The 16th edition of the Highway Africa (HA) conference is less than two weeks away, with delegates from across the continent and beyond making preparations to venture to South Africa and our little down that punches above its weight.

Professor Herman Wasserman, deputy head of the Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies is prepared to welcome delegates to Grahamstown “a small town where a lot goes on”.

Highway Africa has become not just the premier gathering of African journalists but, “one of the big annual happenings” in Grahamstown, said Prof. Wasserman  He added that he hoped delegates “will enjoy this gathering of journalists, scholars and civil society
stakeholders, and find much inspiration here”.

The conference evidently has a special relationship with Rhodes University. Wasserman explained that the convention part of Highway Africa is one of several activities of the Highway Africa Centre, which forms part of the School of Journalism and Media
Studies.

“The HA Centre also runs a Future Journalists Programme and hosts a Chair of Media and the Information Society,” he said. “The centre is one of several projects hosted in the School which engage in outreach activities, do specialised research and training.”

Other education and training projects that form part of the School are the Sol Plaatjie Institute for Media Management (SPI), the Centre for Economics Journalism in Africa (CEJA), the Discovery Centre for Health Journalism (DCHJ), the MTN Chair of Mobile Communications, the New Media Lab (NML), the David Rabkin Project for Experiential Journalism (which publishes Grocott’s Mail and Grocott’s Mail Online), the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM), Rhodes Journalism Review (RJR) and Cue Media.

Prof Wasserman said that these relationships have all enriched journalistic projects at the university and the African continent.

“The Highway Africa conference is an excellent opportunity for networking, exchange of ideas and nurturing of collaborations,” he said. “We also see it as an opportunity for a cross-fertilisation between the research, teaching and outreach programmes.”

Wasserman added that the  projects that are coordinated by Highway Africa reflect the goals of the Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies -.  “All Highway Africa’s projects are line with our main goal which is to educate reflective practitioners who can make a difference in society, “ he elaborated.

The Highway Africa conference runs between 9 and 11 September.

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