rights Award in the same year.

Ian directed Death of a Whistleblower, a true-event investigative thriller written by Louis Viljoen and Philip Roberts and produced by Joel Phiri and Tshepiso Sello. The film explored biological warfare in Africa and the Middle East, starring Noxolo Dlamini, Deon Coetzee, and Irshaad Ally.



The Joburg Film Festival is strategically positioned to become Africa’s Premier Film Festival through the curation and showcasing of African and International films whilst providing youth as well as aspirant and established filmmakers, and industry professionals with various opportunities for development, training, skills transfer and networking.

Among many other films that were screened at Jo-burg Film Festival are Nollywood titles, including Mami Water by C.J Obasi, Orah by Lonzo Nzekwe and All the Colours of the World Are Between Black and White by Babatunde Apalowo.

In Summary

The honorary film Death of a Whistleblower represents a sort of healing for South Africans on the question of the whistleblowers who lost their lives. Congratulations to Ian Gabriel!

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