Thu, 6 Sep, 2012
Over 600 delegates are expected to attend the 16th edition of the annual Highway Africa Conference, which is hosted by Rhodes University's School of Journalism and Media Studies and runs from this Sunday until Tuesday.
Highway Africa is the continent's largest gathering of African media practitioners and academics. Delegates include academics, journalists, civil society activists and members of multilateral organisations like Unesco and the World Bank Institute (WBI). The theme for the three-day conference is 'Africa Rising - How the Media Frame the Continent’s Geopolitics, Trade and Economic Growth'.
Those in attendance can expect a lively mix of plenary sessions, panel discussions, training workshops, book launches, exhibitions, gala dinners and networking sessions. The focus will be on Africa’s shifting economic climate and its relationship with other players within that framework including new trade parties like the BRICS (the loose groups of rising economic powers Brazil, Russia, India, China and lately, South Africa).
Conference papers and debates will address how these shifts in power relations affect Africa and the media’s role therein, as well as how these shifts affect the media industry. This year’s keynote speaker is Tom Mshindi, the managing director of Nation Newspapers, a division of Nation Media Group (NM) in Nairobi, Kenya. NMG is the largest media group in Africa, outside of South Africa.
This year’s event will happen alongside another conference, the third annual conference of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), a membership network of some 350 non-governmental media assistance organisations operating in about 100 countries.
The GMFD supports the development of independent media at the community, national and regional level. “Community media from the ECCF (Eastern Cape Communication Forum) region as well as local community journalists will be present,” said Chris Kabwato, Director of Highway Africa.
“It is an opportunity for young people to get experience. The conference is also of benefit to the community at large. “A lot of people, including craftsmen, will benefit, as they will have the opportunity to showcase their work at the exhibitions,” Kabwato added.
Among the participants this year are two members of the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) who have been offered R1500 scholarships to enable their participation.