Highway Africa (HA), the continent’s largest gathering of African journalists and media practitioners, is gearing up for the 23rd edition in June 2021 under the theme, The Promises and Perils of Platformisation for Africa.

In June this year, editors, journalists, academics, civil society activists, and local government practitioners will meet online to explore the impacts of platformisation on Africa’s news media, business models and journalism practices. They will seek practical solutions to the challenges posed by the platforms and ways to exploit emerging opportunities.

Professor Anthea Garman, chair of the HA steering committee and Head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, said: “We learnt last year that online can bring us together across a continent and from all over the world in simple ways to think about our future together and to focus on the important issues facing our industry. We’re making an early decision, given the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, to do a virtual Highway Africa. The conference you’ve come to know and love with its fascinating keynotes, interesting panels, useful workshops and wonderful networking opportunities will be back!”

In building up to the 2021 conference, HA, with the support of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, staged a series of webinars entitled, Our Futures, Our New Normals. These webinars covered a range of issues affecting African media and journalism during the era of Covid-19 (http://highwayafrica.ru.ac.za/).

By taking the 2021 Highway Africa conference online, the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University aims to keep the Highway Africa conference at the centre of Africa’s debates on journalism, media, and information and communication technologies.