Some of the ushers at the information desk
Some of the ushers at the information desk
Some of the ushers at the information desk

The windy “student-city” of Grahamstown in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province was today the destination of many travelers from all over Africa, most of them media professionals, as the City prepares to host the 17th edition of Highway Africa conference.

Widely described as Africa’s premier journalism conference, Highway Africa is taking place from 7-8 September at Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies.

For seventeen years the Highway Africa conference has been at the centre of Africa’s debates on journalism, media and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The conference has over the years become the largest annual gathering of African journalists in the world.

This year’s conference is themed, Social Media – from the margins to the mainstream, and will explore how Social Media has impacted our lives over the last decade, with specific consideration for how it has affected journalism as a practice, media as a business, and consumption of media, among others.

The speakers shall include Uganda’s Charles Onyango-Obbo, now Editor of Mail & Guardian Africa, Bobby Malabie, Group Executive for Marketing at Barclays Africa, Grace Natabaalo (African Center for Media Excellence), Kenyan technology, data and information strategist Daudi Were (Ushahidi) and Songezo Zibi (Editor, Business Day).

New Vision (Uganda)’s CEO Robert Kabushenga will also chair a workshop themed, “Working the media – when corporate coms meets editorial”.

MTN Continues Long-Running Support for African Journalism

In addition to extending its 13 year relationship with Rhodes University, MTN will be represented in two sessions at this year’s conference. Dr Hanlie Smuts, Head of Digital at MTN South Africa, will join a panel discussion on managing organisational reputation online.

MTN will also add its voice to discussions about ‘working in the media – when corporate communications meets editorial’, with Xolisa Vapi, Head of Group Corporate Communication and Stakeholder Relations, representing the company. As part of the operator’s commitment to the development of journalism in Africa, MTN is also sponsoring a number of journalists from its markets to attend the conference, including New Vision’s Apollo Mukiibi and PC Tech Magazine’s Albert Mucunguzi.

“MTN is proud to have the opportunity to support the work of our media. As a telecoms and digital services provider, we are conscious of the needs to enable conversations between families, communities and the global community,”says Chris Maroleng, Executive for Group Corporate Affairs at MTN, as quoted by

“We are thus very supportive of this year’s focus at the conference, as it shines the spotlight on social media and the role of journalism, which are both integral to leading debates in our societies”, added Maroleng.

Most sessions of the conference will be live-blogged on this website.