26 July, 2010

Profile of Thelma Mapule Mbhalati, the retired head of the SABC Radio News and Current Affairs


by Anorth Mabunda

“I am not a former head of the SABC Radio News and Current Affairs, I am retired,” says Ms Thelma Mapule Mbhalati during the opening of the 14th Highway Africa and World Journalism Education Conference in Grahamstown, Rhodes University following an anecdotal statement by the former president of Ghana, Mr John Kufour who said that a former or an ex is the one who have been couped or fired from the position but a retired is the one who took such a decision by her/himself.

Mapule, born 55 years ago, began her journalism career in 1975 as a programme compiler for the then Radio Tsonga (now Munghana Lonene FM) after freelancing for the station as an announcer. She is the first women to be appointed by the station on a permanent basis and first woman announcer to read news bulletins despite the then sexist apartheid laws. She then rose to manage the station from 2000 to 2003.
Mapule describes her first decade with Radio Tsonga as more vibrant and allowed more self expression. As a programme compiler for the station she introduced the stations then famous programmes like Ta khale ta thlavula (classic heals), Nqambi ya nan’waka (artist of this year) and Tinsimu ta Africa (songs of Africa). She also transformed some already existing programmes like Nongonoko wa ta vamanana (programme of women issues) by adding more feminine health, awareness and empowering programmes.

This however, Mapule says her real encounter with journalism came after the looming retrenchments in Radio Tsonga a decade later when she moved to Channel Africa in 1985 to form part of the general news team.” That is where I started recognising the importance of journalism. I started learning more fundamentals of this vast industry and so I enrolled at Birnam College in 1988 to study journalism”.
She played a major role in the team that transformed the channel from a world service to an African service channel and was appointed an executive producer to the channel.

In 2003 she was appointed the station manager to the then white only SA FM. During her three year period as a station manager she refurbished the station in to a 50% white and 50% black station. Her tenure marked the rise of young black presenters like Vuyo Mbuli and Qolani Gwala. She is also known for down grading the station from a conservative old people station to a vibrant companion of the fledgling young audience.

At her time of joining SA FM there were only two black presenters. Her tenure marked the appointment of black talented presenters and producers. The listenership age ranged from 24 to 49 also luring some young university and college students. The women listenership rose from 20 to 47 percent. She also introduced gospel and choral programmes which are popular among the black communities. “It’s now almost four years since managing the station but nobody seem to be challenging my initiatives. Sometimes I seat down and listen to the station and I am like, my legacy still prevails”, she said confidently with a beam in her face.
She headed the SABC Radio News and Current Affairs from July 2006 to June 2010. She was forced to take an early retirement because of the looming tensions in the SABC board.

Mapule believes that women are still being oppressed in the post-colonial Africa and because of their ability to work hard and their persistence, are seen as a threat by their male colleagues in the workplace. She cites political interference as detrimental to the African media,” the African media is run by the government and the concept freedom of expression is still being oppressed. Journalists are being blamed by our African politicians for telling the truth.”

As a veteran with more than three decades in the media industry, Mapule describes a good journalist as someone who always makes research, follow media ethics, writes in a good simple language which can be easily translated, loves hard working, passionate about his/her job and always shows respect.
“If you want to be rich in journalism you are at the wrong side, here we deal will passion,” the tall and still looking young and vibrant Mapule says.
One of her four children, Sindisa, describes her as a generous woman who always let her children roam and explore alternative opportunities in the world.” She is an inspiration and a reliable friend to me. She always fends for us and allows us to be whatever we what to be.”

Sindisa reminisced of the day she was giving birth to her daughter, Mya, when her carrying mother had to live some of her job responsibilities behind just to be with her in the hospital.
The station manager of Munghana Lonene FM, Tsakani Baloyi, says she met Mapule when she joined the SABC in 1995. She describes Mapule as a very experienced woman who display passion for journalism and quality leadership. “She left a legacy; she was always firm with an in-depth knowledge of news and never loses touch with her language and culture,” Tsakani says.

Despite being always in the mews room where she had a huge task of supplying news bulletins to 18 and current affairs to 15 SABC radio stations, Mapule is a family and religious person. Her plan after her controversial retirement is to raise her two grand children, Mya (six months) and Jack (three months) but looking forward to continue her contribution to the media. “I just need a break at the moment,” she says.

22 July, 2010

Profile on a Professor

It really brought pleasure to me to shake the hand of one of the acknowledged Professors in the field of Journalism and Media Studies who is also invited to serve as the speaker in Highway Africa Conference. His name is Prof Loren Ghiglione, the man with both teaching and working experience. He studied at Harvard University in USA, where he also worked for student paper as freelancer journalist, then promoted to be copy taster and lastly given status as chief editor. He is currently working as a lecturer at the North Western University in the City of Chicago, USA.

His working experience started back in the days where he owned a newspaper company called Southbredge producing daily newspaper named Evening News. This started when he was 28 years old and lasted to exist two decades and six years. In the other hand he gained his teaching skills when he was hired to lecture ethics, global Journalism, southern history, geography and politics at North Western University.
His theme of living is based upon the fact that people must unite which is exactly this conference is willing to attain. Prof L. Ghiglione enjoys every step of his way in this conference, particularly taking in account the fact that he likes networking with different people from all various parts of the world.

Prof L. Ghiglione is presently 69 years old, and still willing to initiate universal media company since he advocate the use of media in our daily existence. He believes that nothing is impossible in the hands and mind of achiever. This had made him successful in his career life as he was once the president of American Newspaper Society (1989 to 1990) and lastly the chairperson of Executive Deans in the Faculties of Humanities in his country, USA.

Prof Ghiglione arrived in this country on the 13th June, where he visited South African media companies such at Etv, City Press, The Star, SABC Johannesburg and Mail & Guardian to wish them good fortune as FIFA World Cup will be the order of the day in South Africa. He comprehends that every company is good and can survive for a longer provided if owners have high understanding of the country’s economy.

by Aubrey Mokgerere

First Times

Sunday the 04th July 2010 was the first day for the first time ever in my life to set a foot upon the prestigious territory of Rhodes University. Our journey has taken us the whole Saturday night travelling. The trip was so nice that I found myself exploring some of major cities, towns and rural vicinities of Free State and Eastern Cape, which it was for the first time in my entire life experience. This has indeed brought a lot of pleasure to me, since I believe my present will help to enhance my writing for the media skills. Our arrival was blessed with cool weather, requiring no coats to spend minutes outdoor.

Our journey ended at Grahamstown, Kimberly Hall of Rhodes University, where we found our mentor and the FJP coordinator, Moagisi waiting to give us directions. It was so marvellous that we even got registered on that very first day of our arrival. For that fact it was clear to realize that we were officially welcomed, as we were also oriented to ensure that we remain familiar with the environment. Things like rules and regulations, official introduction of FJP and lastly meeting other FJP members were some of the included within the welcoming moment. The issue of networking therefore began within the group as we were deliberating about the trip, and how fortunate we were to be selected.

According to my colossal comprehension FJP is a corporate journalism initiative, assisting students and facilitators of media studies, to revamping their writing for the media skills. It entails deliberate motive based upon offering opportunities in journalistic training and lastly, but most imperatively the media in broad. In it, media students explore some of the far- fetched aspects in the field of writing and how to be a good media practitioner. It also ensures that media practitioners gain more understanding in some of constitutional provisions that relate to the South African media industry

Starting from that moment of our arrival I therefore began to realize that our present to this magnitude Highway Africa Conference will therefore, ensure that we are indeed attractive products to the media owners when in need of employees. My utterance follows the fact that Highway Africa is believed of being a sharpener of African media practitioners, and lastly it features many media professionals with the willingness to share both working and teaching experience. Maybe to quote some of those people, the likes of Mathatha Tsedu, John Maguire and Izak Minnaar are some of them I felt pleased to meet with them on my first arrival day.

I really enjoyed how we were exposed to the real media equipments, as to me it was a way to be exposed to media fraternity. I even began to shape some of my intensions and way forward in the field of journalism and media studies. In nut shell, I advocate the use of media than ever before I could be part and parcel of Future Journalist Programme, and by so saying I am ready to partake within each an every activity under FJP.

by Aubrey Mokgerere

21 July, 2010

Just one of those days

by Jenny Mathebula
Have you ever woken up in the morning and everything just seems to go wrong from the onset? Well I just had one of those. Tuesday was like that for me. Firstly I got up late (I am a routine sot of girl and I hate it when it gets disrupted). I went to school and got back some test results from last term, I definitely did not do as well as I would have liked. I then did a presentation in front of the first and second year journalism and you guessed it, it went horribly wrong. I was so nervous. I just kept on stumbling on my words. The day ended just as it had started. I forgot my purse at one of the counters at Spar and my purse is my life. It had my ID, bank card, gym card, money and a bunch of other things I just can’t live without. I have to give a big thanks to the lady at Spar who found it and gave it back to me this morning.
Now, on to a more interesting topic. I don’t know if anyone else watched last night’s episode of special assignment on witch craft. I don’t know if it’s just me but people seriously believe all those stories about people turning into flies and going to other people’s houses to listen in on their conversations. I think half of those people who believe they are bewitched are probably schizophrenic or have some other mental disorder and psychiatric help. The rest are probably just lying for one reason or the other. But hey that is just my opinion. I would like to hear your opinion on whether you believe such stories.
This is coming from a girl whose grandmother was a sangoma. Its not like I don’t believe in ancestors and our traditions because part of me does but I think even my grandmother who believed in witchcraft would be sceptical of those people. For a moment there I thought I was watching The Exodist except the movie was much more believable.

15 July, 2010

Is a citizen journalist a threat to a qualified journalist?

by Anorth Mabunda

After the whole debates in the Digital Citizen Indaba on the last day of the 2010 Highway Africa conference, I came to ask myself this question: Is a citizen journalist a threat to my livelihood as a journalist?

With the rise of social networking, what Salem Fakir dubbed the crypto journalism (Face book, Twitter, Mix it, Blogs, My space etc.) which enables anyone to take part in the production and distribution of information, will media companies in future lay off qualified journalists and rely on ordinary citizens for some news bulletins?
The answer is evidently a NO! While qualified or mainstream journalists in Africa are still being blamed for lack of professionalism and ethics, let’s just think about how a story from a raw citizen journa will sound. He/she never heard of news values before and doesn’t understand the impact of the first line in a story.

Yet many ordinary citizens still see journalism as a difficult job destined for model-C graduates who can speak English with panache and not for the Anorth Mabundas of this world who have their educational back ground in Bankuna High and Bombeleni Primary School. Another challenge is the ability to use. People have the internet in the palms of their hands but they are not aware that they are much privileged, that they could be contributors in informing the nation, as Pieter J. Fourie puts it, “Even though one may have access to the new media, it mean nothing if a person or a group doesn’t know how to use it in order to gain from it”.

I think professional journalism will be always in demand as we talk about African Voices in the global media space. Qualified journalists are required to build Africa’s world wide image in a professional and reliable manner.
The rumour that citizens have revolted, that they want control over space, time and platform wouldn’t erode away qualified journalists’ role in providing reliable and balanced information to the society.

This is my opinion, wena uri yini xana ke? What are you saying?

The power of the internet

by Anorth Mabunda

As Africa reaches the pivotal point of the “third wave”, the talk of the day is the new media/internet. Because of its complexity, vastness and ability to offer unlimited space for debate, the internet stands the greatest compared to the traditional media which propagates ideologies and force its audience to play a passive role of watching, reading and listening.

You can write your comment to the editor of the newspaper but because of the very limited space your comment might not be published. You can try and call SA fm in an attempt to comment on a burning topic but their telephone line might happen to be full and you are going to lose more of your airtime (money).

With the internet the story is different, you are in a land where you can explore and write as you like at a very low cost. It’s funny how I am able to read the whole articles of the day in the Media-24 site at less than R1. Ever since falling in love with the new media, I have stopped my usual routine of cutting newspaper articles and stash them in to my flip file. The only thing I have to remember now is the web address or the words that were written in the Pretoria News’s banner as the taxi was moving fast by Andries street in Pretoria. Gone are the days when I have to bother my neighbour by asking for some previous newspapers, now I only need a R5 airtime and just type in the word “Julius” and in few seconds I would know all about the tenderpreneur saga and the” kill the Boer” racial slants.

Should I want to print my research, I just minimise the font size and have all my research in a single page and pay only R1 for print outs.
When we look at the communication evolution we see an old idea getting replaced by the new one e.g. the radio succeeded the word of mouth, the Television suppressed the radio with visuals, are we in the process whereby the newspaper will be eroded by the new media?

With the speculation that almost 95% of Africa’s black population is diagnosed with paperophia (fear of paper), are they also diagnosed with technophobia (fear of technology)? I remember the reactions of my fellow students in our first year when we were introduced to Facebook by our lecturer. Everyone was very agitated, others even called him a dictator but now I am sure from the bottom of their hearts they are thankful to him, they just can’t conceal their pride and tell him. This also shows to us how people are outside the university: more ignorant towards emerging technologies.

I have learnt that many journalism departments in Africa don’t offer online journalism, what a shame to the traditional journalists that they are endeavouring to produce in this globalised 21st century. TUT finally got an Online Journalism lecturer, thank God I am privileged.

Question of the day: Are we wasting time by having print media as a subject or field of specialist?

Quote of the day: “Cyberspace is sometimes described as a place to explore or discover but never to comprehend” (Dodge and Kitchen, 2000)

Back in campus

by Anorth Mabunda


As is the case with many students in the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve campus, I expected some changes after the World Cup in my dormitory which is famously known as Block X.
I abruptly disembarked from a taxi on the 10th of July with a much anticipation that things would have changed, new curtains and bulb holders would have been installed and our cracked walls well painted. It’s a shame to be back to the same dilapidated, health hazard dormitory where I am paying more than seven thousand Rands annually.

This all makes me long for the interim comfort that I have experienced in the Rhodes University’s New Res Two. Students at Rhodes (particularly whites) are living a Five-Star life, good catering, TV rooms, fresh blankets that looks like they have just come from the dry clean and of course, well maintained rooms that are good to raise future leaders in. In TUT Soshanguve campuses we only get a broom, two stoppers, a bin and an old ragged blue curtain which looks like a donkey has just chewed and spilt for hobos to use. We have to bring all of the basic needs with us including a stove, iron, food, a fridge, TV, etc., it’s like starting another home.

Ever since going to Rhodes and the TUT’s Pretoria campus, I could feel the impact of class and racial divisions. Why should black students be the ones that are suffering?
From our poor homes thousand miles away, we all anticipated that fancy life and freedom that our peers from rich families who went to the university before us told us about; only to find out that we have just been dragged in the harsher conditions that makes you long for the “pap and vleis or morogo” at home.

I would be lying if I say I’m enjoying my university life as a black student in the post-apartheid South Africa, my life in the campus reflects the one that my father told me about in the Mamelodi West hostel in his youthful days in the 80’s. Old, leaking, stinking bathrooms and showers, cracked walls and ceilings; and of course, noise from Zulu drunkards in the corridors every weekend.
I dream of a life whereby black disadvantaged students will deserve a good life as that of rich whites and BEE kids whose parents are affiliated to the ruling party.

Do you or did you enjoy your university life reader?

Brazil 2014: BEAT THIS!


Brazil will have a hard time topping South Africa's hosting abilities in 2014, BUT I will give them a chance before we pull a British and German press move on them, like how it was done to us.

For me the WC wasn't in the stadium. No. It was at the fan parks. That was where the vibe was. and these pictures telll a huge story:








With Brazil's annual Rio Festival, they can pull something better, but I doubt they will be as superb as South Africa! But younever know. All I know is that I am saving up for Brazil 2014 and I am sooooooooooo there!

14 July, 2010

world cup atopsy


Its been intresting. Apart from the sideshows about vuvuzelas and playerz going on strike da action on da pitch has been intresting.

1. A lot of "big name" playerz didn't make it due to injury or omition (benzema, nani, anderson, ferdinand, ballack, nasri, ronaldinhio).

2. A lot of the golden boys were there but neva showed up (messi
kaka
gerrard
lampard
terry
rooney
ronaldo
torres
cannavarro
henry

3. Tshabalala's opener will take a lot to beat for my moment of the year .

4. The african teams in an african world cup (EISH).

5.Luis suarez hand of devil i think he did what any player wud have done he gave his team a chance it payed off.

6 forlan, villa. Muller. Sneijder. Higuain.Suarez. Klose and vittek all showed that attack is still the best form of defence.

7 we welcome the world cups new young blood thomas muller, mesut ozil, jerome boateng (germany)-johan goorkuf (france)-luis suarez (uruguay) definately ones to luk out for in the future.

8 i wud like 2 mention a couple of players who i think have a minimal chance of exelling from this point foward at international level (thiery henry-frank lampard-miroslav klose-steven gerrad-gigi buffon, fabio cannavaro, daniele de rossi). Its been great knowing u thank u 4 da memories i wönt forget u

My dream team

Coach: oscar tabarez

Goalkeeer:
Iker cassillas
Right back
Sergio ramos
Center back
carles puyol
center back
jorge luguno
left back
philip lahm
defensive midfielder
bastian schweinsteiger
midfield playmaker
xavi
attaking midfielder
wesley sneijder
right winger
thomas muller
left winger
musut ozil
striker
diego forlan

subs:
manuel muner
jerome boateng
andre iniesta
giovanni van bronkost
dos santos


ones for the future (some we did not see in tho world cup)
luis suarez
pato
benzema
Yoann Gourcuff
Sami nasri
Jerome boateng
Mesut ozil
Thomas muller
Javier hernandez
dos santos

who will be the fifa world player of the year


After a topsy turvey season that did not go according to script for most of the club and national soccer giants of the world, its more then fair to say that this years wolrd player of the year will be one of the most intresting we’ve had in a while. So I decided to round up a list od some of the usual and not so usual suspects that might be the winner on the night.

Lionel messi-I gotta say I don’t like him all that much, but you can’t ignore his abilities on the pitch. When he touces the ball most defenders get nervous and just wanna go home. He didn’t score a goal in the world cup but his ability to fetch-hold-pass and run with the ball created a number of opportunities for his team. He is the current world player of the year and hasn’t had a bad season at Barca (he netted around 45 goals). But this only resulted in domestic glory for barca and nothing in Europe or in the world cup.

Why he should not win: as good as he is he hasn’t achieved anything spectecular this season, some wouls say that 45 goals is spectacular along with a domestic title, (sure it is bu consider this the European golden shoe system allows a player to win the award even if the player scored fewer goals on the stipulation that the other player plays in a tougher league-this is a ridiculous rule) so Messi scored 45 but then again Luis suarez also netted 45 for his club Ajax Amsterdam

Diego Forlan-he has already won the europen golden shoe twice yet he has never even been shortlisted for the world player of the year award (which leaves you wondering how the selection process is managed) he was also one of the joint top scorers in the world cup with five goals and was named the tournments best player.

Why he won’t win: he is not a fancy player not much footwork and is not on the spotlight (especially since leaving man u) most journalist and voters will probably just ignore him and choose a more branded name

Xavi: he has more completed passes then anyone else in the world cup he is arguably (next to Owen Hargreaves) the most technically sound player in world football today, he perhaps is the catalysy for the Spanish world cup vistory.

Why he won’t win: he doesn’t score goals

Thomas Muller: unknown to anyone other then those of us that were supporting the german cause, Muller is definatley one to look out for in the future (as was likas podolski in 2006). His 5 goals. 3 assisits and fluent running on and off the ball are something not many defences can cope with. He also has the ability to read the game superbly. He has also been named the tournaments best young player

Why he won’t win: he hasn’t achieved much with his.

Wesley Sneijder: this then brings me to the man I feel shoul win the best player of the year. When he and Robben left madrid I felt that the double sellout was once again on (a double sellout is when Madrid sell two great players it also heppened with the lites of Fernado Heiro and Michael Salgado as well as Gabriel Henze and Luis Figo). Sneijder went on to win treble with inter including the champions league, contributing some fine playmaking and goals along the way. He also lived up to expectation during the world cup netting 5 and making the dutch team look really really good. This man should be the world player of the year hands down.
Why he might not win: EVERYBODY LOVES MESSI (EXCEPT ME) SIGH

13 July, 2010

FJP AWARDS 2010

By Sungeni Chithambo

ANELE - The Mother Hen award for being the best, protective and approachable FJP coordinator we could ask for

ZINHLE - The Fashionista award for being up to date with the latest trends, having the best fashion blog out there and rocking all her black outfits

MINA - The Networker award for networking with anyone and everyone and never hesitating to approach media professionals

LEBOGANG - The Twitterholic award, for always being glued to ur phone and tweeting about anything and everything. I think he also deserves an award for being the only one to enjoy Absa's pink unrolled lamb, and who could forget that hyena laugh?

ASANDA - The LOL award, for spreading her dimpled laughter everywhere she goes :)

POLLIE - The Photogenic award, for never failing to look good in any pic no matter how bad the rest of us look!

MALUSI - The Cool Dude award, for being cool, calm and collected in every situation, except when he seriously wanted to win an MTN hamper and wouldn't stop jumping up and down till he got it!

SIHLE - The Cuckoo! Award for being the craziest, loudest member of our group - never failing to wake up anyone in our corridor and sleeping with his door open on one occasion.

SINDY - The Jiva sexy award, coz she can dance and she knows it! And for showing us that she is not such a quiet chil after all

LUSIZO - The 'I'd rather talk with my eyes award' for using his face to show expression rather than his voice!

JENNY - The 'I don't know the exit but I know where the toilet is!' award, for never failing to find the ladies room no matter where she is

PHUMLANI - The Vuvuzela award for blowing his vuvuzela the loudest at the Uruguay vs. Holland game, and spreading his hype everywhere

AUBREY - The MIA (Missing In Action)for always pulling a dissapearing act, but making up for it with his huge, friendly smile.

ANORTH - The In-focus award for being serious about his journey to becoming an Ombudsman. Let us also not forget the day he got left behind because he fell asleep on his chair!

JUNIOR - The Entertainment award for always cracking us up with his hilarious stories. We sure will miss those. And for being the star of the dance contest even though you didn't win.

VENOLIA - The I'm shy! I'm shy! award for being too too quiet. So tell us girl, are you shy or just quiet?

12 July, 2010

treasure the experience guys

To all the 2010 fjps please receive my warm sincere greeting and recognition for making it to the programme. I hope you will treasure all the experiences you have accumulated during your stay at Rhodes University and Highway Africa. It is the same programme that has made me who I am and some fellow fjps last year. So guys now that you are in your respective institutions of learning, make it a point that you practice what you learnt throughout the programme with your fellow classmates.
It is so sad to see so many students in different institutions desiring to be journalists ,yet they are unable to write stories or to use social sites like: twitter, blogger, zoopy etc. As young and aspiring journalists we need to acclimatise ourselves with these sites.

Wish you all the best as you venture in the discovery of how exciting and rewarding it is to be a journalist.

All the best to Moagisi and Anele for being with the fjps.

09 July, 2010

FUTURE JOURNO AWARDS 2010

By Sungeni Chithambo

ANELE - The Mother Hen award for being the best, protective and approachable FJP coordinator we could ask for

ZINHLE - The Fashionista award for being up to date with the latest trends, having the best fashion blog out there and rocking all her black outfits

MINA - The Networker award for networking with anyone and everyone and never hesitating to approach media professionals

LEBOGANG - The Twitterholic award, for always being glued to ur phone and tweeting about anything and everything. I think he also deserves an award for being the only one to enjoy Absa's pink unrolled lamb, and who could forget that hyena laugh?

ASANDA - The LOL award, for spreading her dimpled laughter everywhere she goes :)

POLLIE - The Photogenic award, for never failing to look good in any pic no matter how bad the rest of us look!

MALUSI - The Cool Dude award, for being cool, calm and collected in every situation, except when he seriously wanted to win an MTN hamper and wouldn't stop jumping up and down till he got it!

SIHLE - The Cuckoo! Award for being the craziest, loudest member of our group - never failing to wake up anyone in our corridor and sleeping with his door open on one occasion.

SINDY - The Jiva sexy award, coz she can dance and she knows it! And for showing us that she is not such a quiet chil after all

LUSIZO - The 'I'd rather talk with my eyes award' for using his face to show expression rather than his voice!

JENNY - The 'I don't know the exit but I know where the toilet is!' award, for never failing to find the ladies room no matter where she is

PHUMLANI - The Vuvuzela award for blowing his vuvuzela the loudest at the Uruguay vs. Holland game, and spreading his hype everywhere

AUBREY - The MIA (Missing In Action)for always pulling a dissapearing act, but making up for it with his huge, friendly smile.

ANORTH - The In-focus award for being serious about his journey to becoming an Ombudsman. Let us also not forget the day he got left behind because he fell asleep on his chair!

JUNIOR - The Entertainment award for always cracking us up with his hilarious stories. We sure will miss those. And for being the star of the dance contest even though you didn't win.

VENOLIA - The I'm shy! I'm shy! award for being too too quiet. So tell us girl, are you shy or just quiet?

08 July, 2010

Coveritlive - Digital Skills Training Workshop

by Simphiwe Kanityi


...In reality when it comes to digital skills you are talking a foreign language to (some) journalists today. Peter Verweij, a senior lecturer at the school of Journalism at Utrecht in the Netherlands, made it clear that you do not need to be on school premises in order to learn about using your cell phone as a tool to cover news live. Proactive (data collection) and reactive (voxpop) reporting are the two models that today’s' journalists never thought existed or at least could not distinguish how each is important than another. To put this in an understandable context, many journalists just opt for reactive reporting because it seems to be the easy model. Example, when the petrol price is going up they go around interviewing people on how they feel and how that will affect their day to day living. This is not wrong according to Verweij but there could be a better way that journalists can go for. Journalists can use their phones (internet) to collect data, meaning comparing petrol prices from various cities, previous years as to produce a strong story with relevant facts.

As the heading suggests, COVERITLIVE - means that you can directly cover any event only by using your phone. This gives you time now to collect enough data not just shallowly cover the story based on how people feels without covering the core issues. You see an accident, you do not just take pictures but seek more information about the city, the roads, past accidents and reasons and that will give you enough data for analysis so as to come up with well informed stories.

What was interesting about the workshop is that it was not just a one man talking session but have the practical sides as well. Participants had an opportunity to put into practice what they are learning and given the results they could find, it could be said the real time web reporting is working and necessary for today's journalism. One easy and trusted way that you can go about in finding information from around the world and specific countries, you can use Google public data, gap minder, wolfram alpha and you will find all the relevant information you need. Then for the immediate broadcast of this you can use tools such as coveritlive, Twitter, Audio Boo, Ustream, Qik and Vuvox. These are the tools where audio, video text and pictures can be uploaded. Amongst all these tools once again, blogging is still the way to go.

This therefore calls for all African journalists to report African news in a well informed position and not just goes with the stream of bad news. Verweij exclaimed that "there can be bad news about Africa, but can you not just give me what you see but give me data analysis, and bring together the figures". Therefore web reporting is important and todays' news rooms should be working towards this direction compared to television which is based on emotions. But the most important message from this first session is that journalist must not be so deadline minded to a point where they leave the facts behind. Figures, data, calculations and knowing the difference when the number are read as text or just as numbers and where they should be in Microsoft office excel matters most when it comes to getting the facts right. We will keep on updating you on the progress of the workshop since it will take the whole day of this last day of Highway Africa Conference.

07 July, 2010

Oh what an experience

By Sindisiwe Mthembu

Being part of the FJP gained me knowledge and at the same time it made me realise that there is still much that I have to learn. Looking back at the past three days I spent attending the Highway Africa conference I am asking myself what is it that I am taking back home with me, how am I going to use this knowledge to better myself as a journalism student and how will it contribute to my career. This was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Coming here I did not expect to meet such warm people. We come from different backgrounds, and we have different traditions and beliefs but under the same roof we were able to share knowledge and the discussions that were held were an eye opener of how we can change the world as young journalists.

City of Saints keeping it real

by Poliswa Plaatjie
All packed and ready to leave East London heading to the city of saints, man was I excited because it was my first time coming down here.

I was sitting next to Asanda ; a 2nd year Communication student at the University Fort Hare in Alice and well she seemed very friendly we talked and yeah I was right she is such a fun bubbly person with a beautiful smile and she laughs a lot damn.

We arrived in Grahamstown and we were welcomed by this gorgeous young lady, Anele Ngwenya; a 3rd year Journalism student here at Rhodes then later got a chance to meet the other FJP delegates.

All the delegates seemed very confident in themselves and I like that and I was so proud of myself to be surrounded by these young enthusiastic future journalists.

The same night of our arrival we were gathered in one room, all the FJP delegates and we had to say what do we want to do in Journalism in the future and man was I nervous don’t know why though guess I was scared I might say something bad and they would laugh at me but it was okay in the end we all knew what we want.

I got to the my room at Res 2 and the worse occurred, my phone had no network so I had to move around in order to get a better reception but that didn’t matter because I spent most of my time attending the workshops.

The one informal function that stood out for me was the MTN braai which was held at the Great Hall, I had fun there; we watched the Uruguay and Netherlands match and Luks from Umhlobo Wenene was playing some nice African music for us.

I’ve learnt so much within the little time that I’ve spent here in Grahamstown, I want to go back to WSU and tell my fellow students that blogging is the future, because we hardly blogged; last year we created blogs but after that we didn’t bother to check them out because we didn’t see it’s significance but now I do.

I want to come back for sure and I've enjoyed my time here.

the final day

by baphe malusi phukwana

Day three of the conference started really for me, I had nice time having breakfast with the guys. Though it was nice being with them, I knew at the back of my mind that it is the last time I’m being with them, sad hey.

Nevertheless is was a great experience for me. I learned a lot of things from each and everyone that I met here. It was nice finding out how other people think and how they view things and also share ideas on how to tackle certain issues when you are in the industry be in the industry.
I have learned a lot how to speak professionally with people and FJP h
as helped me to boost my confidence in socializing, I’ve seen my mistakes and there’s room for improvement in everything. I am with the contacts that I have made during this conference. I will keep in touch with them, as I want them to help me with my career. And I wont lie they were keen on working with me and also helping me get the internship I need.

The highlight of this whole experience is when I met Luks Gidane from Umhlobo Wene FM last night, I must say it was a great platform to meet new people. The other journalism students are really nice, they know what they want and are willing to listen to other people’s ideas. We’ve made friends with each other and its going to be really sad when we leave tomorrow. I so wish we could really come back in September hey.

Today’s sessions were really informative, I really enjoyed them. I could say the topics that really caught my attention is the talk about the use of social networking sites as a tool to inform the people about things happening around the world (breaking news such as the earth quake in Haiti). I really think we should utilise social networking sites and blogs as a way of communication and when I go back to my community and institution I will promote the importance of blogs and social networking sites and that they should engage themselves in social networking activities.

Highway Africa has been an amazing experience I will never forget anyone I met here and I’m great full for the opportunity I got to attend this function. I thoghroughly enjoyed myself. Big ups to Highway Africa and the team.

What did HAC mean to me?

by Asanda Guwa

Highway Africa Conference has been a life-changing, learning curve for me. The past three days have been absolutely amazing. Apart from constantly wearing a smile on my face thanks to my new found friends, my co FJP buddies, I have learnt so much.

I attended a couple of panel discussions covering a number of topics from Africa’s role on the Global media space, Truthful reporting during times of conflict, Natural resource exploitation and media on disasters and climate change. My favourite one was the Truthful reporting in times of conflict. There I learnt that it is not always easy for Journalists to report the whole truth especially in war zones. There is so much censorship in some countries to the point where reporting the truth could actually cost you your life. Some journalists don’t make it back home from war zones. That hit me hard and I actually spent last night thinking about whether not I could actually do that and I’m still thinking!!!

We also attended some documentary screening sessions which was a lot of fun. We attended Gala dinners with really important people and I got the opportunity to network and make contacts which I will keep in touch with because as I’ve gotten to know here, who you know is very important. More than anything I think that the fact that I can now tweet and blog is really great and I will definitely make sure that I share the wealth of knowledge that I have received here, I share with my peers when I get back to school. This has been a wonderful experience despite acquiring an eye infection which is getting better by the way.

Anele, the lady that has been looking after us said something so which seemed so profound at the time and its only now that I fully understand what she meant. She said “This program is widely recognised and when you leave here you will feel that “I believe you Anele.
I personally declare the Highway Africa Conference a huge success for me.

Experince

Junior Bester -

I arrived at the Highway Africa conference not really knowing what to expect, however I knew that it was an opportunity for me to gain valuable experience, contacts and knowledge.
The first night I spent at the conference was my introduction to blogging. I immediately began fascinated with blogging and felt it could provide a real future for journalists. I feel that when the internet ultimately kills print media. Print journalists and aspiring print journalists can easily turn to blogging as a way getting their views across. Also with the use of blogs it is possible to reach a much broader audience as anybody from around the world can access your blog. I feel blogging can be a really important tool in the future of journalism and I truly enjoyed learning about it during this conference.
During my first lecture I attended I heard of the problems that plighted African journalists. These problems were the oppression they experienced in their own continent and the lack of a major African voice in the global media. The oppression factor was a major problem for me as I felt that if journalists keep getting oppressed then freedom of speech would be greatly jeopardised. I felt it was important for gathering of such stature to discuss this issue and try to come up with a solution. After the first session we were then enlisted to compile a blog entry of our first day. This was my first blog that I posted and I felt a sense of pride to see my work published instantly onto the worldwide web.
The second day of the conference gave me the pleasure to meet Chansa Tembo, a Zambian video producer. Through Chansa I learnt that if you have a vision and the passion to be what you want then you can achieve great things. We were required to post a blog on somebody at the conference and I thought it would be perfect to make my profile about Chansa Tembo. I also attended a workshop about online journalism which introduced me to a few programmes that would assist me in the future as well as tips that I should follow.
The third day of the conference showed me the impact that social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook have on our world today. I learnt that the population of the Democratic Republic of Congo use these sites to rely messages of hope and sympathy to one another during their countries turmoil. They also use these sites to spread messages to people across the world and have since gathered many support form all over the world. A radio deejay from Haiti also showed us how the use of Twitter and Facebook helped him find his family during the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti this year. He showed us how he was able to take pictures of the destruction and upload it to these sites. He also showed us how he was able to spread messages to the authorities of people struggling for their life or people trapped in their houses.
The conference has also introduced me to young journalists from all over South Africa and I have since forged good relationships with them and hopefully these will help me in the future. The conference has been a massive source of knowledge for me and I also enjoyed the opportunity to network with journalists from different countries as well as heads of important media houses around Africa and the world. It has given me the chance to make valuable contacts and for that I am extremely grateful.

Last jay-walk on The Highway

By Wilhelmina Maboja

It’s always a great thing when somebody asks for your business card.


Though you wish you did have one (even if you made one from your home printer on A4 paper) the fact that a journalist or professor takes an interest in you that is more than momentary is quite intense.

There’s nothing but a sense of pride that comes with also donning your very own lanyard and name card that says “FJP Delegate” in bold underneath your name. Suddenly not only do they want your business card but they pat you on the back like you’re old friends when passing by.

This year’s 2010 Conference has been nothing but a mouthful: from the three course meals every day to the amalgamation of questions that want to shoot out of your mouth and wrap themselves around the minds of delegates. Every plenary guaranteed you a seat next to either a company CEO, correspondent, blogger or a fellow Future Journalist Project delegate, who was bound to corner you at the Eden Grove foyer and have you give them a business card or bleed out your contact details.

Beyond the conference, seminars and many a plenary, I found myself surrounded with a group of profoundly intelligent individuals with such a high calibre for journalism and most of all, communication. My FJP comrades were from the Tshwane University of Technology, University of Johannesburg, my very own Rhodes University and many others. I shared the same airspace and, possibly, cutlery, with fantastic men and women of the media such as Salim Amin, founder of Camerapix and creator of A24Media, and the former Ghanaian President. Despite this, what I will take back home and value the most is not the business card but the memories such as walking up the hill in the cold, dark and windy Grahamstown nights with Sushi, Zinhle, Jenny and Junior all for the sake of networking or the long bus ride to Grahamstown with a particular toddler yelling loud enough to want you to tie your tubes and renounce ever having a child of your own. Phew.

The more you ‘mingle’ with the delegates, the more confidence you get and eventually, stop psyching yourself up with a mini pep talk to sit next to Miriam Makeba and just do it.

The most insightful meeting I has was with Kambale Musavuli, a student coordinator of Friends of The Congo, an initiative aimed at creating an awareness of the plight of more than 6 million Congolese who had been killed by 1996, before and after colonialism. Though some might find it cliché and just another history lesson, the fact that he mentioned that coltan, a mineral found in Congo, was used in the uranium bomb of the Manhattan Project made me sit up and devise a plan that might just make a difference on campus.

My first time at Highway Africa has been nothing but influential and exceptional. I go home with the potential to be a kick-ass journalist and a little on the heavier side, thanks to the three course meals.

ON A SAD NOTE

Today is a pretty sad day in my life. I am attending the last day of the highway Africa conference and I swear the time seems to moving much faster than it normally does. I keep dreading the end of the day because I know that tomorrow morning I am going to have to say goodbye to an amazing group of people. I have had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with fifteen brilliant students from a number of different institutions around the country. Sharing my space with these individuals and getting to know more about their different backgrounds is an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I can’t mention great mention the amazing people that I have met without giving a special thanks to Anele, who has made me feel so comfortable from the first day that I got here.

The Highway Africa conference has exceeded all expectations I had of it before I got here. When you think of conferences or certainly when I think of conferences I think of this boring events that make you want to sleep. The Highway Africa conference has been the opposite of that for me. Maybe it is because they are discussing issues that are close to my heart but the point is this is conference has been anything but boring.

When I sit and reflect on my experiences during the past few days I realise that I have grown as a person since I got here. This is the first time in my life that I have been exposed to people of so many different nationalities. Either than attending sessions just sitting at lunch and talking to people I have learnt so much about the African continent and the world. I seriously want to learn French after this conference. Every where I went people were speaking French.

Attending the Highway Africa conference has been both educational and inspiring for me. No other day has been quit as inspiring as today ha been for me. I attended the best presentation for me by a mile today. The presentation was done by Kambale Musavuli who is from the DRC about the conflict in the Congo. I can’t describe the high I felt after attending that session I am just so inspired do get up and do something. Before today I knew very little about the minerals exploitation and human rights abuses happening in the Congo.

Almost six million people have died in the Congo because of the conflict since 1996 and half of those are young children. That has to be the most shocking and sad thing I have ever had in my life. Why was this not reported in the media? Why do we know more about the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq than we do about the Congo when pails in comparison to what is happening in the DRC? I don’t know how much a 19year old student from South Africa with limited resources can help the people of the DRC but I will do my best to raise awareness about the situation in the DRC.

In conclusion this has been one of the best experiences of my life and I hope tom pass on the knowledge that I have gathered here to not only the student at my University but to everyone I know. The information about citizen journalism is the one that I am particularly looking forward to passing on. I think more people want to have their voices heard and have their stories told. I hope I will get the opportunity to attend another Highway Africa conference and I will keep in touch with FJP delegates and the people that I have met during the conference. Until next I am sighing out.

Useful experience I gained during future journalists program and highway Africa conference

by Lusizo Ntshinka
Before I say anything I would like to appreciate a warm welcome I got from future journalists program co-ordinators, my colleagues and all people who were involved in making highway Africa conference possibly may God bless them, thank you. I never thought highway Africa and future journalists program would be useful like this. It was wonderful experience to see entire Africa and certain parts of Asia and Europe gathered together to share ideas, skills and experience in South Africa.

Have you ever been exposed to first class share of knowledge? If not I would like you to join highway Africa conference next time because is the only place you can get knowledge from different well-known people around the continent, that is Africa. Being part of highway Africa conference and future journalists program is the wonderful experience you will never get anywhere. I thought journalism is all about sending and receiving news, I never thought that journalism is so broad. Who would think journalism is the life blood of any democratic country even though politicians see journalism as the threats which expose their personal lives. The point here is that future journalists program and highways Africa have given me wonderful experience I needed to progress as future journalist. It was a great honour to meet former Ghana president Mr John Kufuor for the first time and he taught me things that helped me to see certain situations differently, that is kind of experience you would not get anywhere except in highway Africa conference. Highway Africa and future journalist program were really carrier building especial to future journalists like myself. I had a five minutes meeting with A24 media chair person Mr Salim Amin who told me to believe in myself, concentrate on what I’m doing and always expect criticism. I never thought that I could meet my role model Yvonne Chaka-Chaka who has inspiring voice and to me is the fountain of knowledge.

Journalists from around Africa were gathered to share the challenges facing them as well as African media and ways of solving them constructively. As the future journalist I had to listen attentively so that I can be prepared for challenges that I would face as journalist in few years to come. The important thing to me is that the experience I gained through African journalist gathering in highway Africa conference helped me to see journalism as the source of freedom in African countries particularly in those countries which are yet to get freedom, and that encouraged me to believe in myself as future journalist. I never knew that freedom of expression is still problem in many African journalists because of their governments, which really taught me that journalism is not as easy as many people would think. It would be a great pleasure for me to come and attend highway Africa and future journalist program once again as it is the only place I can get different knowledge from different people. Lastly I would like to encourage people more especial future journalists to attend highway Africa conference next year if they want to get wonderful experience I got.

The end of the highway

By Sungeni Chithambo
Highway Africa 2010 is over. The event of a lifetime has finally come to an end after a few, jam-packed short days. I wish it could have been at least a few days longer so I could get used to networking and form better relationships with the people I have already met.
I would definitely be interested in coming back to this conference because there is so much I have gained from workshops and speaking to professionals in different fields of journalism. All these people have so much to share; some a bit too much, but valuable information nonetheless! A lot of interesting people roam around during Highway Africa and they all have diverse views and opinions all waiting to be squeezed out by us young journalists.
I have had the most incredible experience as a delegate. I almost felt like a VIP each day, with the three course breakfasts and sitting on a table laid fit for a queen. It surprised me to find out that some of these “esteemed” media professionals are not as professional as I thought. Dressing in jeans and bomber jackets to formal affairs, talking loudly whilst speeches were being interpreted in French and complaining loudly about how long taxis were taking to arrive or how long the lines for food were.
I never thought I’d really make friends at this conference seeing as we’re only staying for a few days, but I have had enough fun and laughter to last me until school starts. Malusi, Pollie, Aubrey, Vee, Asanda, Lusizo, Cindy, Sihle, Lebza, Push, Anorth, Mina, Jenny, Zinhle, Junior – it’s been real. Let us keep touching each other! Lol. Or as abnormal people would say – let us keep in touch.
I never thought I’d have to set foot in the far away lands of New Res two but maybe it was fates way of keeping us in shape after the large meals we ate each day. Those closet sized rooms became quite cosy even though it took me a while to figure out the technicalities of switching on the heater. I even met a lecturer from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria staying with us who offered to post me one of her novels. I believe I could have met a lot more people than I did, but I regret to admit that my shyness took over. I was soon to find out that there was no reason to be shy because most of the delegates are willing to share their experiences and opinions. I made the mistake of asking a certain news reporter (no names mentioned) the following question: “do you think that print media is dying out”? He gave me a mouthful. Valuable information and advice, yes, but he went on for almost half an hour in the cold weather. So this is why I need to come back – so these media professionals can keep some of their thoughts in mind and share them next time.

Reflection on being part of FJP

Lebogang Mgiba

“Phew”, I don’t even know where to start. Okay, the conference has been an amazing experience since from day 1. There’s a lot that I’ve learnt from the sessions I attended, it helped me to think critically about the world and everything that’s happening around me and not agree on everything people say.

For example, a guy called John from French radio said “journalist’s job is to tell the story as it is-tell what you see; it’s not necessarily about telling the truth”. That statement caused a lot of debate in the conference room as I would like to believe that journalists should always tell the truth and be objective but anyway he’s entitled to his opinion.

I have met a lot of future employees, journalism scholars and one of my favourite authors Guy Berger. Don’t get me wrong, this were not groupie moments, they were strictly professional. Most of the people I met at the conference were not from South Africa but I took their business cards still but I honestly want to work in South Africa. That’s where my heart is. To be honest, it was hectic and we didn’t really get much attention and I would really like to come back again and do more than we did in this round especially activities with a lot of interaction.

I don’t know if I’m mad or what but people were going on and on about how whack is the food, guess what? I enjoyed the food but you can’t blame black people and their tendencies Lol, they probably wanted traditional food, well guess what buddy? This is Highway Africa.

I can’t even remember the name of the res I stay at but all in can say is sophistication, at least it’s a single, I wouldn’t want to expose myself that I snore. It’s a very cool place and clean t the same time. I also tried by all means that I don’t mess it up in any way.

I will definitely miss all the FJP participants; I had a wonderful time with you. It was actually great meeting you and i hope we won’t loose contact. Oh and how can I forget Anele, you were a great host and a great leader, I’m actually glad I met you, you actually a nice person.

My three days of amazing

by Anorth Mabunda
Attending Highway Africa really broadened my horizons and I can’t wait to go back to the Tshwane University of Technology and make a brilliant presentation of the whole event amongst all journalism students and lecturers.
Before coming to the conference it was not usual for me to type five hundred words in few minutes. The exercises we had as part of the Future Journalists Programme made me recognise the importance of being creative as a contemporary journalist.
The conference changed the way I viewed journalism as just a job that only requires you to write and meet the deadlines, there is more in this field. The conference also gave another new perspective in the way of approaching things as a journalist. Seeing professors and high profile media experts engaging in a very concerning debate about the state of the African media in the global space and democracy made me realise how vast the African media and perspective is.
Thanks to the fact that I am not a groupie kind of person, the retired head of the SABC radio news and current affairs,Mapule Mbhalati, was amazed by the way I set down and chat with her like we have known each other before. I didn’t believe that Yvonne Chaka Chaka is Tsonga until I speak to her by myself last night. I have learnt the importance of being connected in order to find a leeway to the workplace. Highway Africa and the Future Journalists Programme really added significantly to my future in the media industry. I enjoyed attending each topic the way I enjoy Mass Communication lectures with Mr. Tebid.
The diversity of the people who attended the conference gave me a taste of how diverse Africa is and its cultures. It made me experience how Africans can be connected despite cultural differences and so I believe that the concept “One African Voice” will be of reality soon.
I could also have a view of how it pays to work hard as a young journalist as some veteran journalists still look ragged and stuck in same positions for decades because of failure to entrench themselves by acquiring as many skills as possible in this vast changing and developing era of globalisation. Cornia Pretorius, a journalism lecturer in the North West University told me that” in order to survive in this low paying field, acquire as many skills as you can.”Mapule told me that “if you want to be rich in this field then you are at a wrong place, hear we work with passion.”
After having a brief interview with Rosemary Okello-Orlale from Kenya, she said, “you are a good journalist”; I am hoping to be the best of the best on day.
Most importantly, the conference made me see the importance of the new media in voicing African concerns and developments. It made me believe that as Africans we just need to live behind our national identities and come together for a more advanced Africa, technologically and socially. We have many key role players and youngsters in the African and international media who have committed themselves to changing the stigma attached to Africa by the international media. These African soldiers have committed themselves to abolishing the legacy of colonialism and that of despotic leaders who suppressed the concept of freedom of expression. I was just shocked to hear a journalist, whom I am not in a position to mention, failing to explain to a foreign journalist what the freedom of expression means to her.

A footnote on Highway Africa


By Sihle Raz Mthembu
It was Edward Murrow who said “let us u once in a while take the time to exonerate the importance of ideas”, this is something that rings true even today, in particular in relation to the African context. As things stand the entire continent is in one of the biggest booms in its history. This is marked by a flurry of intellectual and practical discourse in both issues of today and tomorrow. Highway Africa has virtually been one of the last safe havens where African journalists and their colleagues from around the world can actually engage freely on the issues that concern, influence and aid the work that they do every day. What I have found particularly interesting about this years conference was the fact that the themes and topics that were discussed did not only look at journalism in isolation. But on the contrary place it along with its surroundings. Such as in relation to health care, conflict, journalism education, technology and other issues that continue to plague the world today. The world journalism education seminars and panels were particularly interesting as they gave insight into some of the different experiences and commonalities. The field of journalism education is also one of the key issues that not only prevent journalists from doing their job efficiently but it also makes it easy for “Enemies if the truth” to undermine the journalists and their profession. The journalism congress has in a matter of days made significant strides in raising awareness about some of the curricula from around the world, how these curricula can be better structured and ultimately how it can help industry get well trained journalist that will give the public stories of the highest calibre. Just from walking around in the venues one can see that the world is indeed getting smaller. Here you are getting a mixture of cultures and countries in dialogue (I was particularly impressed by the integration of French as well as Chinese interpretations in the seminar). The highway Africa conference has explored most of the possible avenues of journalism dialogue and perhaps next year there will be an even broader focus

The start of a great journey

My experience of the Future Journalist Programme so far has been mind-blowing. This is my first time in Grahamstown and from what I had heard, Grahamstown Winters are super cold and sometimes unpredictable. But, when we arrived, the weather was amazing! (Except for today of course, it’s absolutely freezing!). I have already learnt so much from being here and attending the Highway Africa Conference but I know that there is still so much for me to learn.

One the best parts of being here has been meeting my fellow FJP participants, and I have to say that we are a diverse and incredibly funny group of people. Lebogang, my fellow University of Johannesburg comrade and Mr Twitter 2010, is always on his phone. I think we will literally have to pry the phone out of his hands to stop him from tweeting all the time. And Sushi, my fellow lover of African men, is still arguing with me that Andre Ayew (of Baghana Baghana fame) is her man. Sushi, I’m sorry to say, he’s mine (you can keep Boateng).

Junior, aka J.R., is always cracking a joke and he does become very chatty after a couple of cold beverages at dinner... Jenny and Mina, I’m pretty sure that none of us will ever forget that white lamb and “cous cous-esque” rice. It has really been amazing meeting all of the FJP participants and that’s why we need to come back – to learn more together and about each other.

Another great part of being here has been attending the Highway Africa Conference. There is still a long way to go for the African media and attending the conference has highlighted some the burning issues that African journalists still have to deal with - amongst these being access to information and the digital divide. Networking with the some of the delegates was also wonderful. This conference is the greatest gathering of African journalists, so I feel very privileged to have had the chance to meet some of these people.

The discussions and workshops I attended have also been extremely interesting. Having a chance to listen to the former President of Ghana, Mr John Kufuor, speak about “African Media and Global Development Agenda” was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The rest of the plenaries featured some very high-profile guests and it was good to hear some of their views.

I definitely would love to come back here. Being a Joburg gal, Grahamstown seems like a small town but I have to admit that I have been stung but the G-town bug. We have been treated wonderfully, from the delicious food to the comfortable residence, everything has been fantastic. I’m looking forward to regularly contributing to the blog and developing my skills as an aspiring fashion journalist. As the French say – merci beaucoup FJP!

By: Zinhle Mncube

06 July, 2010

My first day at highway Africa conference.

By Venolia Molebo
The first day I arrive here in Grahamstown was a very good day for me, I was really happy. I was really surprised to see a gorgeous university like this one. I met knew people from different provinces speaking different languages. We attended the high way conference the following day the 5th of July 2010 which was held at Eden Grove red and Eden Grove blue. It is my first time attending a crucial conference like this one, I enjoyed a lot at the conference and it was fantastic indeed. It was organised very well and all speakers gave the speech that gave me more power, the hall was full and there was several journalist and news reporters.
I hope and believe that this conference will give me more information and I will know much about my career as it is of paramount importance to know much before I complete my degree because a journalism course needs much practise than other courses. Telekom manager announced that it is important for student to practise. One speaker said a journalist must tell the truth and they must be careful on how they tell it and they must tell what they see. They should choose news that is right to hear. I learned a lot today and I know I am still going to learn more.
And the other talked about what media people should do, she said that media people should go out and talks to people listen to them, provide a platform to people, what they know. Journalist must get enough time or they must give them the opportunity to go round and do stories so that people can know what is going on around them.
I am very happy to take part in this conference, today I had a very good day. The former Ghana president was one the guest speaker today. It gave me more courage so now I can see that the conference is really essential for me.
They also informed us that blogger and twitter are significant we must make them our friends as we will learn lot from those sides. They discussed topics and after discussing they gave us an opportunity to give comments and ask questions, it was indeed great to us, they we were doing some jokes and we kept on laughing. They shared there knowledge with us and encouraged us to focus on our studies and make some practices as this will lead us to get jobs easily and be good In our jobs.
I met a white lady at tea time outside the conference hall who works as a journalist. The lady asked me some question and I answered them all properly and after that she took my particulars. We enjoyed a lot indeed. It was really nice for me to be in that conference as I learned a lot in my first day. I had a very good time in the conference meeting new people, I am very delighted.

Someone that I met

by Venolia Molebo
Today the 6th of July I went to the conference and I attended from nine to 12 mid day, after attending the conference I moved out of the hall as I was going to get my snacks and after that I moved down the street looking for someone that I can interview then as I was busy walking down the street I met a very beautiful lady next to Eden Grove, she is very bright in complexion with a good smile. She was wearing very nice black formal clothes with a very nice hairstyle.
I greeted her and she replied to me, I appealed her that I want to utilise only five minutes of her quality time. She is a very kind hearted person so she understood and agreed to be interviewed then she gave me the opportunity to question her. She likes interacting with people and she is too friendly.
Her name is Jackie Christie, she come from British far away from Eastern Cape Province, she was previously working as a journalist but now she quitted this journalism job as she said it was not good career for her. She worked as a journalist for many years as she was busy looking for a career that are suitable for her.
She got in to journalism through the BBC and after that she went on to a production training scheme where she worked as a producer on network radio. She stayed with BBC radio making documentaries, features, and series. She was also making magazine progs for ten years at BBC. She then after that went to freelance training people in the media including school children and marginalised communities. She is now a media trainer.
And her current career now is to train reporters in Ghana and Uganda to report on the extractive sector specifically oil and gas, she said she worked in many companies and now she is good with many things, she is a very brilliant person who really know what she want in her life, who has determination on what she do. I really enjoyed interviewing her.

Someone that I met

by Venolia Molebo
Today the 6th of July I went to the conference and I attended from nine to 12 mid day, after attending the conference I moved out of the hall as I was going to get my snacks and after that I moved down the street looking for someone that I can interview then as I was busy walking down the street I met a very beautiful lady next to Eden Grove, she is very bright in complexion with a good smile. She was wearing very nice black formal clothes with a very nice hairstyle.
I greeted her and she replied to me, I appealed her that I want to utilise only five minutes of her quality time. She is a very kind hearted person so she understood and agreed to be interviewed then she gave me the opportunity to question her. She likes interacting with people and she is too friendly.
Her name is Jackie Christie, she come from British far away from Eastern Cape Province, she was previously working as a journalist but now she quitted this journalism job as she said it was not good career for her. She worked as a journalist for many years as she was busy looking for a career that are suitable for her.
She got in to journalism through the BBC and after that she went on to a production training scheme where she worked as a producer on network radio. She stayed with BBC radio making documentaries, features, and series. She was also making magazine progs for ten years at BBC. She then after that went to freelance training people in the media including school children and marginalised communities. She is now a media trainer.
And her current career now is to train reporters in Ghana and Uganda to report on the extractive sector specifically oil and gas, she said she worked in many companies and now she is good with many things, she is a very brilliant person who really know what she want in her life, who has determination on what she do. I really enjoyed interviewing her.

"But do ya'll have whiskey?"-The American Encounter

by Wilhelmina Maboja
Imagine this: A Zulu warrior, Indian shopkeeper and an Afrikaner man sitting at a bar. Now imagine a swashbuckling American redneck with walks in and announces that in fact, they could curl up and die any second from now.

The Zulu, being Zulu, might have his Shaka tendencies stirred and as a last form of defence, whip out his spear and attack the American, the Indian shopkeeper might just start to set up shop on the floor of the bar (he can feel a profitable and last bargain coming on) and the Afrikaner man might just start braaing boerewors, a glass of Klipdrift and Cola at hand, slowly whistling, “De la Rey”.

I say might because in actual fact, Shotgun Spratling is nothing like a swashbuckling redneck.

Yes, his name is Shotgun.

And no, his sister’s name is not 9 mm.

At first glance, the first thing you might notice is a ring the size of a jawbreaker Shotgun wears. The off-white cotton pants, sky blue T-shirt and plain sneakers could have you assume that he is, in fact, of a laid back demeanour. We stand in a lecture venue hallway with mingled smells of pizza and Coke.

“Yeah, I slept on friends’ couches for nine months,” he confirms this bit of information his friend, Hillel has just decided to give me. This was apparently a tactic to avoid paying extra when staying in college for the holidays. So, if fact, he is the laid back type.

From the university of Southern California, America, Shotgun and his friend Hillel, a somewhat lanky, dark-haired and sorely forward friend Hillel were part of a graduate programme that allowed them to intern in various countries. They’re both interning in Cape Town but somehow find themselves at the Highway Africa conference, amid pizza eating and sleeping on pool tables (another fantastic tit bit of information Hillel was glad to share).

“Shotgun is like a goat-he eats everything,” Hillel gives me this last gem of information like a parting gift as he walks up the stairs, disappearing before I can tell him that he reminds me of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

“You have all you wanted to ask?” Shotgun looks at me with slightly crinkled eyes. I nod and he saunters away to a table and I walk away into a chilly Grahamstown afternoon.

A glance to Comfort Mabuza, director of Media institute of Southern Africa


By Phumlani Nkwanyana

After the bliss filled captivate workshop we had at the Zoo minor, I strolled around Eden grove where there was another workshop about underground radio stations. Different people were sharing their previous highs and lows experiences of being part of underground radio stations. After that knowledge feeding workshop I met up one guy from Swaziland our neighbouring country. (one pictured here) His name is Comfort Mabuza, currently working as the director of Media institute of Southern Africa in Swaziland.
Mabuza was pushed into the media industry by the passion he had, of keeping the society informed about every incident happening in and around the world. Before grabbing the position to die for of being the director, Mabuza worked as the radio journalist in powerful radio stations, which granted him more familiarity to media. He has a detailed insight in media based issues, due to his rarely found interest for communications and media. In previous years, he spent his undivided attention in endeavouring to obtain his qualification which made him well recognised media personnel in the whole continent of Africa. Mabuza studied mass communication in different institutions in countries like United kingdoms and Netherland to name but just the few.

Apart from being part of High way Africa conference, he has been attending other media based conferences which enabled him to see more exciting part of the media industry. Among the biggest conferences he attended are Gender and media conference which was held in the city of gold which is Johannesburg and Access of free information conference in the mother city Cape Town. Mabuza has the strong belief that the African media has the brighter future ahead. “I believe that our media and voice as Africans are about to be part of the global village and play a very pivotal role in advancing journalism and new media”, said Mabuza who was thrilled with the Africa High way conference.

An evening with Patricia

by Asanda Guwa

Last night at the Absa Africa Night dinner, I met a woman by the name of Patricia Sizani. I actually sat next to her by default and am I glad I did? Actually since I’m now sending positive affirmations unto the Universe let me rephrase that and say; it was destiny that led me to sit next to this woman. That sounds better, doesn’t it?

Patricia Sizani’s first words to me were; “When are we starting, we already running 45 minutes late and I still have to catch my flight tomorrow?” now being a second year FJP student who had absolutely nothing to do with the nights programme but still wanting to impress her because she looked important I replied, “soon, we were the last to come in.’’ She did not seem impressed. As the night progressed and the programme started I decide now would be a ‘safe’ time to talk to her find out who she is.

Patricia is the Manager of Corporate Events and PR at Telkom. She works in Pretoria and really loves her work. She started out as a secretary and now holds a very powerful position and she will humbly tell you that she couldn’t have done it without hard work and a sense of humour. Sis’ Patricia’s role and responsibilities include liaising with the media, managing the companies public image, conceptualizing and putting together big and small functions for Telkom clients and business associates, branding the company everywhere she goes , issuing press releases and virtually knowing everything there is to know about Telkom. The things that were captivating about her were her eloquence and the manner in which she conducts herself. That woman knows her story. She knows her story and she knows that she knows her story and that you can see that she knows her story. What a mouthful!

I’m glad I met her, I took her card, I’ve already emailed her and I’m definitely going to see her again.

Quick fire with Karen B Dunlap.

By Sihle “Raz” Mthembu
Having dedicated a significant period of her life to teaching journalism and journalism excellence. Dunlap is one of the moist reputable and most respected Journalism teachers not only in her native America but anywhere in the world. She currently serves as President of the Poynter institute (the international renowned online journalism education guide). Dunlap has been involved with the institute since 1989, after having served as a journalism teacher at the University of Tennessee. “ I got involved with Poynter because it was an institution that took a different direction to conventional journalism teaching” says Dunlap “it explored a number of platforms and I saw it as an opportunity to engage in dialogue with other Journalism teachers from around the world”, and explore she did. Dunlap is now one of the trustees of the organisation, and has worked to improve the organisations involvement in journalism education in third world countries. “I think the biggest difference between us and Africa is that we have the platform, something that most African’s don’t have and this is a gap we would like to bridge in the future”. Not only is Dunlap a trustee of the Poynter institute she has many other accolades which include several honorary degrees, awards as well as having served in a number of Pulitzer Prize juries. “I think that journalism is an essential service and it feels great when you are rewarded for doing what you love and it feels even better when you see other people get rewarded for doing what they love”. Dunlap has also co-authored several books on journalism and journalism education one of which is The Effective editor which was co written with Foster Davis. Dunlap is currently serving on a special panel as part of the WJEC which is part of the Highway Africa programme this year. The panel looks to analyse and make recommendations regarding curricula between the media industry and journalism schools.

Doing it for herself

Having been at the Highway Africa Conference for just a day, I am proud to say that I am used to the hustle and bustle of things - delegates and journalists rushing to the next workshop and everyone else scrambling to get a seat on a shuttle to lunch or dinner.

In and amongst all the rush, I managed to meet Sampa Kangwa-Wilkie, one of the speakers at a discussion I attended on the challenges and prospects on access to information in Africa. The first thing I noticed about her was her bright green scarf and long dread locks. I was also drawn to her by the vigour with which she spoke and the passion she had about ordinary African citizens having the socio-economic right to access to information.

When I first spoke to her, she was just as captivating. Kangwa-Wilkie is Zambian and she works as a MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa) Media Consultant on Free Media and she also heads the Freedom of Expression and Media Law Policy Programme. She has extensive knowledge about the situation of access to information in Africa and one of the most interesting things she told me was the fact that South Africa is the only African country with a comprehensive freedom of expression law.

One of her main aims is to make sure that this changes, so that many more Africans will be able to know exactly their government is doing with the country’s funds. One of her other roles is to step in whenever an African country’s government denies journalists information. She believes that this is particularly important because of the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration on Press Freedom in 2011.

Meeting Kangwa-Wilkie has also been one my highlights of the Highway Africa Conference so far. I believe that her work is extremely important for Africa and I love the fact that she is taking the initiative to change the press freedom situation in Africa. I will definitely be keeping in touch with her.

By: Zinhle Mncube

Chit chat with North West university journalism lecture


Lebogang Mgiba

As I was walking to Nelson Mandela hall, with my mouth wide open because I was going to collapse from hunger, I decided to do the task we were given last night at our meeting. On my way down to Nelson Mandela Hall, I saw a lady sitting alone outside the journalism department and took that opportunity to interview her.

I was lucky to find someone who’s in my field because I knew I was going to learn something new from the interview. Her name is Cornia Pretorius, a journalism lecture at North West University and a retired journalist (not a former). She has been in the journalism industry for about 17 years now. “I did a bit of everything from sports, politics, court reporting, sports etc but my passion lies in education reporting” said Pretorius.

She has worked for several national newspapers like Sunday Times, Mail &Guardian, Beeld and others. She chose journalism because of the passion she had for writing and her biggest achievement in the industry was when she wrote a story about a young boy from Mamelodi, who had bones disease and his mom used to carry him in trolley to school. “It helped the boy to get into a good private school after people read my story, it’s a small victory but I believe that was my career highlight” she explained.

Mrs Pretorius is a mother of three kids and wife so she hardly gets time to relax, she added that when she gets free time, she uses it for reading, watching movies and listening to music. “When it comes to music it really depends on my mood, now it’s Waka Waka-the official Fifa world cup song but usually I listen to classic music” added Pretorius.

PS: I had I nice chat with her, really enjoyed my self.

Woman to Woman

I attended another very intriguing day of Highway Africa conference. We were given a task to profile someone and I was so confused because there are so many people to choose from. I finally decided to profile a very interesting woman named Nancy Booker from Kenya.

Nancy and I met during the access to information in Africa session at Eden grove this morning. I don’t know what it is that drew me to her but I looked at her and thought let me go and introduce myself. Boy am I glad that I did so. Nancy turned out to be one of the most interesting people if not the most interesting that I have met since I got here.

Nancy is currently a communications lecturer at Daystar University in Kenya. She is the fist born of five children and both her parents were civil workers. Nancy and I had a very interesting conversation during lunch and she told me so many fascinating about herself and her home country of Kenya.

She has been a lecturer for 10 years and before that she worked as a reporter for KBC which is the public broadcaster in Kenya. She also worked as content developer the nation media group in Kenya. In addition to being a lecturer Nancy I also involved in a number of NGOs. She currently sits on the board of Amani Ya juu which is a none profit organisation which helps refugee woman with skills development such as tailoring that help to empower them.

Nancy told me that she was recently in Liberia where she was helping to design a communications curriculum for one of their universities. She counts this as one the best experiences in her life because it took her out of her comfort zone and it enabled her to use her skills to help a country that is desperately in need of it.
Nancy is involved in a number of other programmes including an ABSA initiative that is helping develop a business journalism curriculum for a number of African Universities. I only spent 30 minutes with her but I was so impressed by this woman and I will definitely keep in touch with her.

Wonderful people I have met during Highway Africa conference.

by Ntshinka Lusizo

Highway Africa’s vision is to gather different people to share ideas, skills and experience. As the future journalist I had to use that golden opportunity to interview different people. It was the mixture of great shock and pleasure to meet A24 media chair person Mr Salim Amin during the conference. A24 media is Africa’s first online delivery site for material from journalists, African broadcasters, and NGO`s from around the continent. Mr Amin started to work as film maker and producer in 1992. He took over from his father who was African journalist Mohammed Mo Amin who died tragically in 1998; he never looked back since then. His vision is to make sure that African media are getting equal opportunities as western media which seem to dominate the African media.

If you thought highway Africa conference was only for Africans you must think again. I bumped to an Asian woman who seems to be more than educated while I was looking for exit, as usual I got interested to her tag and decided to interview her. She is dean of graduate school from Asian institute of journalism and communications, her name is Dr Madeline B. Quianco. Dr Quianco is from Philippines and is in South Africa to share Asian experience with us. She started her carrier as primary school teacher in Philippines while she was still studying communications at institute of journalism and communications. She then became a lecturer after finishing her masters at institute of journalism and communications. She just promoted as Dean of graduate school after a long service as a lecturer.

Coming accross an inspirational Rose


by Anorth Mabunda
As I step in to the Eden Grove hall I bump across a strong dark and afro-haired African woman in a red jacket, I could smell some professionalism in her; she seems to be always in her cell phone. I took a deep sight on her wondering if I sow or heard of her before. Finally my senses came back; she compeered during the opening of the Highway Africa conference on the topic, Truth is the first casualty of war.
As she drops the call, I walked straight in to her and introduce my self. She is a media veteran from Kenya, Rosemary Orkello-Orlale.
Rosemary has been in the field for two decades, she is currently the Director of African Woman and Child Feature Service, (a media NGO focussing on the development of communication in Africa situated in the capital Nairobi,Kenya). Fighting for the acknowledgement of women is something she says she has started very long time ago as a specialised reporter for Viva Magazine, a women magazine in Kenya.
This generous and down to earth African woman committed herself to empowering woman who have been stigmatised by the notion that they cannot do anything bigger than their men. She still plays a major role in creating awareness to women.
Rose worked as a government intern doing macro teaching in the 1980’s before joining the media industry. However, she still blames the Kenyan government for not doing enough to enrich the Kenyan women.”Kenya women’s voices are not heard, women are struggling since democracy”, she says.
“It is the time our government introduces the Affirmative Action because that is the only way gender issues can be addressed”.
Rose says that she believes that the African voices will be heard and that with the power of the mobile phones access is not really a problem “hence we now have the internet in the palms of our hands.”
Rose says she likes South Africa because it is one of the few countries in the world where feminine voices are heard.