Welcome to MPONZMAN!A

This is a professional blog of an experimental student journalist. I showcase my work from both the course and vacational work on this blog. I also add a flavour of my own thoughts and observations.


The importance I set of focusing on the average citizen as a primary source and focal point of a story is revealed in the new stories I produced this year. The first story in the news section, which is on the implications the closure of The Old Gaol Backpackers’ Lodge, would have on its backroom workers, emphasised solely on these workers, and the catalyst of this story was the backroom worker who is the first interviewee in the story. The second story in this section, of the taxi drivers’ dissatisfaction with hitch-hikers who refuse to commute in taxis, is another story which I focused on a concerning issue affecting citizens.

I understood the seriousness of these stories from newspaper publications and the media. The Old Gaol story received much coverage from Grocott’s Mail, and a campaign against the closure of the lodge was started on the social media platform, Facebook. I initially became aware of the frosty relationship taxi drivers and passengers have with each other from my personal account of the situation. I also became aware of violence amongst taxi drivers and of their unhappiness with their loss of passengers, due to the growing preference of people to hitch-hike, rather than catch taxis. I came across this phenomena from various media outlets at home in Queenstown and here in Grahamstown. My motivation for undertaking these two stories aligned with the insistence in my philosophy of not following a notion of objectivity in the stories I produce. I became aware of the lack of coverage the backroom staff of the Old Gaol experienced when news of its impending closure made rounds. Of the newspaper articles I read about the closure of the Old Gaol, there was the constant focus on the reasons for the closure, and whether the lodge was accepted positively in the community. I did not see one article which focused on the consequences the closure of the Old Gaol would have on its workers. I decided to pitch and co-produce a story of the Old Gaol which looked at those who would be most vulnerable at the closure of the lodge; the backroom workers who live in poverty and would struggle to find work elsewhere.

The following audio is taken from the news stories I produced and co-produced during the year. The two packages in this page were part of the As It Is podcast which I compiled with my group in the second term of the Radio course

Eastern Cape Taxi-drivers are raging at the growing number of hitch-hikers around the province. But in Grahamstown hitch-hikers are defiant. Litha Mpondwana reports.

This is a package I co-produced with Angelique Thorne.

CUE: There has been much hype around the closure of the Old Goal and the implications it has on the Tourism of Grahamstown, but how does this pending closure affect the workers. Angelique Thorne investigates.