The Wits Centre for Journalism is delighted to announce the appointment of veteran media professional Chris Kabwato. Kabwato takes on the role of partnerships and fundraising coordinator to deepen the WCJ’s engagement with stakeholders across the continent and globally.

“Chris has led an impressive and impactful career spanning more than 25 years in Africa’s journalism, media and fundraising landscapes,” says WCJ Director, Dr Dinesh Balliah. “As former executive director of SANEF, and long-time director of Highway Africa and its annual flagship conference, he brings a wealth of experience in strategic planning, stakeholder engagement and fundraising to the Centre.

“At the core of his work, Chris manages existing relationships with WCJ donors and partners, driving the work that is already in place while identifying new areas of collaboration. He will also look to engage other stakeholders who share the Centre’s vision to strengthen journalism on the continent.”

Kabwato explains his career in the media was initially driven by a love for film and literature, and a permanent detour into journalism came about through a “happy accident”.

“In the early 2000s I was leading a collective of documentary filmmakers from across Southern Africa when I collaborated with Article 19 and AMARC, an advocacy group for community radio, in lobbying for an African Charter on Broadcasting with UNESCO, which was successfully adopted. It was that association that changed my career trajectory.”

With this background in the arts, Kabwato previously worked for the British Council as Head of Education and Public Affairs, and as Director of Southern Africa Communications for Development. He has also proudly trained over 600 journalists as part of the Sanlam Summer School for Financial Journalists over the past 20 years, 12 of which as convenor of the program.

“The Wits Centre for Journalism has distinguished itself in terms of the range of short courses it offers, projects and events it hosts and supports, as well as the prominent research it conducts through initiatives like the annual State of the Newsroom report; but it is poised for even further greatness,” says Kabwato. “Our Director, Dr Dinesh Balliah, has a compelling vision of what this Centre should look like within the next five years, and I am excited to be part of the journey.”

Looking ahead, Kabwato explains that one of the Centre’s key goals is to continue to embed a culture of responsibility and accountability to our stakeholders. “This means delivering on our promises to both beneficiaries and partners,” he says. “If we do that well, we enhance our reputation and maintain our position as the partner of choice for those who wish to invest in journalism education and training in Africa.”