by Good Work Foundation
on December 14, 2015
3 min read

Accolade Ubisi is a young woman from a village near some of the most popular safari destinations in the world-famous Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve.

Both of Accolade’s parents work at Londolozi Private Game Reserve, her father as a butler and her mother as a housekeeper. As you might imagine, many people from this area of South Africa work in either government services or hospitality, but Accolade, now 24-years-old, had different dreams from a young age.

These were “connected” dreams. 21st-century dreams. Dreams that involved media, photography and online writing. Despite language barriers, learning difficulties and fears about a different future, Accolade pursued her love of media and, today, from very close to her village, Accolade is living her dream.

“As a member of the ‘digital village’ my career choices are more than the traditional nurse, social worker or municipality worker,” remarks Accolade. “Yes, the view from my office is of rural Africa rather than a cityscape, but with email, Skype and social media, I share ideas with partners from all over the world.”

One of those partners is Rhino Africa. You see, Accolade is the coordinator of a boutique rural media agency that has blossomed under the experience and leadership of one of our nonprofit partners, the Good Work Foundation.

The agency allows rural students, who are part of Good Work Foundation’s adult digital literacy programmes, the opportunity to work on REAL accounts.

Like the Rhino Africa account. And we’re proud to say it!

Students are tasked with writing blogs, taking high-quality photographs and managing social media.

Accolade and her team have been tasked with helping our creatives at Rhino Africa share the stories and photos of the remarkable Don English, Rhino Africa’s adopted orphan rhino (who, by the way, recently had the privilege of meeting HRH Price Harry!).

photographer with rhino

The most recent blog series included an “interview master-class” when the team was tasked with profiling the young Edyta Wozna, Don’s caretaker.

“This was a challenging assignment,” explains Accolade. “Our first interview. It was forty degrees. We had to have done our research on rhino poaching and have original questions prepared and most important, we had to be sensitive in our writing and photos to the security of the orphaned rhinos.” You can read the series here.

We’re not always sure how our plans come together, but as so many of us do, we try to follow our instincts. And in this case, in adopting an orphaned rhino who needed our help we have inadvertently empowered Accolade and her team of incredible young storytellers.

This team is proving that just because a media agency is rural doesn’t mean that it can’t compete with the fancy agencies from Johannesburg and Cape Town.

We’re looking forward to sharing more stories with you. Accolade has let us know that she has just landed an interview with the Kruger National Park Game Ranger who originally found Don after his mother was killed. In South Africa, he is a well-known and respected environmentalist (by the way, his name is also Don English). No doubt it will be an interesting interview.

Accolade Ubisi is a 24-year-old graduate of the University of Limpopo, where she studied Media and Communication Studies. She is part of a new generation of young and rural South African women at the forefront of change. To read about the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre Media Agency, click here.