Goodbye, hello from amaBhungane
Stefaans Brümmer, Sam Sole
Today marks amaBhungane’s final publication as the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism.
After six years of blood, sweat and printers’ ink by the bucketful, we are relaunching to become a Southern African independent centre for investigative journalism.
Renamed amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, we shall distribute our stories more widely – through a selection of print and online titles, social media and our website, amaBhungane.co.za.
We shall follow readers to where they are in a rapidly changing media environment, attempting to match each story with the most appropriate publisher and audience.
Our little beetle, the dung-rolling bug named ibhungane in isiZulu – has undergone a makeover. But wherever you see it, it will remain a mark of public-interest investigative journalism practiced to the highest standards of accuracy and fairness.
Our centre’s mission is unchanged: to develop investigative journalism, to promote a free, worthy media and open, accountable, just democracy.
We shall keep doing so through the best practice of investigative journalism – the kind that advances methods and standards, exposes wrongdoing and holds power to account. We shall keep doing so through skills transfers to investigative journalists far and wide and by advocating for the information rights we all need to do our work.
We started our journey with the M&G on March 19 2010 with our first spread, “Zuma Incorporated”. The articles traced the Zuma family’s business interests – including with a little-known family named Gupta – opening a front in reporting that became an enduring feature of President Jacob Zuma’s scandal-plagued time in office.
Columnist Ivo Vegter wrote this week referring to that first spread; another last week detailing the Guptas’ parastatal connections; and presumably hundreds of stories in between: “The extent of the corruption in the Zuma administration, in which Cabinet appointments, public enterprises and government tenders are influenced by private interests, has been painstakingly documented by the M&G’s amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism.”
Well, “ M&G’s” we will be no more. But to the M&G, which helped form, found and fund us and with whose journalists we have shared the exhilarating rollercoaster ride that is reporting in this part of the world, our lasting gratitude.
When amaBhungane publishes in the M&G in future, as we trust we often shall, it will feel like home.
To our stakeholders – our talented, long-suffering staff; the network of amaB fellowship alumni and the investigative centres they have founded; the charitable foundations who believe in investigative journalism as a public good; all future publishing partners; and most of all, the public who we’ve subjected to so much necessary trauma – vuka, there’s work to be done!
The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) produced this story. All views are ours. See www.amabhungane.co.za for our stories, activities and funding sources.