4 Apr 2012

"A good news man in Africa," says Simon Kelner

Daraja's Kwanza Jamii newspaper was the focus of Simon Kelner's column in The Independent newspaper (in the UK) today. This follows his visit to Njombe in February, in his role as Chief Executive of The Journalism Foundation.

Cut through a wattle forest, the dirt track to Lupembe does not afford the visitor from Europe an easy ride. From the nearest main road, it's a three-hour, bone-jarring journey – "an African massage," my companion said – to the heart of Tanzania's tea-growing country, through countryside that is more reminiscent of northern Europe than of Africa. It was the tail-end of the rainy season, and the verdant, rolling hills spoke of Derbyshire or the Dordogne.
The inhabitants of Lupembe, however, are lucky. The newspaper Kwanza Jamii – the translation from Swahili means "Community First" – was established as part of a charitable organisation in 2010, and it has taken its vocation very seriously. Based in Njombe, the nearest big town, the newspaper has a mandate to serve the interests of its readers in a sizeable and remote catchment area – the paper circulates anywhere within 60 miles of its main office – and, for Lupembe, this has had very tangible benefits. 

You can read the full piece here on the Independent website.