The paper includes stories which focus on a wide range of topics ranging from schools, features, sport within the community and beautiful photographs which were taken by the students while on assignment as part of their coursework and during their interaction with members of the community.
The newspaper received funding from the University’s Faculty of Humanities and the University’s Community Engagement fund, and some came in the form of advertising in the newspaper. About 1 500 copies of the newspaper were distributed during the launch of the newspaper on the Mamelodi Campus and in the community of Mamelodi. The next edition of the newspaper will be next year, and time and the exposure of the newspaper will hopefully determine its expected growth in circulation.
Head of the Journalism Programme at the University of Pretoria, Prof Pippa Green, said it took a lot of hard work, and a bit of fun, to produce the newspaper. She also said that many newspapers were declining in circulation, but information still remained critical for citizens to make decisions about their lives.
Prof Green emphasised the role of Journalism, which is about giving citizens a voice. “There’s criticism that newspapers don’t always reflect the voice of communities or of the poor, and we really need to focus on that. Therefore being in Mamelodi, especially at the schools, was a wonderful experience and there are people in this community who are doing amazing work,” Prof Green said.
Minister Trevor Manuel is no stranger to the world of Journalism and he knows the power of a community newspaper. In the days of apartheid, Minister Manuel was part of a team which launched the most powerful community newspaper in the Western Cape, called Grassroots. Although the paper was launched with the intention to fight apartheid, it also covered the problems of the community and the issues that were close to their hearts – making it important within its community.
Minister Manuel said taking information from and into the community was a strength they had in the struggle for democracy, and the launching of Mamelodi Voice is a rebirth of something powerful and positive. “It is important for the media to ensure that stories from the communities can be told and be heard. I am very pleased to be associated with this initiative by the Journalism students at Tukkies”, said Minister Manuel.
|Minister Trevor Manuel addresses the audience during the launch of the new community newspaper in Mamelodi.
|Minister Trevor Manuel poses with the learners from a primary school in Mamelodi.