Media should report both good and bad – Cyril Ramaphosa
The media has a responsibility to report on progress as well as government’s failures, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told the SA National Editor’s Forum (Sanef).
“Tell the stories that are good – and there are many – but also tell the stories that are difficult, painful and troublesome,” he said at Sanef’s Annual General Meeting in Cape Town recently.
“Delight us, amuse us, educate us, challenge us.
“And occasionally, just occasionally, annoy us, for we do not pretend to be saints and to know it all.”
Ramaphosa called on the media to give expression to the struggles and successes of ordinary South Africans and the effects of government policies on their lives.
“Tell us how this has enabled them to go out to find work and how their lives have improved.
“But also be the voice of many people who have not yet had such opportunities.”
The context of such narratives – such as problems associated with urban development, high unemployment and inequality – was also necessary to keep the public fully informed.
“Write about the mine worker, who spends his days underground, his nights in a shack, and a precious few weeks at home. Tell us of the efforts we have made to improve his plight, of the progress we have made, of the mistakes we’ve made, of the constraints we’ve faced.”
The media could also empower people to tell their own stories, thus enabling consumers to act as producers.
It could also use its position to press government to confront its failings.
“Confront us about service delivery failures.
“Condemn us when children die of contaminated water.
“Expose us when we abuse state resources.
“Remind us of our responsibility to lead in an inclusive manner in order to address the deficit of trust and confidence that permeate our society today,” he said.
Veteran journalist Nakasa to be reburied in SA
The media fraternity has welcomed an announcement by Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa that the remains of veteran journalist Nat Nakasa will be repatriated from the United States for reburial at home.
The announcement was made in Cape Town during the annual Nat Nakasa Awards for Bravery Journalism.
Nathaniel Ndazana Nakasa, better known as Nat Nakasa, was a South African short story writer and journalist.
He was born in Durban in 1937 but moved to Johannesburg to work as a journalist for Drum magazine. He also worked for the Golden City Post and was the first black journalist to work at the Rand Daily Mail, where he provided a black perspective for the newspaper’s predominantly white readership.
He was awarded a Nieman Fellowship in 1964 to study journalism at Harvard College in the USA. However, the apartheid government rejected his application for a passport. As a result, he was forced to leave South Africa on an exit permit, which meant that he could not return.
Nakasa soon found that racism existed in America as well, albeit more subtle. He did not like New York and soon moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he spent his time at Harvard steeped in the sombre business of education.
His death by suicide was an apartheid tragedy, and a tragedy of exile. He wrote articles for several newspapers after leaving Harvard, appeared in the television film The Fruit of Fear and was planning to write a biography of Miriam Makeba. But two days before his death, he told a friend: “I can’t laugh anymore and when I can’t laugh, I can’t write.”
As it was not possible to bring his body home, he was buried at the Ferncliff cemetery in upstate New York.
Minister Mthethwa said South Africa and US authorities were finalising the logistics for Nakasa’s remains to return to SA. He will be reburied in KwaZulu-Natal.
Sanef comments on resignation of Makhudu Sefara as editor of The Star
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) says it is shocked at the sudden resignation of Makhudu Sefara as Editor of The Star.
Sefara’s departure was announced by Tony Howard, Independent Newspapers’ Deputy Executive Chairman, who said in a statement that the company and Sefara could not agree on how best to use Sefara’s talents further in the company. This led to what Howard described as an “amicable and mutually agreed upon” separation. He said both the company and Sefara would not comment further.
Sanef says that “without such further explanation, the terse statement will fuel speculation about what the disagreement in utilising Sefara’s skills really means. Sanef is not privy to the details of the issues that brought this sudden resignation by Sefara and can only respect the wishes of the two parties in the matter.”
Sefara was re-elected unanimously as Deputy Chairman of Sanef at its Annual General Meeting in Cape Town on June 20. He previously held the position of Chairman of the Media Freedom Sub Committee. He was named Editor of the year at the 2014 National Standard Bank Sikuvile Awards.
Sanef says “Sefara remains deputy chairman of Sanef. We appreciate his commitment to continue to champion all that which the organisation stands for, including media freedom and journalistic integrity.”
Breeda Koopman is Police Woman of the Year
Press club member Breeda Koopman was recently named South Africa’s Police Woman of the Year for 2014.
Koopman, who holds the rank of captain, founded and chairs the My Kassie 2nd Chanz Foundation in Eersterust, which was inspired by the code of conduct of the South African Police Service.
In a note to the Eersterust community Koopman said she believes no human being is born a criminal and that everyone deserves a second chance in life. “I would like to thank you, my Kassie- Eersterust, for seeing the potential in me and believing in the inner strength of a woman and the vision of the foundation.
“Eersterust, may your inspiration and light shine on many more young men and women guided by our elders as they discover their truth and purpose in our beautiful country, South Africa.”
Among others, the My Kassie 2nd Chanz Foundation helps the youth and the unemployed to explore entrepreneurial opportunities.
The press club congratulates Koopman on this outstanding achievement.
For more information visit www.mykassie.com.
Sunday Times Literary Awards – winners announced
First time fiction writer Claire Robertson and political correspondent and commentator Max du Preez were awarded top honours in the 2014 Sunday Times Literary Awards.
Marking the 25th anniversary of the Alan Paton Award, Max du Preez claimed the prestigious prize for A Rumour of Spring, a considered examination of South Africa after 20 years of democracy.
Robertson’s debut novel, ‘The Spiral House’, a grand tale spanning two seminal periods in South African history, received the coveted Fiction Prize.
Former Sunday Times columnist and veteran entertainment journalist Barry Ronge received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sunday Times editor Phylicia Oppelt, who said it was in appreciation of his lifelong dedication to his craft, his love of language and ability to write with refinement and dignity.
Oppelt also announced that henceforth the Sunday Times Fiction Prize will be known as the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, in recognition of Ronge’s contribution not only to the Sunday Times, but to literature and writing in general.
“Once again the awards continue to recognise the best in South African writing, demonstrating the Sunday Times’ commitment to promoting and supporting local literature. We congratulate the winners and acknowledge the excellent work done by the judging panels,” said Sunday Times books editor Ben Williams.
The National Press Club welcomes the following new members:
Lebogang Seale – The Star
Carla Venter – The Citizen
Sara-Jayne King – eTV
We look forward to seeing you at a press club event soon!
Thank you for paying membership fees
Thank you to those press club members who have already paid their membership fees for 2014.
Members who have not yet done so, are requested to pay their fees as soon as possible, to avoid their names being removed from the membership list.
Membership fees are R220 for full members, R350 for associate members and R150 for student members.
Members are requested to use their surname as reference when payment is done, so that it can be picked up easily by the secretariat.