As journalists, we disrupt and inform through our mobile phones, via newspapers and print, via online.
We continue to disrupt because we are constantly inspired by those around us. Those that sit next to us, the Independent Media family. Rarely a moment goes by without something or someone inspiring us to do something extraordinary.
When it comes to defining a phenomenal young woman, TYI can’t think of any better inspiration than our Editor.
The Rhodes University Honor’s degree graduate and youngest editor within the Independent Media stable who at the age of (23) leads her dynamic digital team called The Young Independents (TYI).
TYI is an online youth centric branch within the Independent media stable, which was launched on March 2016. The website focuses on presenting a true South African narrative through the lens of its youth. TYI covers imminent youth issues and offers inspiration to aspiring young leaders. TYI’s ongoing initiative is a unique annual competition called Mzansi’s Top 100 young South African leaders.
The competition focuses on celebrating young leaders all around South Africa, placing them under 5 categories namely: Influencers, Healers, Disruptors, Trailblazers and Innovators.
The fearless Francis stepped into Independent media with a dream to launch and operate a youth centric platform where youth contribute to dominant dialogues and present & create solutions within a disruptive space.
Being the youngest editor in the group and a recent graduate, Francis was not at all discouraged. Obstacle after obstacle she overcame because she always knew that her vision was much more greater than her current situation.
The words from her favourite author, Paulo Coelho kept her motivated, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Francis, leading her team is the brains behind the conception of The Young Independents website. Who else could Independent media have entrusted with a youth audience than a young phenomenal woman herself.
In March, 2016 the website was officially launched at the Wanderers club in Johannesburg.
The quest to inspire young people didn’t end. She initiated a project called ‘Stories of Hope’ partnering up with the President’s awards that aims to celebrate young people who have made it regardless of their financial difficulties, disadvantaged backgrounds and other socio economic issues. The project also gives hope to the aspiring, by sharing the stories of these young leaders and how they have conquered their difficulties.
Not only is TYI recognised in SA, it has also received international recognition from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and is a finalist for the ‘Best Innovation to engage Youth Audiences’ category. Francis always strives to use media as a tool to eradicate social change. “It takes a stroke of a pen to change the world,” says Francis.
Francis is not a woman of many words, however give her a pen and paper and she will definitely blow your mind.
Amongst the people that have contributed to Francis’s journey of success is Adri Senekaldewet, the Editor of leading national daily business newspaper, Business Report.
Working in an intense media environment, requires grit and steel from its editors and their teams.
“As a young editor of TYI, I’ve looked towards female figures within the media environment to help me navigate these exciting and grueling waters. Adri is an unsung hero, offering advice and constant feedback,” says Francis.
What Francis has learnt from Senekaldewet is that success stories are absolutely essential to our African audience yet they are always missing from the narrative. Editors need to maintain a mediatic balance; not all is gloomy and subjective, and those that have succeeded or are succeeding ought to be granted a platform to share their stories. This is the case with regards to Business Report and TYI (The Young Independents).
Get to know our Francis a little bit more.
10 Things you didn’t know about the Editor of TYI, Saajida Francis (Woman of many talents- This list will totally blow your mind about this 20 something young leader.)
1. Francis is a lover of art- She sees the future of South Africa through the great doors of Ghiberti and sees beauty in Botticelli’s strokes of artwork.
2. She loves reading. Everyday she makes it a point that she at least learns one new word.
3. She loves sharing and giving the little she has, because her mother taught her that, “every portion you have give it and God will bless you”.
3. She loves love, people and treating everyone equally
4. She is the daughter to Mrs Pandor Francis who is involved in community development and education.
5. She has a weird taste of food. The weirder a dish looks, the more she wants to try it.
6. She has a hidden talent of singing, this woman can hit vocals. Don’t be surprised if you bump into a copy of her CD soon…
7. She is currently obsessed with American rapper/ vocalist, Cardi B. Simply because Cardi B turned her life from nothing to something.
8. She is dying to see the emoticon age- Francis predicts that in future, people won’t communicate with words but rather using emojis only.
9. Her secret snack when she is busy killing words is Parparbites.
10. She loves new languages. She dabbles with Spanish, Arabic, Hindi and French.
TYI loves you Boss lady, continue to hold the flag high for young leaders.
Still not convinced that she is the youngest?
View the picture and see for yourself: