As we wrap up and take stock of SACOMM 2019 at the University of Cape Town, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your engagements and collegiality – for what was truly an exciting and inspiring conference. We owe the occasion to showcase our research and to foster relationships and engagements to the local organising committee who, under the guidance of Prof Herman Wasserman, did a tremendous job with the conference this year.
We had close to 150 delegates, 36 sessions, two plenaries and three book launches. Our delegates, apart from representing a wide range of South African Universities, also hailed from Australia, Botswana, China, Germany, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, the United States of America and Zimbabwe.
The presentations were of great quality and depth and inspired debate and engagement. Our position as communication specialists came to the fore in new ways as most presenters answered to the conference theme inside|outside by looking at the inherent disparities of communicative processes, those that use or construct them, and are privy to them or not.
Amid the academic excitement, SACOMM also welcomed a new Executive Committee (ExCo) – as voted for by the AGM. I am proud to announce the ExCo to all who could not be present at the conference. The new Deputy President of SACOMM is Prof Tanja Bosch from the University of Cape Town. She is joined by our interest group convenors: Prof Zandi Carol Lesame for Media Studies and Journalism; Mr François Smit for Screen Studies; Prof Mehita Iqani for Corporate Communication; Dr Sandra Pitcher for Communication Studies; Dr Rofhiwa Mukhudwana for Communication Education and Curriculum Development; and Proffs Glenda Daniels and viola candice milton for Communications Advocacy and Activism. At their AGM, the Emerging Scholars stream also voted in Ms Sylvia Skhosana and Mr Collen Chambwera as their convenors.
As the hand-over begins, I would like to thank the previous interest group convenors who I had the privilege of working with for the past two or more years. Dr Mvuzo Ponono, Prof Lida Holtzhausen, Mrs Martine van der Walt Ehlers, Prof Bruce Mutsvairo; Ms Linah Nkuna, Mr Theo Ngcongo and Prof. PierPaolo Frassinelli leave big shoes to fill. We all owe a lot to our outgoing President, Prof Ylva Rodney Gumede who offered (and still offers) us an exemplar of service to the Association.
Lastly, at this conference we had the opportunity to celebrate a few noteworthy projects. Highlighting just three, I invite you to click here for more on the Journalist’s fifth birthday celebrations (a word from Ms Zubeida Jaffer); here for more on the SACOMM archive project (a word from Prof Keyan Tomaselli). Further to this, please click here for Prof Sean Jacobs’s keynote.
As Prof Rodney Gumede stated in her wrap up letter in 2018, “we have a responsibility here to continuously strive to add to the professional life of our academics, emerging as well as more established”. We have much to build on from this year’s conference and can look forward to the next year with optimism and excitement.
On behalf of the SACOMM Executive