Wednesday, December 4, 2013

SPI reflections on 2013

Words: SPI Course Coordinator Linda Snam Editing: SPI Director Francis Mdlongwa

2013 has been an exciting year for the SPI. We started off in February with the arrival of PDMM students and, in no time, the year is soon coming to a close. We had an eclectic mix of students that kept us company throughout the year, and during every vacation period we would feel the quiet that we feel right now with everyone heading back home.

We knew who the perennial late-comers were and those who always came to class on time and, as colleagues, we at times would joke about how, each year, each PMM group of students is so different from the other.

We wish all the members of the Class of 2013 real success in their careers in the media industry and we would like them to keep in touch with the SPI, regularly updating us on their successes and challenges in the real world of work.

We also look forward to welcoming the new 2014 PDMM students, who will be joining us shortly (how time flies!) in their quest to learn new knowledge, understandings and skills on how to become better media managers and leaders.

Below we capture some observations from a few of our current 2013 students on what the PDMM meant to them:

Zimbabwean student Robin Tatenda Chaibva says the highlight of the PDMM for her was the way in which the course encouraged students to reflect on the kinds of leaders they would like to be. Robin has a Bachelor of Science degree and she created a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog called “Concrete Jungle” before she started the PDMM course. Her blog has been ranked in the top five of the Zimbabwe Fashion Week fashion awards.

MTN scholarship winner Mike Moodie says he decided to do the PDMM because he wanted to learn about the business side of media. So far, he says, the PDMM has given him a good understanding of the industry. Moodie completed his mid-year participant observation at the Media24 publication Men’s Health and has described his experience as “the best”.

PDMM student Babalwa Nyembezi spoke about her time as a participant observer at Primedia in Cape Town and Johannesburg. She has been invited to return there to work for them again. “Who knows what can happen when you do this course?” she said. Babalwa was awarded the prestigious scholarship from Primedia to study the PDMM.

We welcome applications from anyone who already has a degree – any degree really – who is interested in studying media management at the SPI next year. The applications are still open until the end of January next year. For more details on how to apply, please go to our website at http: // Also, don’t hesitate to contact me, Linda Snam ( should you have any questions/issues regarding the application processes, procedures, requirements, etc.

During the year that is closing, we also educated and trained more than 160 people from the African media industry through a range of our media management short courses. We have repeatedly trained on-site as well at the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) in Johannesburg and at the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation in Victoria, the capital of the Indian Ocean archipelago.

We will conclude the year with an on-site training course in digital media management at the Zambia Institute of Mass Communication in Lusaka. The experience that the course delegates take out of these courses is tremendous, they keep telling us in their feedback. They also benefit from a rare networking opportunity with and sharing work experiences with course attendees who come from different African countries and varied media institutions.

We are grateful to OSISA for its generous scholarships support for 20 PDMM students from across Southern Africa over the past five years, to MTN for supporting 20 students for the PDMM and 130 course short participants from the South African media in five years, and to Primedia for sponsoring five scholarships for PDMM students in the past two years.

We are also grateful to Media 24 for lending its support to the South African community print sector by sponsoring 12 participants to attend a short course customised for this key sector at the SPI this year.

All of these sponsors have made a huge and positive difference to the lives of so many media people, and the SPI thanks each and every one of these sponsors for their generous support and keen awareness of their corporate social responsibility and corporate social investment.

The research arm of the Institute launched a new media book at this year’s annual Highway Africa Conference. This event was well attended, with some of the book’s contributors talking about the chapters they wrote for the book.

All in all, a very exciting and yet still challenging year. We now look to the joys and the unknowns of 2014!

 Linda Snam is the SPI Course Coordinator, Marketing and Communications Officer. She can be reached at; telephone 046-603-8949; telefax 046-603-7257.  Editing by SPI Director Francis Mdlongwa (