Telling our stories in our own voices is essential to building a healthy democracy. It also ensures individual wellbeing. When we saddle our own story animals we are confidently in charge of our own destinies.
In 2014 when we launched The Journalist our founding partner was the University of the Free State. It has been a partnership that provides a platform for the vibrant voices of the student community as well as the academic staff in that province.
Now that our proof of concept phase is complete we are expanding our network of partnerships. And so, the Free State section of our website has been redesigned and renamed to reflect this growth.
In the /Xam language of the Bushman people of the Northern Cape Kau Kauru can be roughly translated as “making a noise with voices”. Or making our voices heard. Languages are considered to be extinct but the concepts and words we inherited live on.
What began in the Free State is now spreading across the nation. Regional issues that spark national debates and interest. A Kau Kauru storywheel. Each week the voices of our partners will be the spokes that keep this wheel rolling.
Our social network and page analytics suggest that it is the student community that drives The Journalist audience. That means we have been successful in what we set out to do – engaging the youth – and now it is time to grow.
Voices will continue to develop young journalists as with our previous Free State section. We complement formal journalism training with a platform for new writing, while senior journalists provide on the job training and mentorship.
In addition to the Free State, we now have partners in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal, with other regions coming on board soon.
If you or your institution would like to participate in The Journalist project please let us know. The Publisher Zubeida Jaffer, Writer In Residence at the University of the Free State, and Editor Leila Dougan would like to hear from you.