The African Centre for the Study of the US at the University of the Witwatersrand University is convening a two-day exploratory forum on 26-27 May 2021 to build a body of knowledge on Africa-US journalism and media relations.

Conceived as an open forum, the event is envisaged to feature speakers and participants from Africa and the US to network and get to share knowledge and information on the Africa-US media landscape, said the centre research and partnership co-ordinator, Dr Bob Wekesa.

Africa and the United States (US) have long and continuing engagements in the journalism, media, and communications fields, he said.

According to Dr Wekesa, these engagements have included the training of African journalists in American universities and organisations, the presence of traditional and digital American media organizations in Africa, provision of funding by American organizations for journalism and media projects in Africa, scholarship around issues such as American media representation of Africa, among others.

“In the recent past, the engagements have broadened to include discussions and debates on the implications of media from new global powers such as China and Russia for Africa-US relations. Yet, even as the engagements have continued and multiplied, a gap exists with regards to comprehensive understanding of Africa-US journalism and media dynamics. There seems to be no dedicated effort directed at furnishing a wholesome picture of Africa-US journalism and media landscape,” argued Dr Wekesa.

The event has the following objectives:

  • Serve as a virtual networking forum bringing together professionals, practitioners and academics with a mutual interest in Africa-US journalism and media engagements.
  • Provide knowledge and information on past, current and potential areas of partnership.
  • Explore means and ways of strengthening teaching and research.

The forum is divided into a networking forum on day one (May 26th) and an academic forum on day two (May 27th).  The key issues of discussion during the networking forum are:

  • What are the past and current Africa-US journalism and media projects?
  • Who is partnering with whom?
  • What are the current thematic changes and shifts in the engagements?
  • What is the level of involvement of governments in the engagements?
  • What are some of the initiatives with specific regards to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The academic forum (May 27th) will discuss the following issues:

  • What are some of the scholarly projects in the Africa-US journalism and media sphere?
  • How applicable are journalism and media theories and concepts to Africa-US journalism and media engagements?
  • What are some are some of the gaps in Africa-US journalism and media scholarship?
  • Which opportunities for research does the CVID-19 pandemic portend?

Expression of interest to participate

Organisations and individuals interested in making presentations during this event are encouraged to express interest on or before Tuesday, 18 May 2021. The expression of interest should have the following details:

  • Whether the presentation will be for the forum or the academic conference.
  • Topic/title of presentation and a short summary of no more than 250 words.
  • A short bio of no more than 120 words and a headshot (picture).

The expressions of interest or any enquiries should be addressed to Nono Ndlovu on