International networking opportunities for two SU journalism students

Two journalism honours students from Stellenbosch University have secured positions within the Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Africa Correspondents Corps, led by Howard University’s Centre for African Studies.

Aurelia Mouton and classmate Nkululeko Ndlovu are among three South Africans included in this year’s cohort of 15 students, and Mouton has been named as the corps’ vice-president for 2024. The other participating students are from American institutions – Howard University, Pennsylvania State University and Tufts University.

Mouton, the former editor-in-chief of student newspaper Die Matie says she heard about the programme last year when its coordinator, Michael Walsh, asked if she would be interested in joining. “I jumped at the opportunity as it aligns with my career goals. As I want to specifically go into foreign correspondence, I hope to establish a network of contacts of African journalists and editors with whom I can build a relationship to report on African affairs from and to South Africa.”

Mouton explains that the programme, which involves a monthly module where students engage with guest speakers and skills-building exercises, serves as a “point of connection between young journalists and people in the industry who can mentor and help build their network”. The course also has a practical component as students are expected to pitch and publish on international affairs. Students have one-on-one mentoring to ensure that they succeed. “The aim is to have a portfolio that relates to our individual career goals and that can be sent to media outlets by the end of the programme,” says Mouton.


Ndlovu, who with Mouton is involved in the journalism department’s news platform, Stellenbosch Media Forum (SMF), has his sights set establishing his own media house with a focus on grassroots journalism. “I want to do journalism that speaks from the perspectives of Africans. I want to travel and cover conflict.” He reveals that he found out about the programme from Mouton, who is his “desk buddy” in class.

“I felt compelled to participate because of the networking opportunities. The programme is rooted in foreign policy and foreign correspondence, and so it connects you with students from all over Africa and America,” explains Ndlovu. Mouton agrees that the course is invaluable when it comes to establishing networks, saying, “I don’t believe I would have access to the kind of contacts I will make in this programme at this stage of my career anywhere else.”

Says Prof Herman Wasserman, chair of SU’s Department of Journalism: “While it is already an honour for us to have two of our postgraduate journalism students – Aurelia and Nkululeko – selected to join the programme, Aurelia’s selection into this role (as vice-president) speaks to the quality of young trainee journalists in South Africa. As former editor of the student publication, Die Matie, Aurelia is a skilled leader; and her selection as vice-president will give her the unique opportunity to engage with counterparts internationally.”