“This trip made me realise that I can also be somebody someday,” were the words of Wandipha Teki, one of 12 high school learners from township schools in Grahamstown who spent Monday visiting various media establishments in Port Elizabeth.
“I never thought that I would ever get to go to all these places in PE,” she added. The learners, who were part of the group of 40 who completed the first Grocott’s Mail Citizen Journalism course in September, relished the opportunity to meet journalists and other media pundits from some of the Eastern Cape’s biggest newspapers and radio stations.
The objective of the trip was for the learners to find out more about working in the field and what it’s like to choose journalism as a career.
The tour began at Bay FM, where the learners crowded into the cosy studio and chatted with programming manager Darren Roberts, who elaborated on a few details about what a career in radio is like –from the nitty gritty of the admin side to the sense of fulfilment that comes when you’re able to contribute positively to your community.
A visit to Umhlobo Wenene FM, which has nearly five million listeners – making it the second largest radio station in the country according to its website – was also on the agenda for the day. Here the learners were taken into one of the back-up studios by producer Vuyisa Mangcotywa to learn about the equipment. “Maybe one day you’ll find yourself in my shoes!” he said encouragingly.
The majority of the learners on this trip have been a part of Izwi Labahlali, a new citizen journalism show on Radio Grahamstown, so the visits to Bay FM and Umhlobo Wenene FM were particularly fascinating for them. Knowing how the mixing desks, microphones and monitors all work together is one thing, but meeting and seeing the professionals in action adds that allimportant human touch to the learning process.
Sandwiched in between the two radio station visits was a visit to history-rich Newspaper House, home of The Eastern Province Herald, the Weekend Post and other publications.
The learners were treated to an extensive tour, led by library archivist Siphokazi Ngovela, who introduced them to various journalists within the organisation.
“I learnt that to work for a newspaper you need to have a lot of energy and be focused, but most of all you need to love writing and reading,” said Luthando Mpofu, who completed Grade 11 at Nombulelo Secondary School this year. The learners then enjoyed a drive through Kragga Kamma Game Park, spotting rhino, buffalo and cheetah, followed by a quick visit to the newlycompleted Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, a venue for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
“We had so much fun going to different places in PE. For me I think going to The Herald was the most educational and going to see the 2010 stadium was a bit of a surprise,” said Sinalo Nkatazo, who has just completed Grade 10 at Nombulelo Secondary School. “I learnt that being a journalist is not an easy career. At The Herald there were a lot of journalists doing many different interesting things.
It was awesome when we saw the presenters at Bay FM and Umhlobo Wenene live on air,” said Wandisa Teki, who will be studying towards matric at MaryWaters High School next year.