The South African media has been urged to play a critical role in fostering a change of mentality in society and encouraging people to take values-based actions ‘for good' in the view of creating an almost-perfect country where all communities would want to live in. “The role of the media is crucial in advancing society and influencing individuals to become active citizens,” government spokesperson Themba Maseko said.
Maseko was speaking at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg yesterday, Thursday 24 April 2008, during the launch of Movement for Good - It Starts with You, an umbrella body of various organisations aiming at inspiring every person to act responsibly and use their positive energy to bring significant change in one way or another.
“An active citizen is someone who talks SA up, votes, doesn't bribe, or do crime, initiates or participates in community projects, does their bit to save energy and treats others with tolerance, dignity and respect.”
Rugby hero Bryan Habana is the spokesperson for Movement for Good, which is the initiative of Heartlines, SABC, City Press
, GCIS, SA Tourism, International Marketing Council of SA (IMC), SA the Good News, Valued Citizens Initiative and various government departments.
“Let's put our differences aside”
“Let's put our differences aside and reach out to all the people out there who really need help, thus ensuring that we move forward armed with a spirit of partnership to help us address our serious challenges,” SABC Kaizer Kganyago told delegates.
Kganyago insisted that media, especially radio, must be actively involved in this project if the Movement for Good has to go so much further. He called on other media organisations to come forward and support the project.
The Movement for Good will mostly relies on the Social Networking Platform, a Heartlines initiative that uses communication technology to bring people across the country together.
“We will send out weekly SMSes and emails providing inspiring and practical information on taking action - for individuals, families and community groups,” Heartlines executive director Garth Japhet said.
In order to receive information most relevant to them, members will clarify their specific areas of interest and will provide basic information, Japhet added.
But many observers are worried that such an inspirational project might not last longer and run out of steam perhaps due to lack of funding.
However, IMC outgoing boss Yvonne Johnstone quickly brushed aside these assumptions, saying that the movement needs no independent funding as each member organisation is doing its own thing and running its own ‘for good' campaign.
“The Movement for Good is only an interactive umbrella body where all organisations promoting nation-building can find ways and share ideas that can move them forward in achieving their common goals,” Johnstone, who is leaving IMC at the end of this month, explained.
Khatu Mamaila, editor of City Press
, the only newspaper that has so far supported the project, said that people should not use poverty as an excuse to become active citizens and do something good albeit little, which can make a huge difference.
SA the Good News' Steuart Pennington said: “The Movement for Good is part of our healing as a nation, understanding our progress is important and it starts with you.”
Send an SMS to 32197 to become a member, or visit www.itstartswithyou.co.za
to find out how organisations can join the Movement for Good. The website also contains links for individuals to support the campaign of member organisations or join the social networking platform.