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Landmark #RacismStopsWithMe campaign launched in South Africa

Independent Media today announced the roll-out of a landmark anti-racism campaign that is one of the company's biggest and most ambitious projects it has ever undertaken.
Landmark #RacismStopsWithMe campaign launched in South Africa

The #RacismStopsWithMe campaign is a call to all Independent Media’s stakeholders – readers, commercial partners, advertisers, investors, staff, and society in general – to work together to confront the reality of racism in our society once and for all. The campaign is at the heart of the Independent Media’s mission, which is embodied in its brand promise: Part of your past. Shaping your future.

Launched today at a media conference at Independent’s new head office on Cape Town’s Foreshore, the roll-out of the campaign coincides this week with the 50th anniversary of the forced removals in District Six, as well as the anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison on 11 February 1990.

Over the next few months, Independent Media will partner with the SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Seta and other willing organisations both in and outside the Anti-Racism Network of South Africa to face head-on the economic, political, social and cultural legacy of racism in our country.

“Independent Media is committed to creating an enabling environment that will engender a non-racial, more inclusive, tolerant and just South Africa. While it is difficult to legislate behaviour change, the battle against racism starts with each one of us”, said Independent Media and Sekunjalo Investment Holdings Executive Chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé.

“Independent Media is a frontier media company and since a Sekunjalo-led consortium took over the company in 2013, Independent’s national media platforms have sought to play a constructive role in highlighting South Africa’s most pressing and burning issues and allowing for healthy debate across all sectors of society. We are very proud of this critical role we play in society and we are confident this campaign will play a seminal role in helping our country positively tackle the issue of racism and its effects in a frank, robust and constructive way,” Dr Survé added.

Before kicking off the campaign, Independent Media conducted research among its subcribers and readers of its titles, with respondents indicating that individuals were best suited to drive a non-racial SA. “It’s up to me” was how 80% of respondents responded to the challenge of how best to confront race, giving further credence to the campaign.

Independent Media will support the campaign as follows:
  • We will be publishing some of South Africa’s – and the world’s – leading thinkers and writers on the subjects of race, oppression, inequality, justice, and reconciliation etc. on its print and digital platforms;
  • We will examine the attitudes of South Africans towards black economic empowerment, gender parity, employment equity and policies aimed at redress.
  • Via the campagn website – stopracism.iol.co.za – and social media platform #racismstopswithme - readers will be invited to join the conversation about race and racism
  • We will also give readers options on what to do when confronted with racism, and what they can do to combat it in their own lives.
  • We will endeavour to hold all to account to the standards demanded of us by the need to build a new country – politicians, business, ourselves, our colleagues and competitors, our readers, and all South Africans.
  • We will do more than report on and expose racism. We will highlight the positive stories of change and reconciliation that are taking SA forward.
In a major boost to the campaign, the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing (FP&M) Seta has approved funding for an Independent Media internship programme aimed at equipping young journalists with skills to produce and manage multi media content on the topic of race and racism in South Africa. The multi-million rand programme will comprise teams based in KZN, Cape Town and Gauteng. The interns will be coached and mentored in writing articles, producing graphics and videos as well as interactive storytelling on the subject of race and racism in South Africa. The primary platform for contributions will be on Independents “Racism Stops With Me” website.

“Nation building and national unity must be integrated into the skills development mandate of our sectors. We undertake to engage with our industry partners on the implementation of skills development initiatives aimed at capacitating our citizens, including the youth, on issues of transformation and cultural diversity”, said Felleng Yende, CEO of the FP&M Seta.

General Secretary of SACTWU, Andre Kriel, emphasised the importance of workers' organisations to be at the forefront of fighting racism. “If this scourge is not crushed immediately and decisively, the damaging effect on our country's social fabric will cause generations of racial hatred. The negative consequences of this include serious economic and social instability. This in itself poses a threat to our members' job security. Crushing the triple crises of poverty, inequality and unemployment will be an even more difficult task than what it already is. Together, let's fight racism wherever we find it, no matter how difficult it might be,” said Kriel.

The CEO of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Neeshan Bolton, commended Independent Media on the launch of the campaign. “It is initiatives such as this that have the potential to take forward the work done by anti-apartheid veterans such as Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada and numerous others. The Racism Stops with Me campaign complements the vision that the Foundation has - to prioritise anti-racism work nationally throughout 2016”, said Mr Bolton.

He said that the Foundation hoped that South Africans over the next few months and particularly over Anti-Racism Week, would support efforts, such as this one, aimed at eradicating racism from society.

The Racism Stops With Me campaign will be rolled out in Independent Media’s 20 newspaper titles and digital platforms, with the media group also encouraging debate and discussion on numerous public platforms and in schools and universities around the country.

For authoritative, ground-breaking campaign content vist the www.stopracism.iol.co.za website and join the conversation and share your stories using the hashtag #racismstopswithme.

11 Feb 2016 14:56

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