Sunday, June 24, 2018


All the latest journalism from the Rhodes TV3 class

Blog Archives

Masisebenzisane – let’s work together

Posted by Paddy On October - 23 - 2009

As part of our Critical Media Production course of 2009 we decided to, in our work, take on our Group’s name, Masisebenzisane (Let’s work together) in a literal manner. This translated into a collaborative approach to making a TV doccie in which the ‘subject’ become more than a ‘subject’ – rather a stakeholder in his own story. This was our interpretation of citizen journalism in the sense that we wanted Mzwakhe to be able to tell his story unmediated by us as journalists. In this way, he was able to shape his own story while drawing on our journalistic experience.

We didn’t want to simply sweep in as journalists hungry for a story. Instead, we spent a lot of time with him at the Egazini Centre, in his home and his community. We met his parents, his nephews and his friends. We asked him to take on the role of reporter – as you can see in the intro of the final doccie. At the showing of the doccie at the community meeting, at which Mzwakhe was present, he was proud of the piece and felt it truthfuly reflected his story. Other community members commented that it was a good representation of the youth in the Joza community and the role that Egazini plays in keeping the youth off the streets and away from crime.


Watch this short clip of Mzwakhe and his nephews helping us carry our equipment. This is a rite of passage to all journalists.


Watch this clip to see Mzwakhe and Jess, our reporter, taking some time out to get to know each other.


Listen to this sound clip to hear Jess and Mzwakhe discussing how Mzwakhe would like to word his standupper for the beginning of the doccie.


Mzwakhe Komsani’s story

Posted by Paddy On October - 23 - 2009

Mzwakhe Komsani, an ex-offender who now takes part in the Egazini diversion programme, shares his story.

Family Feud

Posted by Paddy On October - 23 - 2009

Part 1 – Family Feud

Gideon Nikelo was recently murdered on the streets of Vukani by a couple of gangsters he knew. Gideon’s brother, Michael has since returned home from Port Elizebeth to look after his aging parents now that his brother is dead, and it is thought that he could be seeking revenge on his brothers killers. In this short documentay the Nikelo family explain how it feels to loose a son.



Part 2 – Family Feud

Having recently lost a family member to murder. A murder that is suspected to be part of Michael Nikelo’s revenge plan for his brothers death, The Klaas family are in fear that their lives are now also in danger. In this short film, they explain how the death occured and reveal their other fears.




Part 3 – Families Unite

After both families had expressed their pain and sadness, it became clear that although both families had hurt each other, no one was gaining anything from the family feud. The feud was simply dividing the community more and putting other lives in danger. Hence as public journalists we decided to bring the two families together and try to find a resolution.





1 minuet clip that we feel other public journalists will find interesting


In this short clip it becomes clear that these two families once shared a strong friendship, and also that the failed trust that shook their friendship has made forgiveness that much more difficult.

By this stage in our mediation we had managed to get the two grieving families to agree to meet each other. However we also realised that for a true gesture of forgiveness to be made, we would need to allow the two families the opportunity to convey the emotions that have shook them recently and explain why they have been so angry with one another.

We felt by showing Part 1 and Part 2 of our documentaries and then allowing each family the chance to explain why they have been acting the way they have, and why they have been feeling so betrayed, allowed for a good foundation to be laid for a sincere and honest apology and gesture of forgiveness from each family.  

This mediation necessary to help these families back to a similar state of being as before the murders is by no means over, but the first steps towards a resolution are definitely in place.

News Story: Families Unite


On the 22nd of October, we arrived in Vukani ready to mediate a reunion between the Nikelo, Twala and Klaas families. We decided on a mutual venue for the meeting, and eventually chose a small church in the area. We waited for the police to arrive before we started, as we were concerned about any conflict that may occur between the families.

When the police arrived, we described the situation to them, and what we intended to do in this meeting. We asked them to sit in on the meeting, but were told that “it is not in [their] job description.”

We started the proceedings by asking everyone to introduce themselves. So-called “committee members” were asked to leave, leaving only key family members behind.  Proceedings began with a short song followed by a prayer. Matthew Mpahlwa, who chaired the meeting then explained to all present what the aim of the meeting was and clarified any queries. We then played both the Nikelo and Klaas documentaries. Everyone sat quietly while the videos were playing and all listened intently. Matthew translated any English sections into isiXhosa.

After watching the videos we had an interaction session between the two families, trying to find a way forward. Michael Nikelo said he ‘never knew there was tension between the two families’ and said the families should support each other through this situation. The Twala and Klaas families stated they didn’t have a problem with the Nikelo family either.  Both families felt the community was to blame for their gossip on the situation. The gossip escalated the situation, with the community trying to continue the family feud.

Michael’s father, Solomon Nikelo, expressed concern over the justice system, worried that it was not performing its job. He wanted to be ensured that perpetrators would be convicted. He was not against the Twala and Klaas families; he only wanted an explanation for why his child was killed. Michael’s mother, Miriam said she would never have peace, Michael added or corrected her by saying she would never have peace with the perpetrators not the family. The Twala and Klaas family expressed that they were living in fear wanted desperately for this feud to come to an end. They said they felt very unsecure in the area, and didn’t understand why everyone is against them personally when they never send their kids out to do bad things.

As the meeting drew to a close both families agreed to be friends and it was decided that the Twala/Klaas families would be incorporated back into the community.  Micahel would lead this initiative and there would be a follow-up community meeting to which Nikelo would invite the families as well as explain the situation to the community. Unfortunately, when he left the meeting Micahel went against his word, saying we had miscommunicated the nature and aim of the meeting to him. He said he had never known it was going to be purely a family meeting and had thought it was one which would include the entire community. We had phoned him earlier that day reminding him of the meeting and describing his nature, so his comment came as quite a surprise.

 Matthew addressed the angry mob outside explaining to them what had happened in the meeting. The 6 policemen were on stand-by throughout our interaction with the community outside the church. They warned us however that they did not have enough manpower to push the crowds back. The community were to be informed about the decisions taken, and told there would be an arranged community meeting where the family to be integrated back into the Vukani community.

As we left the church community members began insulting us and calling us liars. They shouted at group member, Robyn McCormick who had arranged the meeting saying she was a liar and was to blame for the all the problems. There was a great deal of miscommunications which lead to confusion and anger over what we as a group were trying to achieve.

Luckily before we left, the community understood what we had been doing and apologised to our group for their mistakes and we apologised for any miscommunication they may have occurred on our part. It was said that the community would be responsible for organising the meeting for the families to be integrated back into the community. We left reluctant over the outcome of the community meeting which is still to be held. We were happy with our achievements, and hope that discussions between the families will continue once we leave.


Mapping the CBD

Posted by Paddy On October - 22 - 2009

 Public Journalism in Grahamstown.

We were assigned to the areas of the CBD and Oatlands.  As Rhodes students, our group was already very familiar with these areas. Our first move was to create a civic map of the entire area; this entailed speaking to businesses as well as residents and the transient community on the streets about the area’s crime rate, or any problems;  social or political that the community feel need to be addressed. We found that the biggest issue businesses and residents experienced were petty crime, break-ins and begging. Most businesses and residents seem sure that the perpetrators are street children and beggars. So we decided that for our documentaries we would focus people who rely on the streets of the CBD to make some money. We came across Given (Informal Lily seller) and Robocop (Informal car guard/ Washer). After speaking to both these characters we gained more insight into their lives and how they themselves have been affected by crime. Both themselves former criminals, they now are part of the informal business life of the Grahamstown CBD.

The main point about civic journalism is that the journalists are citizens first, and media practitioners second. We spoke with Given and Robocop and discussed our own experiences of crime. We engaged on a level where we shared similar stories and spoke about ways that we could all work together to combat the crime problem in the CBD.

Youth Crime in Grahamstown Townships

Posted by Paddy On October - 22 - 2009

We have gathered together these three clips to explain our experience as journalists in the local community. We gathered the first clip on our ‘mapping the area’ exercise which stipulated that we needed to pin-point the main problems with regards to crime in the area. We found out from numerous sources that most of the crime has been committed by the youth. The man we captured on film was a victim of crime in the area and agreed with the general consensus that it was the youth in the area causing the crime.
We hoped to attempt this project by constantly referring back to the foundations of public journalism. In all our pieces of work we used the afflicted parties to represent the issue in the area. We sought to use our journalism as a means of assisting the community. By this we produces a self defence project which is to carry on in the community to empower members of sun city and outlying areas against crime and violence.
The next clip is taken three weeks later and is of two teenagers who wanted to speak on camera. Our presence in the community was known by then and the boys knew why we were there. They sarcastically expressed their views of how they wanted to stop committing crime and how they were ready to change. It was all said in jest and the one guy even tried to kiss Mahreen.
We felt as if our project wasn’t reaching the community but then our hopes were uplifted by Janet, one of the community leaders at our community meeting. She said that she was grateful our project had come into her community and alerted them to the problems and possible solutions available to the members of the community. We thought we’d achieved some sort of success by joining with the community to provide a product with relevant important information for the community.

See our Generation Join-Up blog for more info.

“Living in Fear”

Posted by Paddy On October - 22 - 2009

 Public Journalism: Public journalism is a form of media research which differs from the conventional way of journalism. Whereas conventional journalism has traditional roots and respects the notion of objectivity, public or civic journalism encourages change, citizen participation and journalistic activism. Public journalism seeks to address people as citizens, citizens who can act upon a certain issue, in this case crime. Our public journalism campaign focused on the areas of Somerset Heights, Oatlands North and Currie Park. These areas are home to Grahamstown’s middle to upper class society.


Hitec…The Alpha & Omega?:

Private security trumps state security in these areas. Being part of the middle/upper class, residents in these areas are able to invest in private security to protect their property. There appears to be a relationship of trust with private security companies, such as Hitec in particular. However this same relationship is missing when it comes to the police. The residents view the police as being ‘inefficient and incompetent’ and this contributes to the negative perception and strenuous relationship the residents have with them. As public journalists we need to identify the problems citizens face, and together with the citizens attempt to facilitate change and work towards a resolution. This clip was the first step towards understanding how the residents feel about the police. This clip was also shown to the police so that they gain an understanding of the problems faced by the residents in terms of policing. A resident expresses his views on Hitec and the Police:



Resident Apathy:

The issue of apathy was also a major topic of discussion not only between the residents and the police but among the residents themselves. The police feel that the residents are apathetic when asked to assist in measures to tackle crime. By highlighting the problem of apathy among residents in the focus group, a public journalism approach aims to actively seek the engagement of citizens in the process of public problem solving. So apathy on the part of the residents is in direct contrast to the ideals of participant based civic journalism. Highlighting a particular issue and making the public aware of its existence and meaning is the first step towards tackling it and bringing about change. Apathy through the eyes of a resident:

Answering the Communities issues:

The community meeting provided the residents with the chance to raise their concerns towards the police. The meeting stimulated discussion between the residents and the police, and issues that were previously unknown to the police were raised and responded to adequately. Public journalism is a response to 2 widening gaps- in our context the gap between the residents and the police. By allowing communication and discussion forums such as these, we as public journalists are initiating the first steps towards building bridges and repairing the relationship between these two entities. As media professionals we can help in the process of resolution between the police and the residents. A resident vents his frustration towards the process of reporting crime:

Video Today

Raphael HIV testing and support CentreThe Raphael Centre located in Grahamstown, South Africa is a HIV/AIDS testing and support centre. Lately, though, this haven for people infected or affected by the virus has been rought by troubles. The future of the centre is uncertain as it needs sponsors to ensure it’s survival. Meanwhile other issues, like an objecting neighbour are also posing problems for the centre which helps over 1 000 people every month.