by Jenny Mathebula
I attended the first day of the Highway Africa conference today and I have to say it was quite a day. Today definitely ranks as one of the best experiences in my life. It was such an honour to be in the same room as with people such as the retired president of Ghana his Excellency Mr John Kufuor. Attending this conference was not something that I thought would happen this early in my journalism career.
The Highway Africa conference is taking place in conjunction with the 2nd World Journalism Education congress this year and this tires in perfectly with what highway is trying to archive with such as the FJP and the numerous others that it has.
The first day of conference has been an incredibly pleasant experience. It made me realise just how much I still have to learn about the media landscape in Africa. It has also reinforced most of what I learnt as a first journalism student at TUT.
Most of the sessions that I attended today centred on Media freedom or the lack of that still exists in many African countries and developing of the media industry in Africa. What resonated with me the most during all of the discussions was the danger that many African journalists still find themselves in their quest for the truth. The fact that the are journalists getting killed and arrested for doing the jobs in 2010 is shocking and disturbing to me.
Another discussion that interested me was based on the perception of Africa in the rest of the world, whether the world cup is going to change the way in which people currently our continent and what we can do as the media to change the perception that people of Africa. Although the international media is largely responsible for the distorted image that many people especially in the west hold of Africa believe that sometimes the African media itself to blame for this. Let’s take the South African media for instance. Instead of reporting about the many good things that are happening in South Africa , thing that actually affect the people of our Country they would rather concentrate whether the one of the president’s wives had and affair or not.
I have learnt so much already and it’s just the first day of conference. I really can’t wait to attend the rest of the week’s sessions because I am positive it will only help me become a better journalist. The most important thing that I have realised while attending the conference today is that I want to become a stronger advocate for human in our continent. There are so many atrocious violations of human rights that are going untold which results in people not getting the help that they need because no one who actually cares knows about it.
It might only be the first day but I tell that this conference will help me in my academic work because it elaborates on everything that I have learnt over the past year and a half. It will help me to horn my skills as an aspiring journalist and this is perfect place to network. I have been so inspired since I arrived. Hearing Advocate Pansy Tlakula’s CV made me realise that I still have a long way to go. I hope one day in the not so distant future I will return to Highway Africa conference as a speaker and have a CV even half that impressive. I love seeing strong and successful woman. I am done for the day and need to get some rest. Talk to you guys tomorrow.