Activist and author Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh has launched an innovative WhatsApp channel, in part to change the narrative in the coverage of the elections and shift it towards the youth.
The Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh Xperience brings the youth into the political space, tackling issues such as land reform, racism and unemployment.
The channel, which has already received 5 000 subscribers in the first two days of its existence, is his one-way conversation with the WhatsApp community, he said.
“IT’S OFFICIAL: I’m launching SA’s 1st WhatsApp news channel for the 2019 election! And no, it’s not a WhatsApp group. ?? Welcome to The Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh Xperience,” the text of his tweet reads.
IT’S OFFICIAL: I’m launching SA’s 1st WhatsApp news channel for the 2019 election! And no, it’s not a WhatsApp group. 🤣
Welcome to The Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh Xperience.
— Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh (@SizweMpofuWalsh) March 10, 2019
In the channel, Mpofu-Walsh will offer subscribers opinions, analyses and interviews about the election from a youth perspective.
“The idea is that social media is cool but its saturated. It’s a very elite audience but WhatsApp is big with young people. When you harness that technology, you have a more widespread conversation about the election that centres around young people.”
Mpofu-Walsh added the channel was based on his views on the election which he hopes will inspire other young people to build their platforms and start new conversations.
“I’m not prophesying to be some objective observer. What I am prophesying to be, is something that is youth owned, youth built, youth run. I have my own views. I’m pro land reform, I’m deeply opposed to racism and gender discrimination. I’m going to be putting all this on the table. In a country with youth unemployment at record levels in the world. I am very keen to expose the economic inequalities. To do so in a way that is aesthetically appealing to the youth market.”
For lighter content, the channel will also feature music and interviews with celebrities, such as comedian Nina Hastie.
“It’s got to look good while containing a progressive message.”
Asked if the channel was affiliated to the EFF, a party chaired by his father Dali Mpofu, SC, he said: “I’m not a member of the EFF. I’m not going to apologise when my views coincide with the EFF, or with the ANC. It’s not funded by the EFF. It’s my platform. I have my own views.”
Mpofu-Walsh is the recipient of the City Press Tafelberg award for promising non-fiction, for his book Democracy and Delusion: 10 Myths in South African Politics.
He was part of a student movement advocating for fee-free higher education. Mpofu-Walsh holds an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford.