This year is the 50th anniversary of  Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies. To mark 2022 as a historic moment, JMS staff have put in place a range of activities that enable us to revisit the School’s history, to think about what kind of institution we have become, and to imagine what the next fifty years of our existence might entail. The objective is not simply to celebrate (or critique) the past. Rather, the broader purpose is to recognise that this moment offers us an opportunity to envision how we might remain relevant to our rapidly changing social, cultural and political environment while we respond to the techno-social revolutions taking place in the media landscape.

We have envisaged this programme as a way to reflect on the social and media histories that have shaped us and our approaches to journalism and media education, research and production. It is also an opportunity to imagine possible futures for our School and the ways in which our work might contribute to these. In thinking about these objectives we have taken into consideration  the  relationships that we have had – and wish to reignite and develop – with our communities and partners. In particular, recognising the role they have played in the School’s development over the years, we wish to strengthen our ties with partners and communities in Makhanda and the Eastern Cape more broadly, with the aim of benefiting them in some way.




Dr Noxolo Grootboom

On the night of Tuesday 30 March 2021, after 37 years of working for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, news anchor Noxolo Grootboom said goodbye to her viewers after she had read her last TV news bulletin on SABC1 at 7pm in isiXhosa.....

Mr. Ernest Cole

Ernest Cole’s House of Bondage was the first book of photographs published by a black South African photographer. After repeated harassment and interrogation by the police for photographing pass arrests, Cole orchestrated his own racial reclassification – including a name change “Kole'' to “Cole” ...

Mr. John Tengu Jabavu

Born in 1859 in Tyotyora outside of Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape, John Tengu Jabavu is one of the provinces’ intellectual giants [1]. As African intellectual, teacher, journalist, editor, and media owner, JT Jabavu paved the way for media and educational scholars to follow....

Dr. Phyllis Ntantala-Jordan

Phyllis Ntantala-Jordan, a prolific author, educator feminist, activist and public intellectual, is honoured for her contribution as a public intellectual in South Africa. Born in Gqubeni in the Eastern Cape in 1920, Ntantala-Jordan started her educational journey at four years old...

Mr. Donald Woods

Donald Woods is honoured for his contribution as a journalist, editor, anti-apartheid activist, and Black Consciousness advocate. Born in the Transkei in the Eastern Cape in 1933, fluent in English and isiXhosa, Woods experienced apartheid from a particular vantage point...


The JMS Mural

The proposed JMS mural is the result of a process of consultation and collaboration amongst members of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, starting in 2021 as we planned the 2022 programme. The idea emerged in discussions about possible activities that would result in a durable and visible commemoration of our anniversary that would contribute to the wider community in some way. To this end, tasked by the School, a team was put together consisting of Priscilla Boshoff (team leader), Taryn Isaacs de Vega (specialising in media histories), Alette Schoon (whose documentary “Intellectual Giants of the Eastern Cape” provides valuable source material about black intellectuals and early print media in the Eastern Cape), Harold Gess (South African photography history), Gill Rennie (South African writing) and Michael Irwin (director of AMM facilities).