Tracy I appreciate your concern. I have worked in digital media and journalism since 1988. I have been at the fore of digital innovation for almost 20 years. Until recently as 2010 onwards there have been no laws which could protect my work or stop those wanting my failure. The law which I could use to seek justice was only tabled in 2016.
Why would someone want to stop my work?
Digital is not only about writing programs that makes things work or creates applications. It is also about the data on those devices and information contained. Although I have in the past created over 20 websites, several of which I was involved in the process of programming I am not a programmer and do not do coding. My abilities lie in the end product and working back to the structure which I then tell the coder. In essence I work in what is termed “”CONTENT””.
CONTENT is IP (individual/ intellectual property) and has value. A website, app or blog is worthless until someone puts content on it. Yet the programmers receive all the glory and money. Where is the fairness in this? It is like taking a plastic bowl and wanting to charge R200 for it when anyone can buy a bowl for R10 at the shop. Until you tell the people that your bowl is special because it has a snout for pouring out water.. a jug, or a lid for keeping stuff fresh there is no added value. I created CONTENT by telling people how we could use a website, blog or app. I have worked with the best sites out there but have never been recognised or paid.
The problem has been compounded as I am a journalist. I applied for jobs with many media companies but due to some reason or other I have not been employed in my twenty years of being available. So I had to find my own job. In doing so I created ENTREPENEURS in 1987. It was a magazine and events company. In doing marketing at a flea market I did not realise I was doing myself the greatest harm. Corporate company’s agents who listened to what I had to offer then went off and created the very thing I was trying to market. It did not stop there as they then would bomb any events I attempted to hold by out booking me on venues, offering more money, trashing my adverts, advertising the same event but at a better offer. The law against this behaviour came into being in 2016. In January of 2017 I attempted to hold an art show in Cape Town. I booked for the venue and put up posters in local shops and libraries. Flyers were handed out. I had applied to municipality for assistance, and was turned down as being too small. I ran a pre-event to get artists on board. On the day of the show no one turned up. Outside the venue was a sign stating that there was the same show at the CTICC. My Facebook marketing costing R2500 had been trashed and of 12000 looks and likes no one pitched. I lost R5000 on the venue and marketing costs.
Although I have created my own media house it is not recognised despite the fact it is registered with CIPC. My media house is called ZWBDC which stands for South African Zynbad Bikers, Web, Business Development Company. Why these names. After Entrepreneurs was destroyed I went into motor biking and with Simon Fourie and others built the industry in South Africa.
ZWBDC stand for South Africa, Zynbad Bikers, Web, Development, Company and is about content, transformation and equality with justice. When I was a biker the slogan on my jacket read "" Be true to yourself"" and I still believe this. Being true to yourself means if you lie you will the one paying the most for that lie because you know the truth,
My offering was called Zynbad Bikers and it was a travelling stall selling biker gear which also took photos and wrote articles on rallies and ran an events page. I did this job for eleven years during which time bikers became more noticeable. In 2002 I was given the website www.bikers.co.za which became popular as people could see what I was doing no matter where they were. At rallies and events I would market the website and gather stories. On moving to Johannesburg in 2004 I suffered a robbery which affected the company badly through loss of stock and from there it was a downward spiral. I managed to save the website although an attempt to steal it had also taken place. The suspect had wiped the entire website clean so I had to rebuild it. In 2010 this was done but another attempt to destroy it was carried out. In 2012 bikers.co.za was recognised and won a prize at a digital industry event. This led to the final blow on the website. I attempted to rebuild the site as a page on Facebook which has proved successful. The various attempts and robberies (the last being from storage in Cape Town) left Zynbad Bikers in a ruined financial situation and in 2015 was unregistered as a company. Due to the lack of computer crime legislation there was nothing I could do to bring justice about.
Due to my anger I began to look for laws I could use and kept coming up blank. This led me back into journalism but this time on the side of small business and fighting for our rights. I started to attend a lot of government meetings looking for answers. My questions seemed important to those in positions of authority but I was not getting any contracts or being paid except in pens from small business that I did stories on. I set about fighting for our online rights by representing local digital at international events. I felt if they knew the answers I would find them there but still came away with very little. Companies such as Mediacom and Terrapinn took me under their wings as an independent. Various governmental organisations invited me to events to hear what was happening and to give comment. This led me to being bold enough to stand for local election in 2016. As I did not want to offend the major parties with whom I was associated in some form or other (another story) I decided to stand for a friend from my youth…Achmat Williams ( NP party) as he had helped me when I was finding my feet in the world. I did not realise the backlash, in fact I had not even given it thought. All I had wanted was to break into politics. It only dawned on me when an elderly woman remarked to me that …I was the Helen Zille from Johannesburg. Then I thought to myself what have I done and wanted to run away. This led to a year of depression.
But you can’t run away from yourself can you? I had not realised that my building my company and offerings online would create such a following. I am not one for shutting up when an offence is done and this has led to much hardship for me, but it has also led to laws being made and changes in the world.
On the hacked issue
I am running the best anti-virus and also several; others plus my computer is cleaned several times a week. There is nothing more I can do. McAfee a USA company advised me to seek legal counsel. Which is not possible as the government lacks knowledge of online laws. My posts on Facebook have led to the cybercrime bill and others being passed. The hackers are
·main stream media who feel that I do not deserve to operate,
·the government looking for solutions and information
·Nigeria who constantly want to upstage everybody.
·India who is trying to take business away from others
·Other digital platforms trying to win customers from sites
·Other powers for their own mean end
In attending the conferences and seminars I have discovered a great amount of naivete towards the internet and the rules which need to be passed to keep us all safe from the power it has.
Added to the difficulty of making money in my career is the fact that people think the internet should be FREE as in no payment and no adverts. By this notion you take away any chance any online company has of making a living or of telling you about their products. I have sought adverts for my various websites but fail to obtain any. No one wants to work for free so consider those who bring you the enjoyment of the internet.
The last point I want to make is the disrespect for journalists. Journalists are extremely important people yet they get treated like rubbish. Without a journalist you would not have a world or local view on current affairs, events or concepts. They are there to drive the conversation. To bring up new topics and to steer the conversation according to the truth. Fair enough there are unkosher journalists and organizations which use the art for unsavoury ends. These should be weeded out like weeds in a garden and burnt. Whilst doing so bear in mind that traitors and devils are real and walk among us. Not paying a journalist a living wage so that they can take care of their families is not fair. It is asking for these people to be your slave whilst you toss them scraps off the table. We need more than pens to live and deliver our work. Those journalists who are paid are working for political houses and are paid accordingly. Being an independent and self-supported journalist is very difficult, which is what I am.
Journalism is a privileged cultural form. It can bring down governments, influence wars, shift stock markets and destroy industries. It is the main source of our knowledge about the world and our place in it, and the point at which the individual and the social worlds meet.