This year, Naledi Mashishi and Shandukani Mulaudzi have been named in the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans – an honorary title given to young South African pioneers in their respective fields, while Onke Ngucka received the Sikuvile Award 2022 from the reporter to come/amount. of the year.
Naledi Mashishi (27)
Naledi Mashishi, a finalist in the Sunday Times 2022 Literary Awards, earned her Honors Journalism degree at Wits Journalism in 2018 and interned at Reuters the following year. She was recognized in the Arts and Entertainment category of the M&G200 Young South Africans for her work as a fact checker at Africa Check, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic when misinformation was rampant.
She also effectively used the Twitter feed to debunk common myths circulating during Covid-19.
In 2021, she was nominated by the Democracy Works Foundation as an African woman promoting democracy in her country.
The same year, she wrote and published her first novel, “Invisible Strings” which tells the story of a young African woman, who develops otherworldly powers, and her attempts to overcome the various challenges of her past and of his present. The book landed Mashishi a Sunday Times on the long list for the 2022 Sunday Times Literary Awards.
Mashishi plans to continue working as a researcher at Africa Check and write another book within 30 years. She also plans to do her masters in global health policy.
At the heart of his work, Mashishi ensures that accurate information is conveyed to the public to help them make informed decisions about their lives. She also believes that journalists should make an effort to understand science and health issues, especially before covering them.
“The role of the media has become more important than ever with the amount of misinformation circulating. It is very important that journalists get it right and get it right the first time,” she said.
Shandukani Mulaudzi (32)
Shandukani Mulaudzi graduated with an honors degree in journalism from Wits in 2013. At the time, she was student journalist of the year and court reporter of the year. She then earned a spot at Columbia University, where she finished in the top 15% of her class.
Mulaudzi was shortlisted in the Arts and Entertainment category of the M&G200 Young South Africans, not only for her work in the media, but for her recent foray into the arts space.
She runs Studio Nxumalo Contemporary, a visual arts curation studio that seeks to empower and recognize African artists in the country. She believes talented black artists are denied access to art spaces due to a lack of funding and other structural issues, and she seeks to address these issues through her studio. She is also the communications manager at the Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit Internet rights organization.
“I’ve done so much since graduating and love how Wits has prepared me to pivot between different spaces,” she said.
Mulaudzi got into journalism while doing her Bachelor of Commerce at Rhodes University, first as a DJ and Music Director at Rhodes Music Radio (the campus radio station), then as an intern at Sunday World.
Subsequently, she worked for YOU Magazine, Finweek, City Press and Huffington Post, covering a range of topics.
” While [City Press] I’ve covered amazing political stories with Sithembile Cele, artistic stories under the direction of Charles Blignaut and I’ve also broken the racism stories of the PTA girls who opened a can of worms regarding all sorts of other racisms in the old model C schools and even in black schools”.
After her time at City Press, she worked at the Huffington Post South Africa as an editor.
“I was doing an amazing job – my favorite story was about the decolonized national anthem, but my most successful stories were 1. A personal essay I wrote about sexual violence in South Africa. It was ‘The first time that I saw a penis I didn’t want,” and then a story I wrote about Yvonne Orji that I wrote for HuffPost the week I was suspended.
She then freelanced for The Big Debate, Power FM and Inside Education and worked as a content producer and in communications in several different spaces.
Having worked in the field for several years, Mulaudzi says journalism has become a toxic space and mental health issues need to be taken seriously.
“What makes the media one of the most toxic spaces is that even though we want to speak truth to power, we allow things like The City Press 6, The HuffPost Ghost and now The New Frame 31 to happen without holding ANYBODY accountable. It’s dangerous. Young journalists are either alcoholics, at Akeso, or quitting the industry altogether because journalism is TOXIC (sic) And that’s not a South African problem – it’s a global problem.
Onke Ngucka (26)
Onke Ngucka has been named Upcoming Journalist/Rising Star of the Year at the 2022 Sikuvile Journalism Awards – sponsored by Standard Bank and hosted by the South African National Editors’ Forum in Johannesburg on June 26, 2022.
Ngucka completed her Honors Journalism degree at Wits Journalism in 2018 and now works at the Daily Maverick where she focuses on climate and environmental issues. Prior to that, she interned at Reuters for a year, spending half her time as a financial and general reporter and the other half as a producer for Reuters TV.
“It’s been such an incredible time, a bit overwhelming because Reuters is international and I think it comes from a very local newsroom – in terms of it being a community newspaper. [The Wits Vuvuzela] it was a big leap, but it was also very interesting to see how all the skills that I learned in a very small newsroom and in a community newspaper were very applicable in an international newsroom and to an audience international.
In 2021, Ngucka accepted a fellowship which was a partnership between the Rosa Lux Foundation and the Acceleration Program for Young African Journalism on Climate Justice. In November 2021, she was awarded a Climate Tracker Fellowship to cover COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Ngucka also traveled to Kenya to report on the United Nations Environment Assembly where the first legally binding ban on plastic was passed. She plans to focus on climate and environmental stories and do more stories that are impactful and more human-centered to put that face on the climate crisis.
To aspiring journalists, she says to join the industry if you really want to make a contribution to South Africa, especially noting the struggles the country is currently facing.
Mashishi, Mulaudzi and Ngucka join a long list of Wits Journalism alumni who have been awarded and recognized for their contributions to the South African media landscape and the country as a whole.