MDDA Media Literacy Summit 2014 at Thohoyandou, Venda, Limpopo

limp2This has been another exciting week. I have just come back from an MDDA Media Literacy Summit held in Thohoyandou, Venda, Limpopo. MDDA stands for media development and diversity agency.

The MDDA is a media development agency set-up by government and the private media sector. The agency aims to develop media. They promote media diversity and investing in media skills. This year’s Summit benefitted 45 learners from grades 9 – 11 from 9 schools covering all 5 districts in Limpopo. Each team of 5 children was accompanied by a teacher from their school.

Reading Conference

Though it is called a Reading conference, the ultimate aim was to teach the 45 learners how to write and create their own school newsletters as the MDDA working with the department of education, is wanting to get journalism in the school curriculum.

My adventure began with an aeroplane flight from Durban where I live, to Johannesburg and the MDDA headoffice. We then went on a 3 hour journey by car to a lovely country hotel, Lala pansi, on the N1 not far from Louis Trichardt.

limp15Erudite Panel of Speakers

The next day was an hours’ car trip to Thohoyandou, the capital of Venda, where the Summit took place on Friday the 11th of April in the Town Hall’s impressive council chambers. Besides the 45 learners and their 9 teachers a most erudite panel of speakers was present. The MDDA Programme director was Mr Talifhani Khubana, and the welcome and opening was by the Counsellor from the Office of the Executive Mayor of Vhembe District Municipality whilst the MDDA CEO, Mr Lumko Mtimde gave the project aims and objectives.

The keynote address came from the MEC of Basic Education, the Honourable Ms Dikeledi Magadzi and the chairperson of the Parliamentary portfolio committee on communication, Honourable Eric Kholwane.

A round table discussion on democracy, constitution and role of the media included a speaker from the SABC – Ms Ms Nomonde Gongxeka, Media Analyst – Prof Somadoda Fikeni, from MindsetNetwork – Mr Goodman Chauke and the CEO of Sentech – Dr Setumo Mohapi.

Excellent Programme

This excellent programme was put together by Manana Stone, Programme Manager at the MDDA. As an audience, which included the 45 learners and their 9 teachers, we were delighted with the variety of talks. The day concluded with a tasty meal, and a trip back to Lala Pansi where the practical part of the Summit would take place over the next 2 days.

At breakfast on Saturday, a young man sat at our table. “Are you a journalist?” I asked him.

“No,” he said, “I’m just a learner.”

I smiled and said, “I’ll ask you this same question in 2 days time.”

Because I knew of the wonderful learning he was about to be part of. …3 years ago the MDDA honoured myself and a colleague by inviting us to do a KZN project similar to this one, for ten schools in Nongoma and Ulundi, and the result had been excellent young school journalists able to create exciting school newsletters.

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