Food for Mzansi, Africa’s best digital news start-up, is proud to introduce you to a new project, Sinelizwi.

The word “sinelizwi” is of Xhosa origin and it means “We have the word”. True to its meaning, this project focuses on training 62 ordinary South Africans to be local citizen journalists.

Knowledge is power. We want to use this program to empower South Africans to be citizen journalists. Citizen journalism is about making sure people know what is happening in their community and how they can take constructive action. It is about writing about local news and helping get the word out on issues that are important to the community.

Rather than relying on campaign literature or word of mouth, citizen journalists have the power to fill the information gap in a responsible way, to prevent vital news from slipping through the cracks. For citizens to be fully engaged and able to constructively participate in their government, they must also be an informed citizenry.

Over the course of a six-month long, Whatsapp-based programme, we will empower people from overlooked rural areas to find and tell stories from their own communities. We’ll amplify these stories through our national online platform, Food for Mzansi.

From a selection of over 300 applicants, 62 South Africans were hand-picked to be trained by Food For Mzansi’s Sinelizwi citizen journalism programme. This exciting nationwide initiative will empower this selected cohort with personal development and journalism skills, as well as reward them for outstanding story-telling skills.

citizen journalism

Game’s Master, Duncan Masiwa

Our first session of the program kicks off with introductions from “games master” Duncan Masiwa, who will be leading the Sinelizwi programme, Kobus Louwrens and Ivor Price, co-founders of Food For Mzansi, as well as their no-nonsense editor for audience engagement, Dawn Noemdoe.

“We are passionate about this country. We love South Africa, we love what we do,” Ivor says in his welcome speech. “We tell the stories of people who have often been forgotten in the agricultural sector.”

We all have stories waiting to be told, waiting to be heard. Watch the introductory training video here and start writing your story.