With generous funding from M•A•C AIDS Fund, 10 journalists investigated the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa in 2011 under an IWMF program.
By December 2011, the IWMF fellows gathered to talk about the challenges they faced covering the epidemic. They produced compelling stories that changed public perceptions of HIV/AIDS and improved conditions for forgotten communities.
Nearly 6 million South Africans are suffering from HIV – among them 3.2 million women and 280,000 children, UNAIDS estimates.
The IWMF offered these fellows one-on-one coaching with media trainers and stipends to conduct interviews and in-depth research.
The M•A•C AIDS Fund has donated more than $8 million to HIV/AIDS programs in South African in the last decade.
Fellows participating in the IWMF’s 2011 HIV/AIDS Reporting Project in South Africa included:
• Laura Lopez Gonzalez, IRIN/Plus News
• Thabile Maphanga, SABC Radio
• Zinhle Mapumulo, City Press
• Harriet Mclea, The Times
• Yolisa Njamela, SABC TV
• Ramatamo Sehoai, Alex Pioneer
• Thandi Skade, The Star
• David Steynberg, People magazine
• Nastasya Tay, Eyewitness News
• Fidelis Zvomuya, Agriconnect
Laura Lopez Gonzalez
Laura Lopez Gonzalez began covering HIV in 2003, when she completed an in-depth reporting project on HIV among men who have sex with men in Chicago, Illinois, and Cape Town, South Africa, as part of her undergraduate coursework at the Medill School of Journalism in Chicago. She later completed a master's thesis on counterintuitive links between conflict and HIV transmission in Mozambique as part of the University of Chicago’s Committee on International Relations before returning to South Africa.
Lopez has spent the last five years as a freelance journalist reporting for the United Nations HIV/ AIDS news service, IRIN/PlusNews. Prior to this experience, she worked for various South African print media outlets such as The Star, The Sunday Times and The Cape Times. While working for IRIN/PlusNews, she has covered HIV epidemics in South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Swaziland. She has also partnered with organizations such as the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health and South Africa’s Aurum Institute to train fellow journalists in the reporting of clinical trials.
In 2010, she was awarded a Gender and Media in Southern Africa Award for best sustained reporting for her work on forced sterilizations among HIV-positive women in Namibia and pregnancy-related HIV stigmas.
• A deadly funding crisis (12/01/11)
• SOUTH AFRICA: Country launches new HIV, TB plan (12/01/11)
• MALAWI: The rush to rationalize (12/01/11)
• HIV/AIDS: Following the Fund (12/01/11)
• HIV/AIDS: Delayed Global Fund money a sign of economic times (11/08/11)
• Rethinking contraception and infection risk (10/07/11)
• Twelve years of the TAC fight (10/04/11)
• A timeline of HIV/AIDS activism (10/04/11)
• HIV/AIDS: Drug price cuts secured amid growing funding fears (5/19/11)
• Queen Tinyiko Nwamitwa-Shilubana, "People didn't want to come out" (5/4/11)
• No ARVs in 'whoonga', say experts (2/10/11)
• HIV testing in schools is a minefield (2/4/11)
Thabile Maphanga has been in the news industry for six years. She is a health journalist at the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) Radio News as well as a news presenter on SABC TV News. She started her journalism career as an intern at the weekly publication Echo under The Witness in Pietermaritzburg before becoming a producer for, Vuleka Productions in Durban. She joined the SABC in 2004 as a news anchor/bulletin writer on Ukhozi FM, the biggest radio station in South Africa. After two years on the bulletin desk, Maphanga became a general radio news reporter. In her time as a radio reporter she was honored with the Tourism Journalist of the Year Award. A few months later she received the SABC Journalist of the Year Award in Radio Current Affairs for a story she covered on virginity testing and the reed dance in KwaZulu Natal. In 2010 she was honored with the Discovery Health Journalist of the Year Award for a story related to the doctor’s strike in 2009.
• World AIDS Day Feature (11/29/11)
Zinhle Mapumulo is an award winning health reporter for the City Press newspaper. She joined the publication in November. Previously, she worked for The New Age and the Sowetan newspapers as a health reporter for more than six years. Prior to that, Mapumulo worked for several magazines including Enterprising Women and Garden and Home as a lifestyle reporter. She won the Discovery Best Health News Reporting Award in 2009 and 2010. She has participated in numerous fellowships including the Panos: STOP TB Media Fellowship.
• Trials start on vaginal ring to halt HIV (1/22/12)
• Alarm bells on HIV-drug resistance (11/6/11)
• Contraceptive alert (10/19/11)
• Scourge of male rape in SA prisons (9/7/11)
• HIV treatment now for 2.5 million (8/15/11)
Harriet McLea is a health news reporter at The Times newspaper, a national daily, where she has worked for more than two years. She studied politics, philosophy and economics at the University of Cape Town before obtaining an honors degree in journalism at Rhodes University in Grahamstown in 2008. While studying, Mclea wrote for two university newspapers, The Oppidan Press and Varsity Newspaper, and read news at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Radio.
• Baby Born Free of HIV - Multimedia Presentation (12/01/11)
• HIV-positive mother rejoices as baby daughter born HIV-free (12/01/11)
• 'Don't tell anyone, your mother gave you HIV' (12/01/11)
• SA must do more to save kids from HIV (12/01/11)
• Farmers set up mobile clinics for HIV workers (7/19/11)
• State to run trials of anti-HIV gel (6/14/11)
• HIV-testing targets not being reached (5/15/11)
• Pregnancy tsunami (2/20/11)
• World Aids Day: get tested (12/01/10)
Yolisa Njamela works as a senior TV journalist at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). She is an award-winning journalist whose career as a journalist spans all media including radio, print, TV and the Internet. In addition to working as a reporter, Njamela was also a content development executive member for KhumbuleKhaya – a highly successful show on SABC, the premise of which is to connect long lost families. She has worked as a commissioning editor at SABC Content Hub Drama, where she was responsible for pitching program ideas, evaluating proposals, and developing and writing briefs. Njamela earned B.A.’s in english and psychology. She also pursued a post-graduate degree in communication and media studies at Rhodes University.
Ramatamo Sehoai works as a reporter at Alex Pioneer, a community newspaper in Alexandra, a township of Johannesburg. His job has exposed him to the dire effects of poverty and underdevelopment in his community. He has attended science reporting and investigative reporting conferences at Wits University. He is currently working on a B.A. in communication science at the University of South Africa. Sehoai had to confront the harsh realities of HIV/AIDS after losing two of the closest people in his life to the disease, his friend and his cousin. He has covered several stories relating to the epidemic in his community.
• Circumcision Clinic in Alexandra (10/05/11)
• Beneath the Dreaded Skin (10/26/11)
• HIV/AIDS in a changing climate (12/02/11)
Thandi Skade permanently joined The Star as a journalist in 2008 after completing an internship in April 2007. Skade graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2006 with a B. Soc. Sc in media and writing and politics. She has received additional media training on interpreting and reporting on clinical trials for cancer, TB and HIV/AIDS. While studying she volunteered at an AIDS fundraising shop in Cape Town, South Africa.
• Living with HIV is easier when you have some support (12/02/11)
David Steynberg studied information science, specializing in publishing at the University of Pretoria from 2002 to 2004. He began working at Farmer’s Weekly magazine as a junior sub-editor in March 2005. In May 2007, he was promoted to Deputy Chief Copy Editor, and for the first eight months of 2008 worked as a journalist. His main areas of interest included legal and business journalism. In September 2011, he received two awards, Caxton Magazines Editorial Excellence Awards for Best Feature: Real Life for the story Tragedy At Grootvlei Gold Mine: Ruined Lives and Suicides, and runner up for Writer of the Year.
With a desire to cover human interest stories, he moved to People magazine in August 2008. He has covered issues like pedophilia and rape.
• Zimbabweans Cast Out To Die? (10/31/11)
• Nkosi's Passion (7/11/11)
• Nkosi's Legacy (7/11/11)
• HIV Is Precious (6/13/11)
Nastasya Tay is the features and investigative reporter at EyeWitness News in Johannesburg. She is also a freelance foreign correspondent covering the southern Africa region, and has worked with agencies and broadcasters including The Associated Press, the InterPress Service and the BBC. Nastasya’s work spans various formats, including television, print, radio and stills. Raised in Australia, Tay was educated at Oxford University and the School of Oriental & African Studies in London. She worked for various think tanks and advocacy organizations, as well as the UN across several continents before becoming a full-time journalist.
• Snowy's Story (12/14/11)
Fidelis Zvomuya is from Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. He received a diploma in Mass Communications at the Harare Polytechnic. He joined the department of information in 1995 as a district information officer covering development issues within rural areas.
In 1997 he started working at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation as a television reporter responsible for environment, health and development issues, where started writing about HIV/AIDS. In 2000 he received an M.A. in mass communication and media research from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
He then joined the BBC and was posted to Zimbabwe. He held this position until the BBC was banned by the Zimbabwean government. He focuses on health issues, especially HIV/AIDS, with the intention to promote accurate, responsible, and supportive coverage of the issues and the effect HIV/AIDS has on the continent’s agricultural sector as well as on food security.
• Access denied (3/11)
• HIV/AIDS wreaks havoc on farms (6/11)
• Climate shifts take health toll on South Africa's HIV infected (4/7/11)