PRESS STATEMENT | Community journalists pledge their commitment to end statelessness

Date: 03/12/2020

On the 26th and 27th November 2020, journalists working in community radio and community print media from around South Africa gathered for a workshop with the theme “Reporting on Statelessness in South Africa”. The workshop was co-hosted by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ), with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”).

The workshop is designed to orientate journalists on the concept, causes and consequences of statelessness in South Africa and to empower them to use media and communications as a platform to raise awareness of the plight of stateless persons or persons at risk of statelessness. The journalists were also introduced to the #IBelong Campaign – this is a global campaign launched in 2014, by the UNHCR with the objective to end statelessness in ten years.

The workshop was a resounding success and concluded with the journalists penning a collective Action Plan stating their commitment to the cause and to using journalism as a tool for more advocacy on eradicating statelessness in South Africa. “Awareness about statelessness is something that we need to work on. If the media doesn’t know about it then how will anyone else learn about it,” said Stella Baloi from Stokvel Talk reflecting on the fact that statelessness is underreported in South Africa and that journalists have a significant role to play in the fight to end statelessness.

South Africa is not a party to the two United Nations Conventions on statelessness, but in 2011 it did submit a pledge to accede to the conventions at a high-level ministerial conference on the issues of refugees and statelessness. South Africa also submitted a pledge at the Global Refugee Forum in 2019, to promote civil registration and documentation in the country and across the SADC region as a measure to eradicate possibilities of statelessness. The implementation of these pledges will go a long way in addressing statelessness in South Africa.

The eradication of statelessness largely hinges on mobilizing political will as states (and their policymakers) hold the sovereign power to decide who acquires nationality, in other words, who belongs. In acknowledgment of this, the journalists also discussed the need to hold the government of South Africa to account on its pledges and the protection of the human rights of those affected by statelessness in South Africa. “Not knowing the extent of the problem, has left us behind in solving statelessness in South Africa. We can fix this through encouraging transparent action. The government must admit to its failures and describe what it intends to do in the future” said Marvin Adams, social entrepreneur and founder of Alutu Continua.

The journalists pledged to join forces to combat statelessness in South Africa and have joined the South African Network on Statelesssness (SANS). This is a growing national network of organisations across South Africa advocating for the #Right2Belong through promotion of universal access to the right to a nationality and the eradication of statelessness.

For more details and updates on SANS follow the Facebook Page available at:

We want to sincerely thank all of the journalists who were present, showing their commitment to the fight to end statelessness, particularly given the difficult context of the current pandemic.


For queries please contact Robin Lenahan on or Thandeka Chauke on

#IBelong #Right2Belong #FreedomInBelonging


Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR)

Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ)

Fanelo Maseko                                Loxion News

Kamogelo Tunyiko                          VOW FM

Lindiwe Mabena                              VOW FM

Kholofelo Teffo                               Waterberg FM

Stella Baloi                                        Stokvel Talk

Mavin Adams                                   Aluta Continua

Mokgadi Makgata                           Stokvel Talk

Nawej Tshimbalang                        Afrika FM

Gerald Ngobeni                               Diepsloot FM

Neels Coertse                                  CJ Coetrse

Reece Klein                                       Eldos FM

Cheridene Danster                          Eldos FM

Barney L. A. Kekana                        WeeklySA

Mashele Phalane

Robinson Nqola                               Power News

Mpho Sebiloane                              Loxion News

Mosala Nyauza                                Loxion News