President Cyril Ramaphosa applauded The Journalist team this month for mentoring “the next generation” and developing a site to be used as a South African and African resource and repository.

Dear Shepi and Zubeida,

I congratulate you and your team for publishing this 100th edition of The Journalist. I understand your team has in the main worked voluntarily to create this multimedia website linking journalism and communications schools throughout the country. This is a great example of the thuma mina philosophy in practice.

There is a great concern that many of our young people are growing up without understanding our history. You became aware that many of our universities excluded material about the pioneers of journalism and chose to do something about it. You researched and published the stories stretching back to the 1800s about many of the great South African pioneers of journalism.

This provides lecturers with material they can incorporate into their modules on the history of media and communication. I am very pleased that you intend extending this effort to universities across the continent so that they too can write about their pioneer journalists.

I hope you will be successful in transforming The Journalist into The African Journalist in 2020. This will build a network of trainers, teachers and students that will be able to put their minds together to shape their own stories.

I applaud your intention to continue developing this site using South African and African resources and commend the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union and the University of the Free State for their support. This demonstrates that if we all give a little, it is possible to create something substantial that can serve a broader purpose.

We are grateful to all those professionals who have stepped forward to mentor the next generation. Our democracy depends on a free and diverse media that, as it reports on the challenges and opportunities of the present, has a firm understanding and appreciation of the past.

Warm regards
Cyril Ramaphosa

Shepi Mati is chairperson of The Journalist, a founding member and veteran radio trainer based as a lecturer at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.

Zubeida Jaffer is on the board of The Journalist, a founding member and veteran journalist about to end her stint as Writer-in-Residence at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. The Journalist is a multi-media website available at