The challenges of having a front row seat to diverse communities’ stories

Busi Vilakazi

By Busi Vilakazi

In my line of work, you get to wear many hats and it can be challenging.

Often I play the role of advisor, friend, peacemaker and more.

I’m not complaining.

I strive to speak for those without a voice.

I work with diverse communities and people with different backgrounds – and all residents need to be treated uniquely.

What I cannot understand is the lack of understanding we have for each other.

I’m obviously a great supporter of freedom of speech but I also believe that expressing your opinion must be accompanied by a sense of understanding for others.

As a journalist, I have met different types of people and have taken something from each and every one of them.

My day can start with a simple meeting with a resident about service delivery issues, to intense marches about service delivery, to a mother pleading for help because she cannot afford to provide for her ill child.

As journalists, we always provide a listening ear to each and every person as it is important to that person.

No person’s story is more important than the next person.

Many people don’t understand that every story I write, actually affects me directly.

I deal with the issue and talk to the persons involved. I get an insight into their pain or joy.

We are the voice for the voiceless in the areas covered by Joburg East Express and our purpose is to serve in telling stories in the community whether good or bad.

When reading a story about a person residing in these areas, take the time to put yourself in that person’s shoes.

Remember, we don’t just write about a certain area or group of people.

We write about buzzing Malvern, classy historical Kensington, tricky Bertrams, the hidden treasures of Observatory, the multi-cultural Yeoville, the forgotten Troyville and diverse Bez Valley.

All these areas have different stories to tell.

As a journalist, I have learned that in life different types of music appeal to different people and I have the privilege of being the audience to each and every song.

  AUTHOR
Busi Vilakazi

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