By: Nompilo Mncube
Networking can be quite an intimidating thing to do, especially in a room full of the best of the media industry.
The Highway Africa conference is one event that has student journalists on their toes, trying to sell themselves to big media champs in the span of a minute.
While networking is a convenient way of getting your name out there and building relationships with potential employers, it takes courage and an overdose of confidence to pull it off.
Student journalists of the Highway Africa Future Journalist Programme (FJP) shared their thoughts and experiences on devising small talk with the biggest names in the media industry.
Khethukuthula Lembethe of Durban University of Technology felt intimidated when it came to approaching well-known delegates at the conference.
“I can’t just walk up to someone and approach them,” she said. “I’m just waiting for the right opportunity.”
However, interviewing delegates is a different story for Lembethe. She finds that delegates are open and often have a lot to say about what they represent.
Being amongst the top names of the media industry from all corners of the world is a privilege and an inspiration for Siyabonga Myeni, student journalist of the University of Zululand.
Myeni is held back by his shyness and believes that people of this importance deserve to be approached in an honourable and respectable way.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone of the delegates yet, but I would like to particularly speak to delegates from outside South Africa,” Myeni said.
University of Limpopo student, Alfred Makhubela took the bull by it horns and made his long lived dream come true when he spoke to Power FM presenter, Thabiso Tema.
“When he was speaking at the Barclays Africa Dinner, I thought he was an easy-going guy and decided to walk up to his table,” he said.
Being amongst big names made Makhubela feel as if he was also big and by networking he helps establish and grow himself.
Simwogerere Kyazze, Rhodes University lecturer and FJP trainer, explains how great of a platform the Highway Africa conference is for training journalists to make themselves known.
“These young journalists meet people from the top of the food chain in the media industry – people who are hard to meet,” Kyazze said. “The industry is looking for youthful exuberance and therefore young journalists should show potential and a promise of what is possible to these delegates.”