The South African government has an agency called the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) which assists in developing community and small commercial media in the country.
The agency promotes and ensures that South African media is developed and diverse.
It targets historically disadvantaged communities, historically diminished language and cultural groups, and inadequately served communities.
One of the beneficiaries of the MDDA in print media is Ngoho Print and Digital News, which is published in 70% Tshivenda and 30% English.
The newspaper is available in print and online, and it is printed and distributed fortnightly across Vhembe District Municipality in the Limpopo Province. It has a print run of 10 000 copies per edition.
According to the founder and publishing editor of the newspaper, Phumudzo Percy Makharamedzha, the newspaper was established in 2011 in Thohoyandou and it is a small commercial media that is registered as a private company.
“The newspaper is distributed for free and it is the only Tshivenda newspaper in the country. People love the product,” he says.
Makharamedzha says the majority of residents in the district municipality greatly support the newspaper because Tshivenda is their home language.
“We started receiving support from the MDDA right from the start when we established the newspaper. We sent our business plan to the MDDA and applied for funding and our application was approved,” he says.
He encourages anyone who wants to start a publication to do research, to have passion and skills of how the newsroom environment works.
“For example, I have background in journalism because I previously worked as a journalist in mainstream media and as a communicator in government. That added to my advantage when I decided to venture into this business,” he says.
However, he says those who do not have journalism background but still want to pursue the business can consider getting trained on how to run a commercial media business.
Makharamedzha says he has worked with a number of graduates from various universities including the University of Venda to provide them with working experience and media training.
“They had theory from university, but after writing a number of stories they improved their writing skills. I also had one writer who only had a Grade 12 certificate, but because of his passion and willingness to learn from his colleagues he was also able to write well eventually,” says Makharamedzha.
At the moment, the newspaper has six staff members. You can visit the newspaper website: www.ngohomedia.co.za
For more information, you can visit www.mdda.org.za or call the MDDA on 011 643 1100 or email email@example.com