We all seek voice. A platform to express ourselves. Those on the outside always seem to have the greater voice, to determine what needs to be done in our space. It must be a human condition. To look outward and see problems, instead of looking inward and solving them. The media – including online – always seems to be just that … the outside looking in at the problems of others.

I met Daniel Lurie last year and he shared some of his ideas and vision for changing this as well as using the media “to deter human rights abuses, create dialogue, unify the community, empower gender equality and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.” Hillside Digital is the vehicle he founded, with Nadiva Schraibman, to do just this.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY5EllmcDNY

Hillside Digital seeks to train members of different communities to become media activists / citizen video journalists, giving them the necessary tools and skills to produce primarily video content, and then creating the necessary platforms / media outlets for that content to be broadcast / shared. The first phase has been the training of individuals from the Alexandra township in Johannesburg to become skilled independent filmmakers. They have also been working with a second team in Kayelitsha, Cape Town, as Phase 2. The video citizen journalists will create the videos, screen them in their communities and create dialogue around them and the issues they cover.

In addition, Hillside Digital’s approach is to create an online television channel and they have the beta running on Hillside Digital as well as on their YouTube channel.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N05O22pEIIQ

Hillside Digital is also, through these community media actions, involved in the Sony and FIFA “Siyakhona” project as well as the FIFA and streetfootballworld’s initiative – Football For Hope Movement. The Township Media Activists have always had a voice; now they also have a platform from which to share that voice. I am looking forward to seeing, and hearing and learning.

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About Kojo Baffoe

Of Ghanaian/German heritage, raised in Lesotho and currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kojo is the proverbial slashie, the professional ‘jack of all trades.’ He is an entrepreneur, writer, facilitator, content architect, former men’s magazine editor and speaker. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (1994) with majors in Economics, Marketing and Business Administration from the former the University of Natal (Durban), now University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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