Patience Magagula – Swaziland

Patience Magagula – Swaziland

Date: June 30, 2015
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Like the old saying goes, dynamite comes in small packages. Patience Magagula is a very active and passionate young woman from Swaziland Television Authority. She is the gender focal person and chairs the recently formulated gender task team in her institution. Her role in this post is to coordinate the gender trainings and, help address any gender related issues stretching from conduct to editorial content.

Her interest in the topic first started when Colleen Lowe Morna, CEO of Gender Links, approached Swaziland media houses and motivated them to create gender committees. However with time, people lost momentum and the committee folded. The Gender Links media COE country facilitator revived this interest in Magagula when he approached the station to get involved in the media COE process a 10 Stage process that seeks to help media houses mainstream gender in both their editorial content and institutional practices.

Looking back on her journey, she has been in the fore front for driving the gender agenda in the media house. She receives a lot of support from the country facilitator. “Mr Mabuza has been great in this whole journey. He understands the gender concepts, and even how they link to media freedom. He is able to communicate at all levels. I hope to bring him along when we go to meet the board for the negotiation of the adoption of the gender policy.”

“I have attended a number of workshops since Mr Mabuza started driving the COE process. These include GBV training, inception workshops policy drafting workshop and now I have entered my programme for the summit, which is Stage 10 of the COE process. I have also put in a submission for the media COE institutional case study showing how far we have come in very little time,” she added.

These workshops have cultivated Magagaula’s knowledge of gender issues, and helped her walk the gender talk. She has taken with her better interviewing skills from these training workshops. “My perceptions have changed. I have to be hands on and exemplary and ensure I have in-depth understanding of what gender entails. I also tackle issues differently; my programmes are more in-depth. My presentation on gender issues has changed, and I am more interested in challenging stereotypes. Right now I am fighting for men to come and challenge stereoptypes about them, whether it is as GBV victims or as part of support groups for men who are GBV survivors.”

“I can credit Gender Links for the change that I have experienced in this journey. They are the ones behind the draft policy we are talking about today. Mr Mabuza has also been very influential; they incorporated his ideas into the draft policy. What is left is to fine tune this document and come up with an action plan.”

Magagula also takes part in other training workshops at her workplace which have contributed to the change she has experienced professionally. She attended the first ever Gender and Media Conference in Bangkok. “At the Bangkok Conference, a female producer from India showed a 5 minute video clip of abused women. This opened my eyes to the malpractices against humanity that are prevalent in our everyday lives. What Kritty did for me was to break the silence and become a voice for the voiceless. This is what I am also trying to do. Her presentation opened a new window for me in terms of how GBV is viewed.”

“I appreciate the work that Gender Links is doing in trying to make a change in our society. As the focal person, I intend to keep motivating management, presenting and making them aware of how the broadcaster will be seen observing protocols signed by the country.”

Mabuza acknowledges the work that Magagula has been doing. “Patience Magagula is the gender champion at her institution. If you look for a success story in pushing gender issues at that station, she has done very well. Her efforts need to be recognised for her to be motivated.”

Like any other process of change, Magagula’s journey has not been without challenges. She has faced a lack of commitment from fellow colleagues; not everyone wanted to be associated with gender issues in the beginning. She is, however, happy with the progress made, as people are increasingly opening up and understanding gender issues.

She thanks the Swaziland Television Authority for creating an enabling environment where gender issues are now seeing the light of the day in the newsroom. The institution allows for its staff members to attend gender trainings and workshops. They have to send the right message for employees to emulate gender awareness and responsiveness.

Magagula will attend a gender training at Ottawa University later this year, courtesy of her media house. Here they will be writing papers on gender, and doing practicals to attain a certificate at the end of the course. “More organisations need to embrace gender as it is part of peoples’ livelihood. Staff should be aware of GBV, and leadership structures should change. Capable women should be given equal opportunities to men,” she adds.



One thought on “Patience Magagula – Swaziland”

Keep up the good work sisi.I’m so proud of you.

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