Rural South Africa Has a New “Agency” on the Block
If you’re a previous guest to Londolozi, you may have visited the Londolozi Creative Hub: the innovation “lab” where all of our marketing campaigns are crafted, our digital media produced, and – more recently – also a studio where guests are able to edit and print their wildlife photos.
Well, here’s a story that’s worth sharing. With guidance from our “creatives” in the Londolozi Creative Hub, in September 2014, a Media Academy was set-up at Good Work Foundation’s (GWF) rural Hazyview Digital Learning Campus (located in a village about an hour and half’s drive from Londolozi).
The Media Academy at Hazyview (yes, in Mpumalanga)
Supporting the existing IT and Hospitality Academies at the Hazyview Campus, the initial Media Academy course focused on English literature, online writing, poetry, digital photography, blogging and social media, and the mission was to create skills that allow young, rural South Africans to creatively share their stories, be it a personal story, a slam poem or a business campaign.
The team got started with a single DSLR camera, access to the Internet and ten creative minds, all local, young South Africans living in rural areas who started with zero media skills. In fact, of the ten originals, not one had an email address, let alone a Twitter or Instagram account.
What this Little Team is Achieving
Here are some of the successes that the Media Academy has achieved over the last ten months:
- The ten original Media Academy students each have their own blog, built and maintained on WordPress
- The most viewed blog has been that of Selby Mokoena, who is a digital facilitator at GWF by day, and poet by night (read Selby’s latest blog post here)
- 35 blog posts on the GWF website have been written or co-written by members of the Media Academy
- More than ten articles written by Media Academy students have been published on external websites, including this story on the Wild Card Blog (thanks to Londolozi blog editor, Kate Collins, for all her hard work on connecting GWF stories across the Web)
- Every month this year, an article created at the Media Academy has been in Mpumalanga’s regional newspaper, The Hazyview Herald
- The Media Academy now runs GWF’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts
- The Media Academy assisted in the scripting and filming of the video: “Meet the Real Karabo” (thanks to Londolozi Creative Hub Director, Richard Laburn, for his invaluable post-production and editing skills)
- The Media Academy has been approached by independent organisations looking to outsource both digital content and social media
At the end of July, a new group of ten students will begin their Media internship and – via the GWF blog – you can follow the progress, stories and photos shared by this rural media team.
P.S. The young woman who is coordinating the Media Academy was #MadeAtLondolozi. Her mother works on our housekeeping team and her father is a Tree Camp butler. But more about her in one of our upcoming blogs, but have a look at one of her photos below.
Want to Get Involved?
- Present a guest lecture: if media is your game, then beam into Hazyview and present a lecture or talk on a topic of your choice
- Donate your old Apple equipment: We are looking for a second-hand iPhone (for Instagram) as well as a second-hand Macbook or iMac loaded with Photoshop and Lightroom
- Keep the GWF Media Academy in mind when you need some of your own media outsourced – we could just be the right team to create strategic digital content for you, or manage your social media pages
Email Ryan James: email@example.com.
Written by Ryan James, Londolozi Blog Contributor