* Over four years ago the Department of Communications (DoC) recognised the pressing need to actively address the pervasive digital divide by establishing the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (Nemisa). Spearheaded by well-known socio-economic activist, Thandi Bengu-Towo, the organisation’s mandate is to contribute and assist in bridging the divide with particular emphasis on the greater broadcasting and multimedia industry. Through its investment of R35 million in infrastructure and expertise the DoC, through Nemisa, is providing highly advanced training to previously disadvantaged communities.

One of the key objectives of the parastatal is to promote and provide high-quality, relevant African content. Bengu-Towo believes that this is the first step towards firmly entrenching the importance and relevancy of Africa on a global scale. Quality local content has long been a bugbear of the African broadcasting sector and Nemisa aims to be at the forefront of determining and pre-empting African broadcasting industry needs through a process of research and development, while fostering smart partnerships with industry players. It hopes to become a critical player in broadcast and multimedia training, initially within South Africa and then extending to the rest of the African continent.

* Zambian President Mwanawasa last week inaugurated the Zamtel global system mobile phone (GSM) link in Chipata with a call to the firm to effect a flexible, affordable pre-paid pricing system. The President also called on Zamtel workers who will be operating the expensive equipment to maintain and safeguard it from vandalism. He said he was happy that the commissioning of the system would enhance regional co-operation between Mozambique and Malawi as subscribers would no longer need to go through their capital cities.

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