Coloured Identity Crisis?

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“It’s in the way we speak, our opinions on things, the heritage we claim as ours every festive season, the favourite foods and slang terms for family members”, says University graduate Tatum-Lee Louw who has been living in Mitchell’s Plain, a middle class coloured community all her life.

The debate on coloured identity in South Africa has been oozing for quite some time now, dating back to as early as the Apartheid regime. There are people who don’t want to be identified as being coloured and then there are people who are proud of the connotation that comes along with the form of identification. Tatum is one of many that firmly believe that coloured identity should be an evident aspect in society.

When looking back at how it all began I understand why some people feel that they have not yet embraced their true identity and culture and their resistance to acknowledge what has not been properly introduced by their ancestors. According to Razib Khan in his online article ‘Who are the Cape Coloureds of South Africa?’,  history tells us that coloureds are the result of unions between white Europeans and coloured women of various races. The most prominent of these are the indigenous people of the Cape, the Khoisan. The Khoisan were natives long before whites and Bantu Africans pushed in from the south and north respectively.

The arguments from both ends of the stick are valid. Coloured identity is a product of slavery many years ago and yes we do sometimes find ourselves stuck in the middle of a warzone between the latter black and whites of South Africa. Apartheid and #Feesmustfall are basic examples of this. You won’t see a coloured student in sight whether they are for or against the #Feesmustfall movement. All of us are at home completing our assignments so we can pass by the end of the year. Selfish and it may seem logical to some. Deep down some of us think we can’t win a battle and that has got everything to do with the identity crisis we are facing. I admit that I wasn’t educated about race, especially about my own when I was on school. The very first time I heard about the coloured identity crisis was 2 months ago. My argument however sides with the opposite end of this great debate. Coloured people may have found their existence in a disgraceful timeframe and we may be hiding out in the middle of a battlefield but just like any other culture or race it has grown into something worthacknowledging, not including Wayde Van Niekerks world record breaking performance at the Olympics. (Why Wayde’s gold is a win for coloured identity).

The place coloured people have in the now post-Apartheid, democratic South Africa is non-existent and that is also one of the reasons some coloured people feel they don’t have a true identity. Every dilemma the country finds itself in is bickered about amongst blacks and whites. Coloured people have not been given the opportunity to voice their grievances about certain topics. Many will say that they have no heritage and dominion to speak for and they have been marginalised for that. What they do not understand is that being marginalised is the very thing that contributes to giving coloured people a sense of identity.

One of the things Tatum said in her statement about coloured identity is that coloured people don’t have a voice; they fear their opinions or offer them and then back out. That shook me because I could relate to what she said. As a young coloured female I have found myself caught in debates upon debates about race in this country. Not once did any of those debates acknowledge the struggles coloured people faced and are still facing. I’d go as far as saying that during those debates you must either classify yourself as being black or white. If you don’t stand for and acknowledge either you are labelled as being offensive. That sort of thing plays with your emotions and makes you confused but it doesn’t mean that your sense of identity has to be lost. That is the mistake most coloured people make. We are too quick to bury ourselves in pity and shame.

We need to become a united front and voice what we have feared to speak about. Fight against being in the middle. Don’t be afraid. Say ‘this is who I am and I am proud of it.’ Embrace who you are, love and feel inspired by your rich history and colourful culture.

References:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2009/06/who-are-the-cape-coloureds-of-south-africa/#.WAYSctR94_4

http://www.iol.co.za/news/why-waydes-gold-is-a-win-for-coloured-identity-2057061

Data journalism must fall

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During my time at high school, I hated, more so despised maths. I eventually ended up passing it in my matric year and there was a sigh of relief that came with knowing that I will never have to see another maths paper or something similar to it again.

This was so until I came across data journalism. ‘Data journalism is an approach to writing for the public in which the journalist analyze large data sets to identify potential news stories.’

There are like with every type of journalism advantages and disadvantages to data journalism.  And though I may come across as being one sided about this I just think that it has more disadvantages. Many people can become journalists with the aid of data journalism, but unlike citizen journalists a level of expertise cannot be worked on.

‘Journalism has been thoroughly disrupted over the past decade.  News organizations, especially newspapers, have come under heavy financial pressure, news bureaus have been closed or consolidated and journalists have had to rethink their profession.’  Says Greg Satell in his article ‘The Problem With Data Journalism’

‘Data journalism is, in many ways, a disruptive innovation.’  Yes traditional journalism can be an expensive.  ‘You have to pay reporters to travel to where the story takes place, observe events in person, cultivate and interview countless sources.  In comparison, performing statistical analysis of data sets or poring over policy documents is a relatively cheap and labor-saving way to operate opportunities for new products that compete on the basis of a different value proposition.’ But there is just something about traditional reporting that data journalism does not have.  The expertise, the passion, the ability to observe,  the act of serving the people with truth and accuracy, engaging and many other abilities data journalism cannot compete with.

Ethics also come into play when it comes to journalism and Samantha Sunne in her article The challenges and possible pitfalls of data journalism, and how you can you avoid them described it best when she said: “Just like stealing mail from a mailbox isn’t ethically acceptable, stealing data from a website isn’t, either.”  Many may misinterpret data sited because they often use it out of context. Talking to human sources is a must and therefore data journalism, like maths is to me is of little use to people like.

Unlike the cyborgs it does not have the ability to emerge without the interference of traditional journalists. Data journalism therefore, though a great discovery for those who use it contextually #mustfall.

References:

http://www.digitaltonto.com/2014/the-problem-with-data-journalism/

https://tamrynsblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/let-the-cyborgs-emerge/

https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/strategy-studies/challenges-data-journalism/

 

 

 

Let the cyborgs emerge!

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We are living in an ever changing society as we are witnessing the emergence of many techno tools and methods that are redefining space in the newsroom.

According to a research article by Matt Carlson, The Robotic Reporter, the term auto journalism denotes algorithmic processes that convert data into narrative news texts with limited to no human intervention beyond the initial programming choices. It has the ability to create thousands of news stories for a particular topic in a cheaper and more efficient way. Unsurprisingly, according to Andreas Graefe’s Guide to Automated Journalism,  this has sparked fear for professional journalists as they feel that this new development may exterminate newsroom jobs.

What these journalists need to understand is that this new development still requires them to be around. Yes, algorithms are able to generate news faster, at a larger scale, and potentially with fewer errors than human journalists – without their intervention and yes algorithms can use the same data to tell stories in multiple languages and from different angles, but without the watch of human journalists algorithms produce data and assumptions, both of which are subject to biases and errors. It is not human and does not have the ability to observe, ask questions and relate. I thus believe that with its strengths and weaknesses, both automated journalism and human journalists can merge to create a new kind of journalism as expressed in Andreas Graefe’s Guide to Automated Journalism  as a “man-machine marriage.”

Though journalists may not think so, they are given many benefits from the development of automated journalism, not only in a professional capacity but also in a personal capacity. They will be challenged to create faster and cheaper news outlets for their audiences. This will challenge them on a personal level because it will make them analyse their ethics and routine as to how they deliver content.

In Andreas Graefe’s Guide to Automated Journalism he explains that society will benefit from this development as it will decrease the burden of looking for news stories relevant to them.

“In automating traditional journalistic tasks, such as data collection and analysis benefits include increasing the speed and scale of news coverage and most importantly it allows for news to be produced almost immediately, making the audience, who are the most important people to consider, feel a part of what is being shared with them.” Guide to Automated Journalism. That right there is why I have a passion for journalism.

Automated journalism is emerging. As journalists and ordinary citizens, let us not only support this emergence, let us become a part of it.

References:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21670811.2014.976412#aHR0cDovL3d3dy50YW5kZm9ubGluZS5jb20vZG9pL3BkZi8xMC4xMDgwLzIxNjcwODExLjIwMTQuOTc2NDEyP25lZWRBY2Nlc3M9dHJ1ZUBAQDA

http://towcenter.org/research/guide-to-automated-journalism/

Citizen Journalists out to inspire

Citizen journalist filming a police office a protest in Ferguson, Missouri
A citizen journalist filming a police officer during a protest in Ferguson, Missouri

As a journalist, when I first heard about citizen journalism I became fearful – fearful about the fact that journalism would become an everyday trade. Will I be competing with the security guard down the street from my office? What about the street vendor selling newspapers for the publication I work for? I then shifted the scenario to a doctor’s profession. Imagine what the world would be like if there were citizen doctors? All these questions haunted me until I read an article by Elvira Van Noort Will citizen journalism shake up SA media?’

We live in a day and age where news is easily accessible – all it takes is one click and an image or headline can possibly be made available to thousands of people.

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Living in a country like South Africa, not many people were and some still aren’t afforded the opportunity to study and become qualified professionals. The uprising of citizen journalism is changing that. In Will citizen journalism shake up SA media? I read about a security guard who reports about news daily and that he had a dream of becoming a successful reporter. This inspired me and I realized that the career I am passionate about is a platform for those who never had the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

All I want is for the truth to be published to the people – even if it is by the people.

Not only is it advantageous for a democracy like South Africa as it voices the opinions of those who were once voiceless, but it is also an easy means to address problems our society us facing. This form of journalism is helpful for professionals as it allows for relationships to be established between them and the average citizen. This is critical for a journalist.

There are many other advantages to this as well. Citizen journalists can be of  massive help when it comes to reporting in real-time –as it makes citizens feel part of whatever is happening.

Citizen journalism is growing at a rapid pace and it cannot be stopped. This is a good thing. According to Dan Gillmore’s Chapter Journalism’s Evolving Ecosystem in his online book MediaActive South African media should nurture and protect them. “When I wrote We the Media in 2004, I was confident that citizen journalism would become an essential part of the ecosystem. Nothing I’ve seen leads me to believe otherwise. But the genre has a long way to go.”

Citizen journalism is on the rise and is here to stay. Journalists need to come to terms with this fact and use it to further drive them to do more than just the average citizen.

References:

http://mg.co.za/article/2006-01-06-will-citizen-journalism-shake-up-sa-media

http://mediactive.com/4-0-chapter-4-journalism%E2%80%99s-evolving-ecosystem/

 

 

Getting to know Katlego Maboe

You might just know him as “The guy from Expresso” But boy have I got news for you! Singer songwriter, MC, presenter and qualified accountant Katlego Maboe(29) generously took the time out of his very busy schedule to allow us to get to know him slightly better. Hope this gives you a few chuckles and simultaneously fuels you with inspiration.

Let’s get to know Katlego:

 Nickname you grew up with?

Mmutla which means “rabbit” in Setswana. A nickname given to me by my late uncle who once saw me sleeping with my eyes half open and so he thought it appropriate.

 What was your most embarrassing moment as a teenager?

I asked a popular girl to be my girlfriend during a Sunday visit and I’d even written a song for her. Alas, I was friend-zoned into the next galaxy.

 At such a young age you are a singer, songwriter, MC, presenter and qualified accountant! What drove you to accomplish all the things you have in such a short period of time?

An insatiable desire to make my mother, my family, friends and myself proud of the hard work and sacrifices invested into my life. I owe it to  them to succeed. I have no excuses.

I believe that there is greatness behind greatness. As a young man/boy who was your role model and why?

My mom. She is the most selfless and strongest person I know who when confronted with the toughest challenge in her personal life story chose to protect me and face the harshness of life. In doing that she opened up an entire world of possibilities for me to thrive in. A world I now get to enjoy everyday.

 Seems like you are a very busy guy. What goes through your mind when waking up in the morning?

“Thank you Lord for waking me up!”

A day in the life of Katlego Maboe?

No day is ever the same. The only constant is the early wake-up call time and 6am start on Expresso. Every day is filled with meetings, client engagements, training, planning, rehearsals, etc. All these occur in interchangeable order depending on what needs to happen. That’s what makes what I do so exciting. I am in charge of what I choose to fill my day with and thus feel like I am in control of my destiny with God’s blessing.

Have you set any goals to wish to accomplish in the near or even distant future?

Yes, I want to start putting original music out into the world and performing as a professional musician. I’d like to do that while continuing to grow my broadcasting career towards that “Ryan Seacreast Level”.

If you were to advise someone who wishes to achieve what you have, what would you say to them?

If you can dream it you can do it… but be prepared to be tested and to work hard everyday. Most of all, enjoy the ride!

Follow Katlego:

Twitter: @KatlegoMaboe

Facebook: Katlego Maboe