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Journalists are fast becoming scarce in eSwatini,it’s a media crisis.

Sunday, 5th March, 2023

Sihle Mavuso,the then Times of eSwatini's top investigative journalist once wrote a story that got Education Minister Constance Simelane,as she then was,hot under the collar.

The story was entitled “Minister is this a school?.

It was one of the best and well-written human interest investigative stories that inspired me to be a journalist.

Investigative journalist Sihle Mavuso who now works as the Spokesperson at Montigny Investments travelled to the rural areas and exposed the plight of children who were learning in a school with traditional huts as classrooms, other kids were learning under a tree.

After reading the story, Constance Simelane,the then Education Minister was so angry, she insulted the Times of Eswatini and the journalist and went on to claim that she could be a better journalist than Sihle Mavuso.

The truth is; she was speaking out of emotions after her dereliction of duties was exposed by the journalist through a well-investigated and written story.

After that story,Government took action to address the plight of the children who were learning in squalor.

Journalists are the voice of the voiceless and one scribe was able to change the lives the children.

But it’s not only Sihle Mavuso,there are other journalists who made an impact in this country and this include Bheki Makhubu,Akel Zwane,Makhosi Magongo,Charles Matsebula,Vusi Ginindza,Mashumi Tfwala,Thulani Tfwala,Martin Dlamini,Nimrod Mabuza,Mduduzi Magagula, Lucky Tsabedze and many other top scribes.

Of course,some of the above named journalists were subsequently captured and or silenced by the current political situation that remains hostile to free media.

Now,we have a few highly skilled journalists whose potential has been undermined by the state of political affairs in this country.

Some of these journalists include Musa Ndlangamandla,the former Swazi Observer Chief editor who now writes for the Nation Magazine, Welcome Dlamini and Mfankhona Nkambule who both write for the Times.

I may not agree with some of their stories that appeared to be bias and in favour of Mswati’s regime but I know their full potential.

If we were in a democratic country, the above named three(3)journalists would be producing articles that would influence the entire democratic discourse.

But media capture and the suppression of journalists in this country has made it difficult for the citizens to enjoy competitive journalism skills.

It’s very unfortunate that journalists are becoming scarce in this country hence media companies are now competing for the skills and experience of the few remaining ones.

Other journalists left the media industry to join corporate companies because of victimization,corrupt editors like Mbongeni Mbingo destroyed many young and highly skilled journalists.

I am struggling to include Mbingo in the list of great journalists because he contributed in destroying many journalists so that he can remain on top, unfortunately the love of money and women destroyed his reputation and subsequently blinded his objectivity.

My main worry as I am turning forty(40)this year is;there seems to be no skills transfer program within the eSwatini media where veteran journalists could train young scribes on journalism.

As the situation stands,we have less than five(5)experienced journalists in the print media and four(4)of them are above fifty(50)years.

What will happen if these journalists can decide to leave the media for greener pastures?

Obviously,we will have a new generation of scribes with no training or experience and this,might undermine the flow of accurate information.

Journalists are fast becoming scarce in eSwatini,it’s a media crisis.
Journalists at work.