Acting Director-General Nomonde Mnukwa: Women in Media and Communication Panel Discussion

25 August 2023

Programme Director Sis Phaphama 

Imbokodo and youth the future leaders in the venue and online

My Colleagues and fellow speakers

TUT management and members of the media 

Good morning! Dumelang, Ndi matsheloni

It is a great honor and a priviledge for me to be part of what is happening today. 

Government communicators serve as bridge builders, translating policies and decisions into languages and narratives that resonate with every citizen, regardless of their background. By doing so, they promote inclusivity and social cohesion, strengthening the fabric of our nation.

The gender based violence pandemic is felt at all levels of society. Young and old, rich or poor, all races - we are all not immune. In our time, we have made our voice heard and continue to do so against such injustices. However, we need the voice of the youth to be louder, we need to change the landscape, it is our responsibility, it is in our hands. We need to see the change if not now, it rather be soon, in your time as adults the narrative should have changed.  

Basically, the work starts now. Use the resources at your disposal to ensure the safety of women. We may be focussing on cyberbullying today, but we know that the attitude that we see on social media towards women is just an extention of what happens in homes and communities.  

The effect of online violence or cyberbullying can be devastating, leaving the targeted person feeling hurt, humiliated, angry, depressed or even suicidal. 

I want to remind you today that you about the power that we possess as women and as youth, we change environments, we move mountains, we are unstoppable. You are not powerless if you are a target of online violence and abuse. Save the evidence by capturing the social media post, voice note, image or video for use as evidence should you ever need it. As you may know, social media websites are also doing their part to keep the spaces free of abusive content.  

Through our collective effort, we can create greater awareness of cyberbullying or any violence against women especially and bring perpetrators to justice. 

Often people are reluctant to report such cases but I want to encourage you to do so through the SAPS Crime Stop (Tip-off Line): 0860 010 111.

The value of serving in the government communication sector is beyond what catches the eye. As government communicators, we have a responsibility to provide on time, credible information as prescribed in our beautiful constitution. It is our responsibility to communicate to South Africans about issues that are pertinent in their lives – ranging from providing empowering information, progress on government commitments and key developments most, importantly in the languages that they understand. It is also our responsibility to communicate about South Africa in the continent and the world at large. 

Coming closer to today’s theme, it is part of our work as government communicators to empower citizens like yourselves with information on where to report acts of abuse of any form especially cyberbullying. 

In the most significant roles of government, communicators providing accurate and transparent information to the public. We need to work in a very ethical, responsible, accountable ways. In a world of misinformation and fake news, these professionals are the gatekeepers of truth. Fake news and misinformation is rife in cyberspaces.

Communicators and journalists have a critical role in countering false narratives, dispelling myths, and ensuring that citizens receive credible information. By doing so, they empower the public to make informed decisions and actively engage in the democratic processes.

Being a government communicator comes with great responsibility. Similar to journalists, upholding high levels of integrity, ethical standard is paramount, as their words and actions have the power to shape public opinion and influence decision-making processes. 

As students, you represent the future of this nation. Whether you aspire to become government communicators or pursue other paths, the value of effective communication cannot be underestimated. By developing your communication skills, you contribute to building a more informed, empathetic, and united society. Embrace the power of dialogue, listen to diverse perspectives, and cultivate the ability to convey your thoughts clearly and respectfully.

In conclusion, as you envision your own future roles in society, remember the importance of effective communication in shaping a brighter and more harmonious South Africa for generations to come. Always have in mind, what are the unintended consequencies of what I am about to communicate?

Whatever path you take, be intentional about producing content that builds, empowers and hold yourself to the standards you want to see in the world. You are all storytellers in your different capacities, whether personal or otherwise. Let your content contribute to nation building. Let us create the change we want to see. 

We would like to thank our sponsors Salient Media, National Research Foundation and MDDA for making today possible. Ee highly appreciate your contribution towards empowering women and the youth of our nation.

Let us be the builders like how

Mama Helen Nontando Jabavu who through her writing and reporting influenced and shaped the future that we now live in, 

Mama Joyce Sikhakhane-Rankin who joined “The World” newspaper at the age of 20. Youth, nothing is impossible and no sky can limit you. 

Mama Ruth First who wrote about social injustices and labour issues, that shaped the current laws we have today. 

I Thank you.

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