The South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) is a multi-year media initiative the seeks to accelerate digital media innovation among independent media outlets in South Africa.

The program provides funding and capacity building to organisations selected to participate.




SAMIP is about innovation. Innovation in how media is used to find and tell stories, and innovation in developing new and sustainable business models.

This is a time of transition for many media companies and successful organisations need to diversify revenue streams and build products that resonate with their audiences.

Our program provides funding and mentorship needed for the independent media sector to deploy new solutions and reach new audiences.

The program is being run by MDIF, with funding support from Open Society Foundation of South Africa and Luminate.

Who is part of SAMIP?

SAMIP currently hosts a cohort of 19 organizations, having selected existing independent media companies, non-profit organizations, as well as new ventures that are less than a year old.

We sought out mission-driven companies and organizations passionate about trying new approaches to local news and information.

We have also encouraged applicants with non-traditional journalism and media backgrounds, particularly from the areas of technology, design and business.

How were they selected?

We have accepted applications from organizations that are building innovative news and information products that either:

  • explore opportunities to reach and connect with broader audiences through digital platforms and technologies;
  • develop new revenue generation opportunities or sustainable business models.

Please note, SAMIP is currently not accepting new applicants. However, expressions of interest for future rounds can be made here.


Viewfinder digs up the data on deadly rubber bullets

New investigative journalism, new hires, and coverage of topical news – here’s the latest from the South Africa Media Innovation Program. Counting the cost of rubber bullets Ten years after rubber bullets killed Andries Tatane, investigative start-up Viewfiender published a story on the deadly use of rubber bullets by police. Viewfinder’s data analysis shows that […]

Focus Areas

Digital Native Products

New approaches to collecting news and information, and to reporting, storytelling and distribution that embrace the possibilities of technology.

Reaching rural communities

Innovative approaches to reach and empower people outside of major urban areas, and those generally underserved by existing news media.

Engaging people in official languages that are underserved

Attempts to engage and distribute content to communities in vernacular languages that are underserved.

Technology innovation for distribution

New media technology for local news that can find ways to distribute all forms of media in a cost-effective and sustainable way.

New Revenue opportunities

Innovative solutions to revenue challenges that media companies face – how can we open up new revenue streams to make media organisations more sustainable and independent.

Transition to digital

Finding and implementing solutions, products or processes that assist legacy media to transform their businesses.

Advisory Committee

Mandla Langa

Mandla Langa

Mandla Langa is one of South Africa’s internationally acknowledged contemporary writers, cultural organisers and a veteran of the national liberation struggle. Mandla is a poet, short-story writer, novelist, and cultural activist.

Dinesh Balliah

Dinesh Balliah

Dinesh is a media consultant/trainer who is currently a PhD candidate at Wits University in Journalism and Media Studies, researching newsroom convergence and the impact on journalism practice in South Africa.

Mohamed Nanabhay

Mohamed Nanabhay

Mohamed Nanabhay is the Deputy CEO of the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), which invests in independent media around the world providing the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies.

Nishant Lalwani

Nishant Lalwani

Nishant leads Luminate‘s global strategy for funding independent media. This includes work in investigative journalism, press freedom, combatting misinformation, and innovative financial models for editorial independence. Nishant also leads the organisation’s work in narrative change across all its impact areas, and oversees Luminate’s strategy, learning & impact, and partner support teams.

Pontsho Pilane

Pontsho Pilane

Pontsho Pilane is the senior writer at Health-e News, and was formerly a health journalist at Bhekisisa, the Mail and Guardian’s centre for health journalism. She debuted as a journalist at The Daily Vox, where she wrote primarily about gender, race and how they intersect.

Vincent Maher

Vincent Maher

Vincent Maher, a well-known pioneer and strategist in the South Africa digital media industry, currently serves as the Head of Digital Enablement at Multichoice. Prior to joining Multichoice, Maher was the Chief Innovation Officer at Kagiso Media.


Khumo Sello

Khumo Sello

Junior Program Officer
Bilal Randeree

Bilal Randeree

Program Manager
Murray Hunter

Murray Hunter

Digital Media Specialist



Find out more about our participants.



For enquiries please e-mail the SAMIP Team at


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