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The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is elated to announce the appointment of Chris Kabwato as our new executive director.
Kabwato’s appointment is with effect from 1 January 2017, replacing Professor Mathatha Tsedu who had generously extended his stay at SANEF as we embarked on the recruitment process.
With a career spanning more than 20 years, Kabwato brings on board a wealth of knowledge, experience and a burning passion for the protection of media freedom.
For many in the industry and beyond, his name is synonymous with Highway Africa at Rhodes University, where he oversaw programmes designed to equip Africa’s journalists with the latest technical skills and created an understanding of the role of the media in policy reform.
Chris joined Highway Africa in 2003 and as director oversaw the growth of its annual flagship conference, developing it into the largest gathering of African journalists and most visible online conference on the continent.
The long-standing and strong partnership between Highway Africa and SANEF will continue, with Kabwato continuing as organiser of the 2017 conference.
Previously, Kabwato was head of education and public affairs at the British Council in Harare from 1998 to 2000 before his appointment as director of the Southern Africa Communications for Development (SACOD).
“We are delighted to have Chris on board,” said SANEF chairperson Mahlatse Gallens.
“Over the past two decades he has honed his skills as a strategic planner and fundraiser. Most importantly for us at SANEF, his passion for media freedom and commitment to protecting the independence of the media while ensuring that quality journalism thrives will contribute immensely to strengthening SANEF and our democracy,” Gallens said.
“I am very honoured to be joining SANEF. I come in at a time when the South African media sector is facing a number of challenges including increasing threats to media freedom, precarious business models and increased improper managerial interference. I look forward to working with colleagues and various stakeholders as we attempt to address these pressing matters,” Kabwato said.
SANEF also extends its thanks to Tsedu, who has selflessly dedicated his time and energy to the organisation.
We are grateful that though he steps down as executive director, as a founding member of SANEF, Tsedu will remain active within the organisation, allowing us the opportunity to continuously tap into his wealth of knowledge and wisdom for guidance.

For inquiries:
Mahlatse Gallens, SANEF Chairperson – 083 399 2852
Chris Kabwato, SANEF Executive Director – 082 582 9534