5th June 2019, Johannesburg, South Africa. HENLEY Business School Africa is pleased to announce the inaugural winners of its brand-new Sol Plaatje scholarship for media professionals. They are: Thabiso Thakali, news editor of the Sowetan newspaper and Pauli van Wyk, an investigative journalist from the Daily Maverick, says Henley Business School Africa dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley.
“Thabiso Thakali – who co-authored the authoritative A-Z of South African Politics this year –has been awarded the Sol Plaatje media scholarship for the Post Graduate Diploma programme , while Pauli van Wyk, possibly one of the most highly decorated journalists of her generation, has won the Sol Plaatje MBA scholarship.”
The scholarships, Foster-Pedley says, were established to honour of one of South African journalism’s greatest practitioners by giving current media practitioners the once in a lifetime opportunity to step out of the newsroom, or studio, and into the classroom and hopefully emerge with the tools they need to recalibrate the media industry when they graduate.
It is the bitterest of ironies, says Foster-Pedley, that at a time of one of the highest points in the history of South Africa journalism the media industry is caught in an existential crisis; trapped in a vice of dwindling audiences and revenues, compounded by disproportionate budget cuts and unprecedented pressures on editorial independence, while the much vaunted new media has yet to come up with a sustainable business model.
“We believe these recipients have what it takes to breathe life into our dream and help repay the debt this country owes its journalists for uncovering state capture and its enabling by corporate collusion by helping them find a way of creating a new business model for journalism that guarantees its sustainability and its independence.”
Sol Plaatje, after whom the scholarship has been named, was a crusading journalist best known for his searing polemic, a Native Life in South Africa, which chronicled the depredations wrought by the inhuman Native Land Act of 1913. He was an activist – the first secretary general of the forerunner of today’s ANC – but he was also a newspaper editor and publisher. He founded three newspapers; one in Mahikeng and two in Kimberley, which he tried heroically to nurture and let flourish against all odds. He never stopped fighting for his people’s rights or writing though. He was a polymath; a linguist, a novelist, a polemicist, a dramatist; a very modern man ahead of his time and a very complete human being.
“He epitomises the entrepreneurial spirit always grounded in the community that Henley Business School Africa strives to infuse in our graduates and he reflects the innovation, creativity and agility that we will all need to harness if we are to become victors, and not victims, of the fourth industrial revolution,” says Foster-Pedley.
The Sol Plaatje scholarship is the latest in what is perhaps the widest – and certainly the most innovative and representative – range of scholarships of any business school in the country honouring South African icons from Desmond Tutu to Johnny Clegg as Henley Business School Africa seeks to give back and invest in our own community, while developing ground breaking courses and programmes to build the leaders who build the businesses who build Africa.