30 October, 2007

Why pee in public?

Ukona Jelwana (WSU)

I don't mean to player hate, but eish the guys "ziyasihlaza"(are a disgrace).

Why must they strut their stuff everywhere. On my way to varsity this morning I had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing a dude unzipping and doing a number one right there. I was so shy because the traffic was very slow and he was in my face invading my private space. Mara why guys? Yho.

I am specifically preaching to the guys because you hardly ever find a chick that would pee in front of everyone without a care in the world of who sees her or not. Urinating in public is a nuisance not to mention degrading, to the person urinating and the person that has to witness the deed.

Why can't guys hold it in until they find a toilet? I would be forever grateful if I could find just one guy that could answer this question because this is really getting out of hand. I am challenging the Future Journos guys too.

28 October, 2007

Cleaning aunties: Litter for better?

Nqobile Buthelezi (UKZN)

It's amazing how high school learners look up to us varsity students. Ask any matriculant what their aspirations for next year are. "Varsity and being a student" is the stock answer.

When I asked my sister last year, she said she finds students mature, informed, responsible, independent and all those big and good words, so she couldn't wait to be one. Okay, I also thought the same in my high school years. But, I can't believe how wrong I was and that also goes for my sister as well. Students and responsible in the same sentence do not make sense.

Irresponsible students
Just last Friday afternoon, I couldn't believe the dirt that was scattered around campus. Empty Coke bottles, popcorn bags, pie wrappers, straws, you name it. Filth at its best if you ask me.

It so happened that I saw one of my friends throwing a used and obviously unwanted piece of paper on the floor. When I confronted her about it, she simply told me (with a broad smile on her face) that the cleaning aunties will pick it up. According to her, she was doing them a huge favor by providing them with a job.

It's for the better if you ask her.

What kind of nonsense it that? Just because we have cleaning aunties doesn't imply that we should litter as we please. Surely if these cleaners find dirt on their way, they pick it up but that doesn't mean we should senselessly throw stuff about just to give them a job.

These people have a lot on their plate as well and litter is the least of their problems. They have offices, lecture rooms and the lawns to clean and look after. Instead of making their jobs worse, we should be assisting them to make our campuses conducive to learning.

Some of these aunties and uncles are the same age or even older than our parents. So their age on its own asserts them the respect that we ought to give them, but our learned selves feel not the need to inscribe this right upon them and we choose to make their lives difficult.

I don't know about your own campuses, but this litter problem irritates me. Irrespective of our higher hierarchical position to them, let us respect them and also our environment.

Responsibility starts with a few people and it can spread like a wild fire. So let's take the initiative to teach our friends and change their mentality about the pros and cons of littering and the cleaning auntie situation.

26 October, 2007

Your South Africa

Nqobile Buthelezi (UKZN)

Exam pressure is building. The end of each day brings us closer to year end, and we all know what that means...results. Big smiles for all the P's in the record or a throb in the heart for those daunting supps and F's. It's either a good or a bad deal anyway, but I live with the hope that all of us will make it.

Good luck guys, I have utmost faith in all of us (yep! me included).

I was thinking of writing a feature story on "Public Toilet Vandalism in Institutions of Higher Learning". This story will look at how students write all sort of vulgar expression on toilet doors. This is a pressing matter and a disgrace to be honest.

As students, we are part of the most learned and elite in our societies. At Universities, students acquire a great deal of knowledge and enlightenment. But where does all this educational wealth go?

Supposedly, we should give it back to the world through our respective fields of study, but what do we choose to do - to take it out on silent doors in the most appalling manner. Not only will this story create awareness of the irresponsibility of the 'supposedly educated', but it will also be an eye opener to our institutions that sometimes to educate youngsters starts with simple rules like 'knowledge is responsibility' (not only to ourselves but to our communities as well). So students should stop writing at the wrong places (exams and assignments are the appropriate places to express our learned selves!).

Street kids
Well, my second and very broad idea for the City Press story is to write about street children. I mean, they are everywhere- pavements, public parks, digging in inner-city dustbins or slouched at bus-stops: everywhere...breaking everything!

Of cause this is a widely written about issue, however I feel the need to find out the cause of this 'street children' phenomena. why do they at all exist and most importantly why they end up vandalising public space and I mean this in every aspect:
  • physically as they destroy public infrastructure,
  • verbally as they abuse citizens by calling them names, and also
  • emotionally- it is just an unsettling feeling to go to the bus-stop only to find you'll be uncomfortable with these children looking at you, probably contemplating to rob or even do worse to you.

In contrast, their existence simply abuses my emotions as the thought of them weighs so much in my heart when I think about the success of this country, only to find that there are those little souls that are wiped out in the face of the earth, abandoned, forgotten and not cared about. Is vandalism a form of expression for their anger? If they are angry what is the cause? Pressing economical or social problems, or maybe they are just unappreciative youths polluting our cities and adding a percent to the crime statistics in South Africa.

There is a lot involved in this feature. With City Press's approval, I propose to follow up on this story after the exams due to the scope of its magnitude. For the time being, I will write on lighter but equally important issues.

25 October, 2007

G'town alive with story ideas

Simphiwe Kanityi (RU)

Right! here I have two story ideas

1. Grahamstown is a well known place "City of Saints" where many conferences are being held. What is amazing about Grahamstown is the fact that there are no public toilets. I want to tackle this story through taxi rank which is very very dirty, it is almost in the centre of the town and is really dirty. Places made for people to rest while waiting for taxis are full of filthy water and used as loo.

2. My second story is about a guy who is doing recycling, they collect bottles, glasses, papers and boxes. This guy does not have a place to work on, so using his truck for collection and storage for all that he collects. So I want to find out about the products he produce out of this recycling so that other people can do the same with the litter that seem to be so scattered in our communities, and whether he gets any support from municipality.

Hope they both make sagacity. Since I will be starting writing by next weekend I would like to work on these as soon as possible, only if they get approved.

24 October, 2007

Home for humanity

Sertanya Reddy (UKZN)

I would like to pitch my first story idea for City Press. I would like to write about Habitat for Humanity, the international organisation that is involved in building homes for the underprivileged, through the use of volunteers.

The story would inspire because it would focus on how communities come together to help each other and promote the development of the community. I have been part of Habitat builds, so I would like to give a partly personal account of the experience of working as a member of a team that is involved in developing and uplifting a community.

I hope that the story is in keeping with City Press' "Your South Africa" campaign.

18 October, 2007

Ignorance our greatest enemy

Ukona Jelwana (WSU)

"No dumping by order of the town clerk", (written in some of the environment campaign boards).

Nobody listens though. You find that if you look down, not far from where the board is or better yet just below the board there is rubbish cluttered right there. What is the problem why are people not listening?

Could it be that the community does'nt have any other place to dump their litter, or they do but they just don't care to make an effort? Are these campaign boards really making a difference (really are they?) or are they just a waste of money? What does the municipality say about this are they making any follow up on the matter?

I think I need to find answers to these questions. Either way people keep your environment clean. This is, after all your city and it should be taken care off.

She's exceptional

Ukona Jelwana (WSU)

I commend street vendors yazi, for the simple reason that they are making an honest living by being entrepreneurs.

There is one in particular that grabs my attention every time I walk home from the taxi stop. She is so environmentally friendly, unlike other street vendors she always cleans up when the day is over. She would pick up all the left over rotten fruit and veg, pile them up neatly and put them in a black plastic bag.

It's a pity though that every morning when she comes back, all the rubbish has been scattered all over the place. I always think to myself what if she could get a big metal bin to put all her rubbish in, in that way saving her the trouble of having to reclean after the dogs have torn the plastics open.

I ended up thinking (once again) that I have been afforded an opportunity to raise awareness by City Press. I am a future journalist therefore i have the power to write stories and get the right people to make a noise about such things. So I'm thinking of writing a story about her.

That's if the big boss approves of it anyway.

17 October, 2007

East Londoners: Take care of your environment

Ukona Jelwana (WSU)

I don't understand why people can't clean up after themselves.

East London is fairly clean (during the day) I must admit, but when the clock strikes five and people are on their way home I find that the streets are filled with paper, plastic bags, rotten fruit etc.

We are guilty of throwing things out of our windows, be it a car's window or a house window it does'nt matter. I mean even though we have street sweepers cleaning every evening, is'nt it morally correct to say that a person should know not to make a mess just because they know that its not their job to clean it up.

As Thomas and Glen from Metro fm likes to say " this is seriously stealing my joy".

21 September, 2007

What would Biko think?

By Somikazi Dyolivane [ufh]

Steve Bantu Biko - a South African icon, political activist who believed in equality of all races and provision of equal opportunities for all citizens of South Africa - was brutally murdered on the 12th of September 1977 by the apartheid regime. Biko was a great man who had a vision for South Africa and its citizens.

Biko sacrificed his life, hopes and dreams so that you and I, the youth of South Africa can have a future and freedom of expression.It has been 30 years since his passing. Today South Africa is a free nation. South Africans enjoy many freedoms, but not all freedoms are exercised responsibly.

Would Steve Biko be content with the governance of South Africa? Would he be happy with the way South Africans use their freedoms.

What have you done further Biko's ideas?

City Press on Biko hypocrisy

Simphiwe Kanityi

When I think of what would Biko think today it's like thinking about Jesus. What I mean about this is that there were people who pretended to be Jesus's friends while they were hypocrites. Those were the people who said good things while in public but failed to implement action.

For me, wherever Biko is now, I think we both think the same way:
"It is better to have heart without words than having words without heart".

What I mean is what Jesus told His disciples when He said: "Some are just worshipping me with their 'huge' lips while their hearts are far away from me, and that is what people are doing these days. They just commemorate for the sake of commemoration, there is no meaning.

I also liked the article I read in
City Press written on the 15 September by the columnist Khathu Mamaila which reads as follows:

... Some among us are either hypocrites or cowards or both...

One of the values of Biko’s contribution was to put the African at the centre, not periphery, of the unfolding cultural revolution.

There is a crusade, a total onslaught, on the very concept of being African. Only last week, those who had appointed themselves the guardians of the uncivilised and savage African were at it again.

They were calling for an end to the practice of virginity testing. They say the practice abuses children. What they conveniently forget to say is that the girls who participate in the reed dance and virginity testing go there of their own free will. They are not forced. In fact they are proud to participate in the event. But the practice is dismissed as alien because it is foreign to the dominant culture, which is Eurocentric. And because of that, it should be dismissed as barbaric and abandoned.The same applies to other African practices such as koma, or initiation. The general focus is on the negative – the deaths of initiates.

... So perhaps as we remember Biko and celebrate our national heritage, we should look closely at things that restore our collective Africaness. It is not enough to just say Biko was a great leader while failing to implement the small things that he tried to inculcate in us.Instead of being too ready to hero-worship Biko, we should honestly interrogate his ideas so that when we identify with his vision, our lives can align properly with his teachings. For now, the whole thing is superficial.

Great work Future Journalists keep it up!

14 September, 2007

Apathy: Our generation's greatest curse

Jerusha Sukhdeo (UJ)

September 12 marks three decades since the death of black consciousness icon, Steve Bantu Biko. While many choose to reflect on Biko’s strength of character and iron resolve there is a lesson to be learned in the infamous response of South Africa’s Minister of Justice, James “Jimmy” Kruger. Kruger stated that Biko’s death left him “cold”.

The former Justice Minister and his ilk, felt nothing at the time of Biko’s death.

30 years on, it is disturbing to see that this sentiment remains. Even more disturbingly, this sentiment remains with the youth. Young people are increasingly ignorant and apathetic about the sacrifices made by men and women as recently as 30 years ago. Disinterest in politics, current affairs and even history is rife. While not everyone is political, an understanding of South Africa's political history and climate may lead to greater understanding and co-operation.

Dwelling in the past will certainly accomplish nothing. Ignoring it, however, may accomplish as little.

Apathy is our greatest curse.

Future Journalist?

Michelle Jones

Being a Future Journalist is a more than a little daunting. It almost sounded like I was going to become an Editor of a major newspaper next week.

The Future Journalists are all students: first years, second years and third years from around South Africa who were chosen to work together on various media projects.

We have just attended the Highway Africa Conference in Grahamstown. We attended lectures, discussions and workshops on an array of topics such as blogging, gender issues and the changes in journalism due to new technology. We were lucky enough to meet national and international renowned journalists. City Press has given us the amazing chance to be able write for them and be published.

I may not be editing that paper yet, but with these opportunities available to us, it’s only a matter of time.

The New African Storytellers – convergence to enlightenment

Nqobile Buthelezi

Our forefathers told stories of creation by looking into the stars as their distant guides for direction, but future journalists tell tales of civilization and innovation guided by mediums distinct to our time and space.

Highway Africa 2007 marks the birth of the Future Journalist Programme, an initiative by young and vibrant South African media students who tell stories of the world in their true essence as they unfold. However, faced with the dichotomy between new media forms and the traditional media, we have to find ways to dissolve this barrier and attain our positions as agents of an integrated form of reporting, that does not succumb to either the old or new but to both.

The heated discussion during this year's Highway Africa was whether blogging and citizen reporting should at all be considered as 'professional journalism' or merely as a hobby occupying a space to express individual feelings and opinionated commentary on current affairs. This argument generates from the 'apparent' lack of ethical knowledge and disciplinary standard procedure in terms of how bloggers and citizen journalists represent stories. However, digital storytelling should not be seen as a hindering approach that jeopardises the quality and professionalism of journalism (this issue forming the main theme of the conference).

We have shifted into an era of convergence, a revolution driven by technology that enables the flattening of hierarchical structures, where previously segregated media platforms are now merged in one medium, namely the internet. This movement doesn't entail the unification of content, certainly not. The media should keep pluralism at its highest where different voices tackle agendas from various angles, therefore allowing the public to decide for themselves. After all Africa is a large continent and is a hub of diverse people, languages, culture and religion.

Bloggers, as much as journalists have a functional role to play in the media and the society at large. As Ndesanjo Macha stated, during the Digital Citizen Indaba , humans have the urge to share and express what they see, feel and think, this being a continuation of an old African tradition. Those with the innate ability to tell stories must claim their prehistoric right to tell these stories and document this history, however bearing in mind that they are agents who are reporting in the twenty first century. In his talk, Ndesanjo called this shift as "Moving from rockpaintings to Mental Acrobatics".

Media reporting brings question to power and therefore should be done accordingly, avoiding the downfall of nations. This thought though, shouldn't limit citizen reporters in fulfilling their right to tell stories as they see them. After all, we can never agree on how to report, but can agree on the fact that every story deserves to be told.

I write what I like

Keamogetse Letsholo

The 2007 Highway Africa Conference, which attracts African journalists from all over the continent, took place the same week when South Africa commemorated the assassination of Steve Biko was vocal about freedom of expression.

Biko's famous quote of "I write what I like" is in line with what journalists are doing.
Although reporters cannot necessarily write what they like, their reports can contribute to changing public views and opinion which are the key drivers of democratic thought and discussion.

As African journalists we should be proud of ourselves and attempt to portray Africa positively rather than as a dark continent characterised by war, poverty and negativity.

I would like to think that if Biko were still alive he would be a politician who would write columns to correct the dominant Western opinion of Africa, and would who strive to do away with parachute journalism.

Digital Media for 2010

Dinilohlanga Mekuto

Digital media has an important role to play in promoting our country for 2010 and beyond.

Imagine the reach of the World Wide Web,with 1 173 109 925 users world wide according to Internet World Stats, we could use this medium of communication to promote our country. With the technology at our disposal i.e digital cameras, blogs and video clips we could help in promoting the country and various venues where the matches will be held.

Let us use this technology for our benefit, let us use it for the good of our country. Let them see, let them know and let them come. You have the tools, now use them.

See you soon.

Africa comes to G'town

Nokubonga ' Bobo'

Each September
Africa relocates to Grahamstown during Rhodes University's annual Highway Africa conference. The diverse combination of Africans blended together to catapult such an experiential and memorable event. Apparently Zambia has 72 languages and Ki-Swahili is the most spoken language in Africa.

I don't think I would have known that if I wasn't here.

Highway Africa

Yandiswa Tembani

Highway Africa is a conference that gives African media an opportunity to share views and ideas. Presentations were informative to both current and future jounalists.

Participants discussed what needs to be done by journalists to perform their job effectively. The event also offered an opportunity to network and interact with reporters from over 42 African countries.

Not what Biko would have wanted

Ukona Jelwana (WSU)

If Steve Biko were alive today, he would have been a father of four (don't ask me why though).
He would have been a political journalist rather than a politician because today's politics are completely different from what he stood for.

He wouldn't be intimidated into silence by the government and big business. He would continue to write what he liked. And his people would be his first priority.

12 September, 2007

New journalism, new generation

THE PAST few years has seen considerable debate about the merits of 'new' versus the old or 'legacy' media - print, radio and TV - and the effects this may have on 'journalism'. This week, that debate came to Highway Africa - the continent's largest annual gathering of media intelligentsia in Grahamstown, South Africa.

The dystopian chorus tends to emanate from an old guard who sees journalism as an immutable practice based on fixed values and ideal principles. They nostalgise about the purity of the past and relate how journalism is threatened by new technologies and the young upstarts who challenge the status quo.

There is nothing new in this. The monks who wrote books by hand were not thrilled with Gutenburg and his movable type. Radio hacks had their nose bent out of joint by television, and less than two decades ago, the transition to PCs and desktop publishing offended the sensibilities of many newspaper sub-editors.

Change is inevitable. A thoughtful and critical examination of the impact of any technology on the established value and quality of an existing practice such as journalism needs to be considered - especially in developing contexts such as Africa.

Who benefits?
What can be added through ICTs?
What could be lost?
How can old and new coexist?
The solution is never either/or but will continue to color newsroom cultures for years to come.

Future Journalists
The future of journalism belongs to those who believe in the ethical values of journalism, who competently 'precision storygather' and 'storytell' in the public interest using multiple modalities, and who have the balls to bravely tell the "African story".

The African story is not just about the elite, big business and breaking events. It is about how power affects us all and about how African citizens are every day reclaiming their dignity after centuries of feudal, colonial and authoritarian repression.