by Jenn Warren
Through my work with Grassroot Soccer South Africa, I learnt about this interesting citizen journalism project that took place at the GRS-managed Alexandra Football for Hope Centre around the 2010 World Cup . In collaboration with Hillside Digital Trust, Siyakhona Africa was created by citizens from the Alexandra Township on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa, as a means to further their voices and shares important news and issues within the community.
Click through to watch a video by citizen journalist Suzan Khosa that highlights the serious issue of rape in the Alexandra Township.
Siyakhona, which means ‘we can do it ourselves’ in both Zulu and Xhosa South African languages, is a collaborative project with citizen journalists and Hillside Digital Trust.
The citizen journalists choose subject matter based on consultations with fellow community members with no less than 100 votes on a particular issue before producing an advocacy based video on a call to action. The call to action is grounded in research and interviews with all concerned. Filmmakers then hold the screenings in a public and accessible space in the township accompanied by Q&A sessions where citizens can further discuss the issues, air grievances and discuss local solutions.
The videos empower the community to unite and find solutions to their most pressing issues; i.e. speeding up social change, and the citizen journalists and then responsible for implementing an agreed upon action by the community and reporting back to their community .
The below video by citizen journalist Suzan Khosa, who says this about her film highlighting the serious issue of rape in the Alexandra Township :
“All my life I have been frustrated by men who are violating women and children through rape. Through my research I met two girls in Alexandra Township who were raped by someone they knew and strangers too. It became repetition in their childhood life. Being raped repeatedly can lead to feeling shame, isolation and confusion. Because they felt this way, they learned to live with the silence for a very long time until one of the ladies was recently diagnosed with HIV when she became pregnant. There are a lot of rape cases that are not reported, many unsolved cases many that do not get reported. This adds to the high infection of HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa. As part of the Siyakhona team, I’m a video journalist and a activist for my community, I want to find solutions for every problem that I come across in our community. As part of the collective, I should not wait for someone to solve it, I too am a citizen of South Africa therefore I can make a difference.”
And here is a look at the inspiration behind Siyakhona and their community film screenings: