E-mail this story to a friend Printer friendly view of this page

Thembi Majombozi
By Tamar Blieden

The stamping of feet, the lifting of fists and cries for freedom echoed through the streets of Soweto on June 16th, 1976.

The children of the struggle fought for human rights that day 30 years ago in South Africa’s history. Thembi Majombozi was one of these children. Today she continues to fight for human rights through journalism.

“There has been a very positive development in this country and an element of personal growth in this transformation,” says Majombozi, who was 15 at the time of the Soweto uprising.
Majombozi is now a journalist with an interest in community development, poverty alleviation, rights of woman, children and those with disabilities.

“I’m interested in moral issues in society,” says Majombozi who contributed to Staff Rider, a liberation magazine for activists, during the apartheid years.

A vigorous reader today and then, Majombozi feels that thoroughness is lacking in current journalism. “People want to have a story and have it now.”

Majombozi was one of twelve working journalists participating in a three part training workshop offered by the USAID funded Investigative Journalism Workshop (IJW) which is housed at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. It is through skills acquired during the course that she can now envision using journalistic skills in social and community development.

The narrative writing session, she feels, will help her materialize her dream of teaching children in the community. “This will help me teach them the human perspective. It’s the kind of writing that generates a lot of interest and that people can identify with.”

The feedback that was part of the course and which was offered in response to the presentation of progress reports was essentially something new but valuable for her. “You need to sit down and discuss your story with people and get proper feedback,” says Majombozi.

Today journalists are no longer reporting on institutionalised racism. “Now we are reporting stories about people”, says Majombozi reflecting on the change in journalism since the end of apartheid. She adds that she believes that “the issues are about human rights rather than race.”
Majombozi suspects that one of the reasons for racism in South African papers at the time was the suburban background of a lot of writers. “Sometimes they would misinterpret and misrepresent the townships.”

Today journalism has changed but she still sees little serious investigative reporting taking place. She feels however that through an organisation like the Investigative Journalism Workshop (IJW) those gaps in South Africa’s media can be overcome.

Through the development of investigative journalism in South Africa, Majombozi sees South African journalists making an impact socially, journalistically and politically, not only locally, but in the rest of Africa and even in the whole world.