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Raising the SAEON flag

Previously an Education Journalist at Mail & Guardian, Monako Dibetle brings a thorough knowledge of the media to SAEON’s communications function (Picture: Mitzi du Plessis)

- Monako Dibetle, Communications Practitioner, SAEON


For a while, I have only understood corporate communications through the stereotype of a print journalist, not knowing that I would soon be on the receiving end of such a stereotype.

It has become quite the norm that after years of running through protesting citizens, chasing after lead stories or rubbing shoulders with the power elite in the high echelons of power, journalists invariably take the public relations/ communications bait.

I am a 26-year-old male from Kagiso in Krugersdorp. After formal schooling, I studied towards a degree in Public Relations at the Vaal University of Technology. Upon completing my studies, I was accepted into the famous Mail & Guardian newspaper internship programme in 2005 and graduated to junior reporter the following year.

Since then I have written across the board and ended up on the education desk, mostly covering issues in higher education. I was the Mail & Guardian’s Education Journalist until recently, when I was appointed Communications Practitioner for SAEON.

However, my attraction to SAEON was fundamentally motivated by a vision and desire to be part of an institution that is at the forefront of environmental observation in the country. Moreover, it is quite a privilege for me to contribute towards the success of such an institution, particularly given the advent of global warming. In short, my appointment here could not have come at a better time.

My role as Communications Practitioner is to give added impetus to the implementation of the SAEON Communications Strategy, to promote SAEON as an organisation and ensure that the rationale behind the establishment of such an institution is thoroughly understood by its target audiences. Although my roles are varied, this position will also require me to be SAEON’s spokesperson and media representative.

Furthermore I will be involved in, and lead most public relations activities related to the organisation. One of my important responsibilities is, of course, to advise the organisation on issues relating to the handling and working with the media to achieve SAEON’s desired communications goals.

Science communication

Personally, this position presents an opportunity to tap into a world that is partly foreign to me - science communication. This is quite a daunting challenge, but it is my wish to use the communications successes SAEON has achieved thus far as a basis and template for executing my duties.

I am elated whenever the thought of being a member of the already flourishing SAEON family crosses my mind. But this thought does not come cheap, as it also presents a number of challenges. I look forward to contributing my knowledge of the communications industry towards the success of the organisation and to continue learning all that the industry presents.

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