Media representation in South Africa… What you don’t see

In a city like Cape Town, getting your voice heard can be a real challenge. Without the money, the connections or the social standing, it is easy for the media – and in many cases the government – to overlook you and hope you’ll go away. That means that grassroots activists, township dwellers and impoverished communities often struggle to get their stories heard. Our South African grantee, GroundUp, set out to change this by offering an independent platform for news reporting. Recognising that traditional media was failing to adequately report on issues from poorer communities, GroundUp launched their platform with the aim of becoming the best publisher of original social justice news reportage in South Africa. Since it published its first story in April 2012, they have since published over 2,000 articles, trained up township-based journalists and assisted social activists to communicate their message. Much of this material is subsequently republished by the city’s main news outlets. Over a thirty-day period between January and February this year, 12 articles were republished by media groups like Daily Maverick, City Press and News24. This mainstream exposure helps drive significant traffic to their site and generates much wider appreciation of the story or issue in question. And GroundUp have covered a huge range of issues. Here are just some of their best articles from the last year:

Inequality debate: Isaacs vs Schussler vs Seekings

To audit or not to audit? SJC vs the City of Cape Town

Ethical trade body fails farm worker

How the Free State health system is being destroyed

Marikana: Lonmin’s broken promises

In 2015-16, GroundUp hope to expand beyond Cape Town to enable them to better cover issues from other cities and communities. It will be an interesting time and we will be following their progress with interest. Meanwhile, we hope you’ll follow their stories…