New digital news site changes the game

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Ayanda Mdluli

As 2017 draws to a close, Kusema Media Group ended the year with a bang last night when it launched a new digital news platform that is set to throw the entire digital media landscape in South Africa into a tailspin.

Kenny Kunene and Guests at the Star-Studded event at the Hitlon Hotel In Sandton on Thursday Night.

The new website and application, www.africanews24-7.co.za was unveiled at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton on Thursday to South African media industry leaders, game changers and entrepreneurs.

Kenny Kunene and Guest on the Red Carpet at the star-studded event at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton on Thursday night.

The new current affairs platform is set to take the digital space by storm, providing hard news, business, politics, analysis, entertainment, lifestyle and sports news and features for its readers.

Over and above the current affairs from a written perspective, the digital offering is also home to some cutting edge audio visuals and video streaming in a time where people tend to consume news bite size chunks on various social media platforms.

In his address to attendees at the launch, South African businessman and executive chair of Kusema Media Group, Kenny Kunene commented:

“Newspapers have declined in our country. The latest figures show that this year alone, sales declined by 11.2%. In SA, we are looking at a lifespan of 20 years for newspapers…we are not going to follow the narrative of main stream media. We do not want to be infiltrated by people who are going to distract us. We also have plans to introduce a hard copy in 2018 as many people in rural areas do not own smart phones. We have also put together a team and have head hunted progressive, like minded journalists to be part of us.”

The editorial team consists of the following seasoned journalists who have decades of experience in mainstream media across a wide range of beats between them:

Ayanda Mdluli – Business, Finance and Economics

Karabo Ngoepe – Politics & Entertainment

Zodidi Mhlana – Education, Health and Social Justice

Clyde Ramalaine – Political analyst

Kunene says the new digital initiative consists of strategic partners from countries such as Singapore, United Kingdom and Russia. The platform can accommodate approximately 10 million users and will also consist of a live feed of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Index.

Guest speaker, Sunday Independent Editor Steven Motale was the master of ceremonies at the star-studded event at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton on Thursday night.

“We want to play with the big boys but we want to be bigger than them. When Donald Trump is giving a speech at the White House www.africanews24-7.co.za will bring it to you live as it happens. This is on the level of the New Your Times. It will never crash. The only other rival that this website has in this country is News24. We travelled extensively across the BRICS countries to develop this application and today it is here,” said Kunene.

Mzwanele Manyi, the owner of ANN7 and The New Age provided words of encouragement and support to the new project, highlighting that it sought to give an alternative view to issues that are usually suppressed by mainstream media.

Kenny Kunene and Mzwanele Manyi on the Red-Carpet at the star-studded event at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton on Thursday night

“We wish you well and we want to see this platform grow higher and higher. You are a visionary because online is the future. The new platform represents a voice that is not there,” he said.

Renowned scientist and academic, Professor Sipho Seepe said the new platform was indicative of the resilience of Kenny Kunene as a black businessman in South Africa. “We had to succeed despite the negative challenges of apartheid. Mr Kunene embodies the spirit of ‘never say die’ irrespective of whatever challenges are thrown his way.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the former COO of the SABC urged Kunene to collaborate with likeminded media institutions in order to provide a balanced narrative in our society. He encouraged Kunene to venture into other spaces such as broadcasting and print in order for black voices to be heard.

Kenny Kunene, Steve Motale and Hlaudi Motsoeneng on the Red Carpet at the star-studded event at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton on Thursday Night

“We need to believe in ourselves and believe that we can achieve whatever we want to achieve. It is a very important step for Mr Kunene to move into the media space and become a media owner. This is a very proud moment,” he said.