07 July, 2010

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.

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