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.