by Phumlani Nkwanyana
The first day of the conference at Rhodes University for high way Africa, was like a dream come true in my life. The day kick started with wonderful weather, we woke up early and prepared for the big day which we waited to roll up. The Grahamstown’s weather was on our side, as the sun shone with clouds scattered giving us direct touch of sunrays. Some of us though were not use to that kind of weather as we originate from diverse provinces. The nutritious English break fast was served at Nelson Mandela hall, which gave us much energy to face the day’s journey. Things never worked as planned earlier in our first day; we were struggling with finding the venue for the conference opening ceremony. It kept us scratching our heads for a moment; we were gazing at those long and well designed buildings of Rhodes University in anticipation to find Eden grove Red, where the opening ceremony unfolded. Fortunately, we were escorted by one of high way Africa staff to Eden grove Red where the whole remarkable moment was in full swing.
Different journalism teachers, journalists, from Africa and around the world gathered in, for the official opening ceremony which commenced at 8h30. The whole august was formed by people of high and small positions, from high school newspaper journalists to the head of Africa editor’s forum Mathatha Tsedu. The inspiring and hope riving address in the media industry by different speakers including Advocate Pansy Tlakula who addressed the right to freedom of expression and excess to information was elevating to every one.
The High way Africa works hard in advancing journalism and new media in South Africa and around the continent of Africa. This organisation which strives to provide a frame of reference for all African media houses, educate and train journalists. It’s theme for 2010 conference was “The African voices in the global media space”. This conference intended to bring African voices into recognition in the whole global village; as different informative issues on new media around Africa were discussed. Training and shaping journalists and media owners to utilise truth or fact telling as the special tool in journalism was what the opening conference speakers focused on. Journalism which does not only serve as the source news, but also mobilise different people from all different walks of life, was tabled and further discussed in details during the opening ceremony.
This conference which widely opened my eyes and view of the journalism was packed with diverse issues and specialised means of advancing journalism and media in Africa in the information age. It made me realize that indeed there is light in the end of any tunnel. More over, I realized that Media in South Africa has a big role to play, which many fail to recognise and grab that golden opportunity. The former first black South African president Mr Nelson Mandela once said media is the pillar of any democratic society, meaning it one of the crucial parts of the society. Being part of this conference greater than before extended the passion and desire of being the eye of the community by reporting all events that unfold within our democratic society.