Blog Archive


Teko Modise- Crossing over doesn't take the art away
By: Zandile Mavuso

If you are a diehard soccer fanatic like myself, you probably one of those people who understand the phenomenon behind the art of a soccer ball being juggled between the legs of a human being, doing wonders and spectacles that are just a marvel to watch.

I’m talking about the tsamayas, shibobos, show me your number and bicycle kicks that footballers across the globe display on the field of play. The ability to showcase such art and greatness has over the years brought people across the world together because of the common understanding and appreciation of the beautiful game. In all my years of existence, I have never seen so many people gather in stadiums, others glued to their television screens all in the name of soccer. Clearly there is something significant about this game that gives joy to those who stay loyal to it.

If one had to go into people’s homes, more specifically in South African townships, you will find that in seven out of ten houses, there will be a photo of Kazier Chiefs, Orlando pirates or Mamelodi Sundowns-just to name a few- used as part of their display in the living room. Soccer goes beyond just being about the 11 players battling it out against their respective counterparts. It has become more than just a matter of getting the ball into the back of the net. Soccer has become a way of life for many and an extension of their lives.

If this be the case, it is no surprise that Orlando Pirates’ fans booed the General, Teko Modise when he came on for Mamelodi Sundowns in an Absa Premiership clash between the two clubs on the 12thh of February. Modise having crossed floors a couple of weeks ago to the Brazilians, has been part of the Bucs’ family for a number of seasons which has seen his talent elevating the club and contributing to their achievements and wins. While at Pirates, he was voted player of the year in the Absa Premiership for two consecutive seasons. A real asset he has been to the black and white and like any child he leaves home to start a new life elsewhere, it is never easy on those who remain behind and to the one who has left. Regardless, the child has to be supported by those he left behind as leaving does not change who they are.

Teko Modise still remains one of the football wonders and talents that South African football has ever produced. Inheriting the nickname The General in itself is evidence enough that he is one of the greatest. His greatness does not lie in the kit he wears, but rather in his talents, which is what should be of importance to soccer lovers.

If it’s about the art of soccer and not about the kit that the players wear, why can’t we be supportive of the individuals and stop being critical of them? At the end of the day, the game still goes on and the rules still remain the same. And as for soccer, it will still be the beautiful game, irrespective of the team they play for.

Flu Vaccine Story

During the winter season in 2009, few people bought flu vaccines to protect them from the flu virus. This then led to pharmacies ordering fewer vaccines from the suppliers for the 2010 winter season. Towards the last quarter of the year 2009, there was an outbreak of a deadly flu called Swine Flu. The flu scared a lot of people to such an extent that they wanted to protect themselves from the virus this year to avoid being infected with swine flu. The only problem with this is that there were not enough vaccines for people to protect themselves. With the Fifa World Cup and the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown was going to be filled with people from different walks of life. This meant that more and more people were likely to be infected with the virus. It was of interest for me to find out on how medical practitioners were going to deal with the dilemma. Before the June vacation, I had interviewed a local pharmacist on the matter to get a medical and profession feedback on how they were going to deal with the problem of their suppliers not having enough vaccines for people for the winter season.
This news story was aimed at informing people about the unavailability of vaccines and also tells them of alternative ways of avoiding the contraction of the virus. Based on my journalistic philosophy, this particular story required me to report it the mainstream- traditional way, based on what is news and whether or not it gets the message across. The story lacked in getting ordinary people who are affected by the virus to comment on how the shortage of vaccines was going to affect them. The marginalised voices that my approach aims at empowering failed to feature in this news story. Perhaps if I could have draw on individuals who the flu, got them to relate their thoughts on the crisis at hand, the story could have been more rich in content and would have had more balanced.
In this story, I was not able to draw on the roles that I mention in my journalistic philosophy because of the kind of genre of story that I was doing. The story was not a development story or one that aimed at political issues. Rather, the story was simply about letting people know about what they could expect and trying to find ways in which they could prepare themselves for what lied ahead of them. I took up an informative role that was primarily driven by the idea of telling the story. In a situation like this, one cannot anyone accountable for the effects of the virus on people as it was something beyond human control. The best thing that could be done in relation to this matter is to let people know and alert them on precautions that could be taken for their health.

Mayfield Clinic Development Story

After South Africa became a democratic country after the apartheid regime, Nelson Mandela had created an understanding that black people in the country were going to have what they previously were deprived. This meant that people were going to have access to resources and that everyone had the right to live the way they desired to live. Given the history of the country, people find themselves in different social stratifications thus some still remain in poverty and live in conditions that deprive them the access of living the life they desire. The government’s plan was then to empower the lower class people by bringing the resources to them.
In Grahamstown, people in different sections in the township had clinics build near them so that they could go get medical help without having to travel to town. The clinic in extension 9 was specifically aimed at people with TB and HIV/AIDS. Recently, the clinic has not had nurses come in and provide healthcare services for the people and thus they could not get medication. The idea behind running this story was to find out from the locals in the area who use the clinic what their thoughts are of the service at the clinic and to share their stories on the encounter(s) they might have had regarding the clinic. The story was set to be a development piece which would tell the story from the grassroots up approach.
Development journalism is more about telling the story in colour and not in a ‘hard news’ type of way as it is more concerned with how people feel about something. By having four different voices in the story and people discussing different things based on the same topic, the package would represent the issues from different perspectives and thus it supported the notion of deepening democracy in development journalism. This allowed me to keep the professional standards that I had set for myself in that I was able to achieve the idea of my duty as a journalist. The people were telling their story and thus I became a catalyst in their story, thus I avoided censorship. The marginalised told their story and thus the democratic practice that I was aiming at establishing got the opportunity to prevail. Keeping to the professional ethics that I had set for myself was at times difficult to uphold in putting together the story as I sometimes found it difficult to let the story be told by the people and allowed the influence of mainstream journalism to tell the story. I had to rework my narration and the order of the story so that it served its purpose and not fall into the trap of marginalising the very people that I was aiming at empowering.
If the story were to be broadcast, I think that the relevant government personnel would have looked deeper into the issue of the clinic and probably come up with ways in which the clinic could fulfil its purpose. Permanent nurses would be assigned to the clinic and a regular supply of treatment would ensure that people got the necessary medication that they needed from the clinic. A follow-up story would also take up a development journalism approach, whereby I would have gone back to the people that I had initially interviewed and find out what had changed since the last time I interviewed them. I would look at how life had changed and also how they have used the initiative of development for their betterment. If there was no change placed in order, then I would propose that the story took up a more public journalism approach where a larger group of people would deliberate about the issue and probably come up with ways, amongst themselves, that would help solve the problem that they were experiencing. By so doing, the community could possibly come up with ways in which they would be able to solve the problem they have.

Climate Change

This is a climate change package that we were asked by Algoa Fm to produce. It covers the importance of sustaining nature and how in turn we should be cautious of the material we use.