Persomè was a Bhekisisa fellow from March to May 2015. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Johannesburg in 2013 with majors in journalism, communications and politics. While at Bhekisisa, she produced reporting on gender issues and sexual and reproductive health. She was promoted to the position of editor of the Northern Cape Times shortly after returning to the publication after the completion of her fellowship. She also edits the paper's Student Weekly supplement.
Phyllis is a senior reporter with the Zimbabwean weekly newspaper, The Standard. She's held this position since June 2013. Prior to that, she was a correspondent for the UK based online publication, New Zimbabwe. She's passionate about health reporting, and regularly focuses on HIV and Aids. She has also worked as an information officer for various HIV non-profit organisations, including the Pan African Treatment Access Movement. She graduated with a National Diploma in Mass Communication from the Harare Polytechnic College in 1997 and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Arts and Media Studies with the Zimbabwe Open University. Phyllis is a board member of the Health Journalists Association of Zimbabwe, which coordinates health coverage in the country and provides training on best practices to its members. She was a fellow at Bhekisisa from August to October 2014.
Thandeka is a journalist with the Zimbabwean daily newspaper, The Chronicle, in Bulawayo, where she's worked since 2011. Thandeka completed a BA degree in Science and Media Studies at the National University of Science and Technology in 2014 and spent May to July of that year as a Bhekisisa fellow. In 2013 she was named the best print gender reporter in the Southern Africa Development Community by the non-governmental organisation Gender Links. Thandeka was also the news reporter of the year in Zimbabwe's National Journalism and Media Awards in 2012. In the same year, she participated in the Women Journalists Mentorship Programme conducted by United States Embassy and Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre. During the mentorship, she was singled out from the group for her high marks in the academic portions of the programme.
Ramatamo was born in the Free State and now lives and works in Alexandra, Johannesburg where he writes for the Greater Alex Today community newspaper. Ramatamo has also published stories in the Alex Pioneer newspaper and for the community radio station, Alex FM. In 2011 he was one of ten South African journalists selected for a year-long International Women's Media Foundation HIV reporting fellowship during which he mainly focused medical male circumcision stories which were published in the Alex Pioneer. One such story highlighted the fact that there was no clinic in the area which provided circumcision services. This led to the Centre for HIV and Aids Prevention Studies (Chaps) funding the establishment of medical male circumcision services at the 8th Avenue Clinic in Alexandra. Ramatamo was a Bhekisisa fellow from February to April, 2014.
Lenadine has been a science writer at the Medical Research Council for the past seven years. She translates complex research into content that is understandable to the media and public. Lenadine was a cadet reporter at the community newspaper group South Newspapers in 1994. She obtained a certificate in journalism through the Community Media Trust in Cape Town in 1998, before becoming a radio producer at Workers' World Radio Productions. In 1999 she joined the South African Medical Association as a publishing intern for 24 months, during which she wrote health news content for the South African Medical Journal and assisted with layout and production. She recently completed her BA degree in communication science from Unisa. Lenadine was a Bhekisisa fellow from September to November, 2013.
Sydney was Bhekisisa's first health journalism fellow. He joined our health desk from May to July, 2013. Born in Nelspruit in 1974, Sydney completed his matric at KaNyamazane Central High. He then began studying towards a law degree at the University of the Western Cape but was forced to abandon his studies in his second year because of financial constraints. In 2003 he joined the HIV advocacy organisation, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), as a volunteer and completed a short course on community journalism. He served as Mpumalanga's provincial secretary of the TAC from 2005 until 2006. Based on his writing for the TAC, Sydney was asked by the Mpumalanga based news agency, African Eye News Service, to join their reporting team. He has a special interest in investigative, health and education journalism. He's now a communications liaison for a political party.
The loss of one of SA’s most longstanding HIV activists comes when politics and dwindling resources are pitting stalwarts against each other.
Decriminalising sex work could help avert almost half of all new HIV infections globally among workers and clients in the next 10 years.
Crime stats released in 2015 reported a drop in rape cases, but experts say this is because fewer people are bothering to report rapes to the police.
Bhekisisa means "to scrutinise" in Zulu
In South Africa, Zulu patients who would like to be thoroughly assessed by a doctor, would ask the physician to "bhekisisa" them.