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New community media group to launch 2007

Afro Rights Media Associates (ARM Associates) has formed a partnership with The Eye Level Experience, a subsidiary of the Chaza Strategic Management, to launch a new media group called Uhuru. The group plan to launch its first knock-and-drop family paper in the Nelson Mandela Municipality and the Cacadu region in the Eastern Cape, followed by a string of knock-and-drops across the economic spectrum, early in 2007.

Roderick Blackman Ngoro, resident and founder of ARM Associates
Roderick Blackman Ngoro, resident and founder of ARM Associates
The new partnership is between Afro Rights, community media specialist, seasoned community entrepreneurs, and The Eye Level Experience. The president and founder of ARM Associates is Roderick Blackman Ngoro, formerly a media advisor to Cape Town's former executive mayor, Nomaindia Mfeketo.

Majority interests

"The intention is to produce and circulate relevant news to all citizens living in private houses, municipal households formal, informal, flats, as well as businesses and around farms. The intention is also to strengthen the bond with patrons of Mzansi from rural and urban communities as a collective family. The future market in the second economy - be it for newspapers or other products -- has to be composed of the majority interests, and one has to begin to articulate their concerns. The Uhuru will do this," says Ngoro.

The Uhuru team of specialist and experts has identified the knock-and-drop newspaper section in the second economy communities as its launch pad into the broader community media industry that includes community television, community film productions and community multimedia offerings. The list of knock-and-drop includes:

  • A traditional family knock-and-drop

  • A bi-weekly long distance taxi 'knock-and-drop' which incorporates long distance and cross-border taxies, bringing together columns of international news about Africa for taxi travellers
  • Monthly knock-and-drops for farm workers and informal traders
Uhuru aims to become the primary and dominant sources of relevant news and information for community radio stations in South Africa. Through its homely feel and touch, readers are to expect personal encounters with political figures, businesses, and individuals with stories to tell and history to re-live.

Sympathetic treatment

While Uhuru will not align itself with any political forces, it aims to give sympathetic treatment to those civil society and political forces bent on changing the reality of the poor.

According to the media group, which cites Naspers as proof, media business, if done responsibly, has a huge positive impact on society. Media businesses generate employment, both directly, and indirectly, through their supply chains and distribution channels. Media business probably creates four or five jobs for every one person they employ directly. And media businesses create very tangible social and economic benefits such as training and the transfer of skills for the up-and-coming journalist.

The Uhuru group is in business to generate a decent return on investment for its business partners and investors, yet it is committed to genuine economic development for the communities and the nurturing of a journalist that is in touch with the nation and its people.

"The National Government and SA Inc spend billions of rands on advertising and marketing campaigns yet these messages seldom reach their intended targets. The Uhuru strategic roll-out plan with the 'knock-and-drops' is to capture a considerable slice of this advertising budget over the first twelve months of business. We need to increase the pool of journalist for 2010 and beyond. Most companies will be in search of journalist with sincere African understanding and through the Uhuru we endeavour to contribute towards the skill pool of nation," says Enver Buys, CEO of The Eye Level Experience.

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