Digital Tools & Tactics: Activist training for aspiring media officers

Digital activism has become vital to the work of social change. The digital era has meant online organising, mobilising and campaigning is now a daily part of activists’ toolkits. Skilled media officers with political insight and a social conscience are thus crucial to the healthy functioning and effectiveness of today’s social movements and organisations. 

However, there is a notable scarcity of those with both technical skills and a progressive political orientation. This is perhaps because the digital space is also a terrain of struggle: access to data and equipment advantages the privileged, technical skills training is costly – and usually positions learners towards marketing companies and the private sector. There is a need to redistribute access to digital skills and build political consciousness. Consciousness of how technology can be used to expand freedoms and fight back against an increasingly inaccessible, unequal and unjust digital society. 

This program is the pilot project that aims to develop a committed, skilled and socially conscious layer of digital activists who can support their movements and organisations with basic media skills. 

What the program will cover:

Photography and image editing

Videography and short-video production

Social media management, campaigning and analytics

Designing visual materials such as posters

Media Writing 101

Managing and moderating digital forums (such as WhatsApp groups)

Traditional media communications

Managing WordPress websites and Mailchimp

When will it take place and what are the commitments?

A full day workshop will take place once a month from June until November on a Saturday at Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education in Mowbray, Cape Town. An additional 3 hours between workshops needs to be left available for personal tutoring and skills practice at Tshisimani. One assignment between each workshop needs to be submitted before attending the next workshop.

Full-day workshop dates:

Saturday 3 July
Saturday 17 July
Saturday 14 August
Saturday 11 September
Saturday 18 September
Saturday 16 October
Saturday 30 October
Saturday 13 November

What are the requirements to apply for the program?

  • You need to be based in Cape Town
  • This program is an introductory offering for aspiring media officers to learn the basics. It is not for those who already have experience or training in media and digital work. 
  • Only activists involved in social movements, social justice organizations and community movements may apply.
  • You must be able to commit to ALL full-day workshops and a tutoring session once a month from the first workshop until the final one in November. 
  • You need an email address and access to a smartphone for communication, photography and videography. All other resources will be made available for training and assignments.

How to apply

An applicant must send a letter of motivation AND in a letter of recommendation.  

The letter of motivation must be written by the applicant and needs to: 
1) Explain why they are interested in the course

2) Say why they feel the skills are important for their organisation/movement

3) Details how they intend to use the skills training within their movement/organization 

Thletter of recommendation must be written by the media official or leadership structure of the applicant’s organisation/movement. The letter of recommendation for the applicant must include:

  • The applicant’s full name
  • The applicant’s email address and cellphone number
  • The name of movement or organization the applicant is part of
  •  The leadership or media official’s name(s), contact details 
  • The reasons for the official or movement recommending the applicant
  • The formal commitment from the movement/organization that the applicant will be available and set aside time for all workshop dates listed and a 3-hour tutoring session at Tshisimani once a month

This letter of recommendation AND letter of motivation must both be emailed to by Tuesday 29 June, keeping in mind that they will need to be available for the first workshop on that Saturday morning, the 3rd of July. 

There are a limited number of spaces available for this pilot program, no applications will be accepted if they are late or do not strictly meet the application requirements.

Please email for any questions of clarity for applying.