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