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Front PagePort Elizabeth-based jazz band Centre Stage put on a show for the delegates at the Telkom Awards gala dinner on the concluding night of this year’s Highway Africa conference. Photo: Alexa Sedgwick

Last night the 17th annual Highway Africa ended on a few jazzy notes, with awards, speeches, good food and entertainment filling the brisk  air around the Settler’s Monument in Grahamstown, South Africa.

To read about the awards, recipients, and for pictures of the night, please download Open Source newspaper edition 3 here.

You can also download older editions of Open Source from our website

Good bye Highway Africans, see you next year!

Who makes better journalists, men or women? Sizani Weza and Karen Kelley of the US Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe, suggest that maybe it’s women. The Zimbabwe Women Journalists Mentoring Program (WJMP) brought 12 aspiring female journalists to the Highway Conference, the hub of journalists on the African Continent. Relebone Myambo caught up with them during the buzz of tea break to hear their thoughts on mentoring, women in journalism, and networking.

Highway Africa is a great place to network and connect with journalists around the globe. Here you can meet the journos you’ve only admired as a by-line on a page.
Nexi Dennis, a business development journalist from the Seychelles, tells Elna Schütz about a special Highway Africa meeting today.

By Emeka Umejei

Carly Hosford-Israel. SANEFThe presence of China on the South Africa media landscape poses no danger to media independence, a South African editor has said.

Hopewell Radebe Associate Editor at Business Day in Johannesburg, said this in an interview with Open Society yesterday.  He was in Grahamstown to South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) meetings ahead of the Highway Africa conference, which begins this morning.

“I don’t subscribe to the group of people who see China as a danger,” Radebe  said. “China has a population of 1.3 billion and American has just 300 million which makes China a huge market.”

He said if the Chinese invest in South African media, it will be business and nothing more than that.

“If we allow the Europeans and Americans to invest in the media why should it be different with the Chinese?” he asked, “If they chose South Africa, it means we are being recognised as a force to be reckoned with.”

Radebe said he does not subscribe to the idea of painting China as a new imperial power because it will be “us who are dumb to not have proper and requisite regulatory framework to ensure transparent dealings.”

He emphasised that if China invests in South Africa, the South African government must ensure it plays by the rules.

However, Radebe said the much-hyped Chinese syndicate in Sekunjalo Holdings, the new owners of Independent Media remains a rumour because he is yet to see any document to that effect.

“I actually don’t know whether the Chinese syndicate is involved,” he said. “I have not seen a document these are the signatories or potential buyers and investors are interested to know the funders.”

Open Source Newsroom. Alexa SedgwickOpen Source Newsroom Alexa SedgwickChante Daries and Mignon van Zyl

Student journalists attached to the Highway Africa Conference Open Source newspaper yesterday held their breath as they waited nervously for the 17th edition of the conference to begin this morning.   This team is testament to the fact that print is not dead—yet!

The continent’s top journalism practitioners, academics and supporters of all kinds have descended on Grahamstown to speak on this year’s theme: Speaking Truth to Power: Media, Politics, & Accountability.

The two days starting today look set to be busy with workshops and discussion platforms and Open Source was yesterday gearing up to capture every minute of it.

Babalwa Nyembezi, Open Source Production Manager, said she was standing on the edge rallying her teammates on as they prepared to cover the continent’s biggest journalism conference.

“This is my third Highway Africa Conference,” she said, “And I’m really excited. The theme of the conference is spot on at this time in Africa. I find it a continuation of last year’s theme, Africa Rising. So our role, as the media, in Africa is also rising.”

For the student journalists, the mood is a mixture of excitement, terror and anxiety.  It’s a sign of things to come for the future of journalism that the OS newsroom now has writers, videographers, podcasters, and other producers of new media techy-thingys.

“It started off a bit disorganised and it is very high paced and I am interested to see how this conference pans out,” said Nicola Poulos, one of the Open Source designers.

The theme of this year’s conference has garnered a lot of opinions in the academic realm and even amongst the staff at Rhodes’ journalism department

“The theme is very relevant, alive and adds a robust dimension,” Annetjie van Wynegaard, the social media manager of Highway Africa, said.

Student journalist, Relebone Myambo, podcaster for Open Source, was nervous and excited.

“I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t really have much guidance, but I know what is going on now,” she said, “I didn’t get a T-shirt though so I kind of feel like the odd cousin at Christmas, but I hope it will feel better tomorrow.”

With two days of schmoozing the delegates, attending workshops, and producing rich and insightful content, the newsroom has much a tear-drop and fist fight awaiting it.