14 December 2012

South Africa: How This Blog Was Born

Photo: Presidency
President Jacob Zuma.


Zubeida Jaffer and I were in our early twenties when we first met in the newsroom of the Cape Times. We had to eat our sandwiches in the Company Gardens because she wasn't allowed into white restaurants.

We both caught the train to work but had to sit in different carriages. Together we covered the bus and school boycotts and the strikes that rocked Cape Town in the early eighties. After work, Zubeida drew me into Grassroots, the newspaper aimed at organizing working class communities to fight for better conditions. By the middle of the year, Zubeida had been detained by the Security Police and systematically tortured.

We lost touch for several years after that. I went to London where I became deputy editor of the Guardian's Comment & Analysis pages. Now Zubeida and I again are living in the same city, Cape Town.

Early tomorrow we head off to the 53rd elective conference of the ANC at the University of the Free State - an event which would have seemed like a dream back then.

Ever the innovator, Zubeida dreamed up the idea of this blog so that we could transfer our skills to our successors, the journalists of tomorrow. In partnership with allAfrica.com, we, the voice of experience, and University of Free State journalism students, Linda Fekisi, Moeketsi Mogotsi, Libokanyo Mokhadinyana and Seithati Semenokane, the fresh young voices of youth, will keep you up to date with live reports, photographs and videos on the goings-on at the conference.

South Africans under 34 make up almost two thirds of the population, according to the 2011 Census.

WhatsUpANC will be THE blog to read.

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