By Galoome Shopane

Coffee Colour Communications have set up a project called Ikemele- Rise Up and Show Up for Yourself, from Thaba Nchu in the Free State province of South Africa. The goal is to report on issues, faced especially by rural communities, using solutions based journalism with a high incorporation of visual storytelling, community engagement and initiative. Galoome Shopane, a journalist by profession shares her reflections on the first month on the jamlab accelerator programme and what she hopes to achieve.

Looking back and where I am now in terms of confidence, growth, business acumen and the desire to make it, it is really surreal to think that I started on this journey of refinement and carving myself and this idea just less than a month ago. I came onto the jamlab accelerator programme with a passion-filled spirit and an “ideal” idea (well atleast according to me). But now I have made so many strides in making it practical and feasible it’s pride-inducing. I have been challenged by others and myself that this idea is bigger than I think it actually is. That it can go further than just my community and the community on the World Wide Web. I’ve taken and owned this and I’m running with it.

I won’t lie, travelling from the Free State province every week is extremely physically, financially and to some extent mentally taxing. But I chose to come here (to Johannesburg) every week because the environment feeds me in so many ways. Being surrounded by people who are driven, confident and pushing their dreams is exciting and motivating. To be part of such an environment, I have no choice but to follow suit and face my challenges or obstacles head on.

To learn from others who are ahead or even on the same level as me, has been motivating, inspiring and healing to say the least. I have found myself in a safe place to learn and build on my confidence as an entrepreneur in the media and digital space. The feedback and ‘concerns’ I have received from my fellow cohort members has been amazing — pushing me into a place where I get to rethink and re-strategise my model and project and to question and seek the answers that will work for my organisation and project.

As a rural community media company, focused on including rural people in the media and portraying them in a dignified and honest manner, for the consumption of rural communities and the global markets has it’s challenges that I’m learning to address through every lesson and consultation.

I’ve really gained unquantifiable knowledge to run with my idea and make a success of it as I continue to learn and are open to absorbing all the information and lessons that I stand to further gain.

I love how the weekly check-ins and activities push me into accountability and action. And for that I am looking forward to more challenges and lessons for the implementation, success and growth of my idea.

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