South Africa: Men in media must drive gender equality

South Africa: Men in media must drive gender equality

Date: June 25, 2015
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Johannesburg, 25 June: Titumelani Nthavela is a small community newspaper in the Limpopo province, providing news to Malamulele, Elim, Giyani, Tzaneen and Phalaborwa. The newspaper was established in December 2008, and is currently the only newspaper in South Africa published in Xitsonga. In 2012, with the help of Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), Nthavela became a fortnightly publication, empowering citizens with knowledge and information in their own language.

Publisher and Editor, Dunisani Ntswanwisi presented at the South Africa Gender Protocol@Work Summit that came to close last night after the awards ceremony. Ntswanwisi said he decided to start a Xitsonga newspaper in his second year at university after his lecturer showed students a list of South African and none were in Xitsonga. . “Our newspaper is a small organisation but it is having a great impact on the community by giving people information in the language they understand,” he said.

Nthavela has been working closely with Gender Links as part of the Media Centre’s of Excellence programme which aims to help media houses and journalists mainstream gender in practice and policy. Ntswanwisi says that the newspaper is fair, balanced and discourages stereotyping. “After I attended my first summit with GL we started to strive for a gender balance in our reporting, in fact 60% of our stories concern women and gender issues,” he said.
The newspaper has five staff members that include three men and two women. However he admits that the newspaper’s advisory committee is not gender balanced, but he hopes that this changes and wants to encourage more female media practitioners to get involved.

“The short term goal of Nthavela is to have more adverts in our newspaper so that we can reach our long term goals of expanding outside of the province.” However, Ntswanwisi maintained that Nthavela does not publish adverts that promote violence and pornography; that depict women as victims, sex objects or in any degrading light that may undermine women’s position in society.

Nthavela is growing slowly but surely. The newspaper recently signed a six month trade of exchange with South African Broadcasting (SABC) radio station Munghana Lonene FM; won the best front pages award at the MDDA Sanlam awards in 2012; and Best Newspaper award in Mopani District Municipality in 2014.

To top off these achievements, Ntswanwisi scooped the media award last night. “I am happy for winning the award and I want to thank GL for recognising the good work we do in promoting women and balancing gender in our newspaper,” adding that winning the award has incentivised him to keep doing good work. He also called on men to attend the summits and to get involved in making our societies equal.

This article is part of the Gender Links News Service special coverage of the SADC Gender Protocol Summits underway across the region, offering fresh views on everyday news.


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