Regional newsletter undergoes reconstruction

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Clemans Miyanicwe

KHORIXAS – The Savanna – a bi- monthly sub regional newsletter in Erongo region founded by Dirck Julius Kuzaitjike, is currently on hold for reconstruction. The newsletter was printed by the Kuzaitjike couple themselves in A4 booklet size and operated from their home, 678 Uibasen Street in Ozondje, Omaruru.

The Savanna was established last July as predecessor to the Marubian newspaper and it covers Omaruru, Karibib, Usakos and Daures areas in the northern part of Erongo region to fill the gap left by national newspapers, according to Kuzaitjike (36). 

Marubian was established on 11 April 2011 which circulated until June 2017 and it used to cover Omaruru only. “The Savanna newspaper is a sub-regional newspaper covering Omaruru, Karibib, Usakos and Daures basically covering the northern part of Erongo region,” Kuzaitjike told New Era recently.

The Savanna is preparing for a comeback after a couple of months on hold for reconstruction with the assistance of various mentors such as through the Obama Leaders Africa initiative, retired journalist Roger Olson from Vanersborg, Sweden and retired German businessman Gerhard Zeiler. Kuzaitjike, a self-taught reporter who also doubles as an editor says The Savanna is urgently looking for partners (shareholders) to get the newsletter back into circulation possibly by January next year. 

“We are planning to be back in mid January but it will depend if we get partners and investments on time as I cannot bring it back in the format it was before,” Kuzaitjike says.

“The paper is established to fill the gap left by national papers as they mostly covered corruption related issues leaving out a large amount of current developments and human interest issues. Issues covered in the paper range from governance, health, education, business, youth and cultural issues as and when they arise in the communities,” Kuzaitjike enthuses.
The Savanna which sold over 2 000 copies used to mostly depend on income from sales of hardcopy and softcopy versions of editions and advertisements.

Kuzaitjike said after changing from Marubian to The Savanna and after seven editions were printed it was realized to further develop the newsletter in colour and A3 format to reach the corporate sector. 

“Although the paper enjoys a vast readership both in the market area and outside, it experiences some cash flow challenges because the market is small and needs more regular ads from corporate businesses. This hindered its ability to attract and retain skilled staff and to reach events in every corner of the market area,” Kuzaitjike said. “This resulted in the paper being put on hold in March 2018 to redevelop the business model and since then I have been hunting for partners who would come in as shareholders to invest much needed funds and expertise,” Kuzaitjike told New Era.

The editor of The Savanna says that many learned journalists don’t like to work in rural settings like Omaruru thus he depends on freelancers. “Currently I am only working with my wife (Ingrid) to get things back on track,” says Kuzaitjike, whose dream is to cover rural areas.

Kuzaitjike, who has no formal training in journalism or marketing is self taught through Adobe Cloud products and other online tutorials. Short courses and mentorship from various online sources have been a backbone for capacity building for the rural newsletter.