Sometimes, when people think of the Press Corps, they think that only those who love writing and experienced photographers can enjoy being in this committee. However, that is not always the case, especially this year. To conclude “Press…What?” series, we spoke with Nduta Mwangi, the Director of Finance for ALAMAU 2019 who also worked with Press Corps this year. We wanted to share her perspective of working in the Press Corps whilst being affiliated with Finance.
What made you join the Press Corps Team? Dealing with Finances requires minimal interaction with people. I mostly sit behind a computer punching in numbers. However, when Mr Faith requested for me assist with Press Conferences in the Press Corps team, I was eager to join as I would have the opportunity to connect with more people and perhaps really see what goes on in their publications.
What have you enjoyed about Press Corps?
Getting to know delegates whilst assisting them with their writing. I loved seeing them break out of their shells not only in their writing but with one another. I also got to understand the Press Corps, the process of publishing newspapers, interviewing and creating riveting articles that people would love to read.
What is one misconception about Press Corps that you would like to dispell?
That Press Corps is boring and that it is not a real committee. While I do agree that Press Corps is different than the committees, it has equally more demanding. Also, there is so much you can learn from Press Corps. You just have to be willing to learn, be active and put your best foot forward.
There you have it. Whilst Press Corps does require reasonable experience with press skills (writing, interviews and video capturing) it is majorly held by attitude. If you seek to learn and make the best of your experience, you will learn how just as much as you would in a normal committee.
By Katai Mutale, Director of Press Corps ALAMAU 2019.
A common image associated with ALAMAU is committee sessions, placards, cool suits and big words (like moderated caucuses). However, there is a lot more that goes on behind-the-scenes, especially in our department. The Press Corps team documents conference experiences and presents them to you, our audience, mainly through the newspaper and blog. These are our main publications but we also do press conferences after committee sessions. In this edition of “Press…What?” series, we will be exploring what a typical ALAMAU Press Conference looks like, through the lens of the Press Corps.
Press Conferences are formal events where all delegates share the progress in their individual committee sessions. Running for 30 minutes in the afternoon, our team gears up 10 minutes in advance with pens, papers, questions and of course, the famous reflector jackets.
Heading in the press room, you can have a lot expectations: delegates will be on time, they will have sound knowledge about in their topic and you will not forget to mention your news agency as you speak. Of course, not all of these will happen, but you must be geared to for the unexpected and be versatile.
When entering in the press room, you have a few minutes to set up and tick the following off your mental checklist:
1) Be attentive. Due to limited time, most delegates will speak so fast and you may not fully understand what they are saying. But write down what you do understand and then ask what you do not understand.
2) Ask as much questions as possible, but be reasonable whilst doing it. Imagine there is a massive audience behind you and they want to fully understand what the delegates just said. Your questions will help frame their understanding in a right way. Be sure to ask meaningful questions that add to the information gap. Do not ask questions that have a obvious answer but one that “improves upon the silence” (Shirdi Sai Baba).
3) Don’t forget where you are from. Remember, you are representing a news agency. Always begin your question by stating where you are reporting from. A cool format you could use is “My name is xxxx reporting from The Guardian” or “Excuse me madam, Al Jazeera would like to know.”
The ALAMAU Press Conference may not be a real one but but it equips you with real, relevant skills. You learn to listen intently, to ask questions and of course, public speaking.
Convinced to apply to the Press Corps committee yet? If not, don’t worry. Our next few posts will probably convince you! Stay tuned!
By Katai Mutale, Director of Press Corps, ALAMAU 2019
Roaming the corridors of the Indaba hotel are young men and women capturing history in the making. What are they capturing you may ask? They are capturing the delegates in their various committees, helping to solve African problems and developing their critical thinking skills.
We like to think of ourselves as journalist and photographers, helping the outside world understand what really goes on behind the highly acclaimed ALAMAU conference. We cement the ideas, events and activities that make ALAMAU the experience we hold close to our hearts.
One of the Press Corps delegates this year, Lin-Fang Wang, a journalist representing Al Jazeera, expresses that, “I anticipated that being in Press Corp would be chaotic, but with good planning however, it is possible to get an idea and finalize it within the deadline”. This process is facilitated by the wonderful Press Corps facilitators.
Personally, I believe that being a member of the Press Corps team is an experience which offers a lot. Although you might not get the engagement or interaction as the other delegates, you would be on track to meeting and working with amazing people, passionate about what they do and are willing to go through the process together. I was able to refine my photography skills as well as write many essays and editorials without missing out on the fun and action the conference offers.
Finally I would like to commend the work of the people in reflector jackets. You are the real MVP’s.
Imagine black: a dark void swallowing everything in sight. Now imagine white: a blend of the purest rays blinding everything from sight. Now, think of colours dancing around you, forming constellations full of magnificent patterns. Beautiful right? This proves the popular quote that says: “The earth without art is literally just…eh”.
On the 20th of March, different African prints were seen during the ALAMAU opening ceremony. The delegates of the different countries, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Senegal, Uganda, Nigeria and many more all had one thing in common: we all dressed to impress.
The colours we wear represent who we are. Africans generally love colours, we see them as a way of life. The opening ceremony presented a wild array of colours wrapping the room in a warm blanket with different shades of rich thread. We saw Gambians, Togolese, Ivorians showing us how rich their culture is, presenting themselves in vibrant prints made of different materials. Nigerians with different coloured laces and wildly styled ankara clothing parading with the pride of their nation.
Africans are complex in the most beautiful ways. Our culture and heritage are interwoven in the threads of what we wear. Have you seen a Yoruba woman attending a party? Or a Zulu woman getting married? The amount of colours in what they wear is what makes them stand out.
The truth is, we might be different, we may have different ethnics, and beliefs, but our culture of beauty runs long from our ancestors. Our fabrics tell a story, listen well and you might hear the slight whisper of the silky fabrics, saying, “Our unity is in our colours”.
By Notoma-Jefia Oghenefejiro, The East African Correspondent
The 20th of March had finally come: the beginning of ALAMAU 2019. At about 5.30 pm, approximately 253 delegates from over 10 countries around the world gathered at Indaba Hotel to not only celebrate the diversity of Africa, but also enumerate the problems plaguing the continent and proffer solutions.
The opening ceremony of the conference was graced by Ms. Lindiwe Mazibuko, the first South African woman to be elected as leader of opposition in the South African Parliament. She emphasized the need for new and old political groups to unite and forge ahead for a better Africa. She stressed on the importance of the emergence of a young generation of leaders on the African continent.
In another address, Dean Uzo Agyare-Kumi from the African Leadership Academy warmly welcomed everyone and commended the ALAMAU student committee for doing a brilliant job of organizing the conference. However, a key highlight was the parade of nations. From the breathtaking aura surrounding the different African attire by different delegations, to the exotic array of dance moves, the atmosphere of the evening was overwhelmingly ecstatic. What was most salient, however, was the diversity in the room. It gave us a glimpse of how diverse the ideas that would flow from conference would be. Moreover, it also showed a sense of unity and togetherness.
An interview with some of the delegates proved to show the excitement. Most of them applauded the organisers for their good work. For instance, Fayo, a delegate from Nigeria, echoed her compliments stating: “I’ve only been here for 15 hours but I’m looking forward to more because the few people I have met have already made the conference a very appreciable experience for me! Imagine meeting more people!”
With that note of colour and excitement, the conference commenced. We are definitely looking forward for the committee sessions, the backbone of ALAMAU.
With two weeks away from the 6th Annual ALAMAU conference, many of our preparations are coming to a close and we await to see how nearly 10 months of research and work unfolds. However, we are not the only ones eagerly anticipating this display: our delegates are. And in this special blog post, we will be sharing their perspectives.
Meet Melvin Malopa Yusuf Kuteesa and Nishant Mamtora, three delegates participating in ALAMAU 2019 Conference. We contacted them a few days ago to find out information about them and what exactly ALAMAU means to them.
Introduce yourself to us, what you are passionate about and which committee will you be in?
My name is Yusuf Kuteesa, I am seventeen years old and I am Ugandan. One thing I have realized in my life is the need for a mentality shift towards focusing on the future and making the most out of the present. This explains why I am very passionate about becoming a futuristically-focused leader within my country. The youth are the people of tomorrow and a firm foundation must be set to raise them to be the spectacular leaders who will create a cycle of positive change in our country and continent.
So many young people are ignored in my country and I believe that this is wrong. It is for this reason that I aim to trail-blaze the path by becoming a young leader who empowers my fellow youth to have a say in our country’s development and decision-making. During ALAMAU 2019, I will be participating in the Executive Council.
I chose ALAMAU because there is virtually so much to gain at this conference. The thought a diverse collection of students from across Africa and politicians of today interacting and sharing unique perspectives is simply mind-boggling. With such an opportunity, I aspire to learn from these conversations to enhance my leadership skills for the future that I am entering. Aside from that, I also looked forward to exploring a country other than my own.
What is one thing you hope to learn from the conference?
I hope to learn how to enhance my problem-solving skills. Everyone thinks differently and we never stop learning and solving issues. Hearing diverse perspectives on the problems we face and observing how to create concrete solutions will contribute to my knowledge in effective problem-solving.
Please tell us: who is Melvin Malopa and which committee you will be in for the ALAMAU 2019 conference?
Hello all. I am a Melvin Malopa, I am seventeen years old and I am from Malawi. This year’s conference will mark my second time attending ALAMAU. I first attended two years ago, when I was 14. This year, I will be participating in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Committee.
What would you like to change/introduce/improve in the African continent and will your committee help you achieve this dream?
I would like to change the mindset that many African leaders have on short-term policies that only benefit the population during their time in power. If Africa is to develop and have a positive future, this mindset has to change. I believe that my committee could help me achieve this dream as we will be discussing solutions that can exhibit long-term benefits for all African nations. I also hope to see an Africa dependent on Africans. I believe that our countries are too dependent on foreign nations for things such as trade and finance, which do not enable us to be self-sufficient. My committee also covers this topic, as it looks into the economic advancement of the continent as a whole. I believe that from our fruitful discussions, I will gain some knowledge on how to make this dream a tangible reality.
What is one thing you are looking forward to at ALAMAU 2019?
Meeting new people, making new friends and discussing Africa’s current problems and possible solutions with people my age. It will be exciting to see things from a continental perspective as opposed to a Malawian opinion.
Do introduce yourself, where you are from and which committee you will be in during ALAMAU 2019?
I am Nishant Mamtora and I am originally from the UK. However, I have been living in Malawi for over 15 years and call it my home. I will be representing Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the Executive Council Committee.
2. We understand that you are passionate about Pan-Africanism. What role does/can Pan-Africanism play in your committee?
Pan-Africanism is one of Africa’s main ideologies that means a lot to me. The idea that African people can unite and strengthen one another at a continental level is really a beautiful concept. I think that Pan-Africanism helps my topic, Strengthening Human Development through Improved Management of Natural Resources, envision an Africa that trades their technology among one another, reducing the factors of production and increasing economic growth. When that vision is set in place, it is easier to formulate solutions that align to make this a reality.
3. What skill do you hope to develop at ALAMAU that will help you in the future?
I hope to develop my communication and sociable skills.
And there you have it! Our delegates do seem passionate and geared to engage in helpful conversation about solutions to real issues affecting our continent.
If you are a hearing about ALAMAU for the first time or you are anticipating this year’s conference, stay glued to our social media pages (listed below) and this awesome blog page for more updates on what is new and happening. Also, feel free to scroll through our other interesting articles for a glimpse from engaging perspectives from this beautiful continent of ours! We personally recommend Samantha Nyakundi’s Women, Sports and Development and Laila Bera’s Delegate Preparation Guide.
Have a lovely week ahead!
The Press Corps Team.
Edited and Compiled by Katai Mutale, Director of Press Corps, ALAMAU 2019
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