Camera container serves as a time capsule. Delegates from the 2006 HA conference placed memorobilia for the next ten years and is to be opened at HA Conference 2016. Roland Standbridge placed a bottle of wine which we know will be pretty mature by then.

In my quest to learn how many times Highway Africa Conference has moved venue I caught up with Roland Stanbridge, one of the founders of Highway Africa.  He cleared the air in this regard.  Stanbridge said “I am Looking forward to Highway Africa in Cape Town,  I may be wrong, but I think Highway Africa was once held in Johannesburg.”

As you know the Highway Africa conference began as a modest meeting at Rhodes university 15 years ago, when only a few African countries had Internet connectivity. The purpose was to bring together those media workers and companies trying to understand the implications, potential benefits and technicalities of this emerging new medium. Since then it has grown year by year, bringing together journalists, students, scholars, donors, media activists, NGOs, mega media and community media. Highway Africa is no longer just a conference, it is an enormous edifice internationally recognised for its work in promoting the education of journalists and media research.

This year’s focus  — African Media and the Global Sustainability Challenge  — is perhaps Highway Africa’s most important theme ever. There is an urgent need to educate and inform the peoples of Africa about the environmental crises facing our world, at both a local and global level. How can politicians be pushed to act, if citizens do not understand the important issues?

 There is an even more imperative need help journalists gain competence in researching, understanding, and reporting on climate change and related issues. Much needs to be done. Relevant workshops and training programmes need to be set up. Funding must be found. And the forum where many such ideas will germinate, and important projects will be devised will be Highway Africa 2011.

 Be there, if you want access to the latest thinking on how media can elucidate and debate Africa’s role in tackling climate change, on the way forward for environmental journalism.

Be there, if you want to learn, or believe that you might have a role to play.

Be there, to be inspired, to network. It is my belief that Highway Africa 2011 is going to be a landmark event giving impetus to Africa’s media embracing some of the most crucial questions of our time.

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