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Communique: spotlight.africa to shut down—for now

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted personal and organizational plans across the world. No one was left untouched. Neither was spotlight.africa.

It is with a heavy heart that we have had to make the difficult decision to hit pause on spotlight.africa. We hope soon to resume the important work of being a Catholic voice in our society in new and viable ways.

We began in 2018 to provide reporting and commentary on matters related to church and society and the intersections between them. Our offering grew the Catholic media space in South Africa, with a dream to further extend our reach within southern Africa.

We—like so many others—have suffered seriously from the financial fallout that came with Covid-19. The generous funding that enabled us to maintain our operations is no longer available. Our plans to expand our coverage, and bolster the editorial and reporting team with qualified media professionals were thwarted.

The project began with a small team that enlisted experts in their fields to provide thoughtful, measured and insightful analysis. We have provided news and analysis on developments at the Vatican and in the Catholic Church at large. We reported on the sexual abuse scandals plaguing the Church and on local and international political matters. Over the pandemic months, we sought to provide you, our loyal audience, not only with COVID-19-related news but also with spiritual food for this gruelling period.  

Thank you, to our loyal readers, supporters and benefactors who have stayed with us for the past three years. Your messages of support and contributions encourage us. We thank, especially, our contributors, for their thought-provoking articles that shared lived experiences of faith and provided hard-hitting commentary on difficult issues. We are grateful to all who worked behind the scenes: editing and correcting articles, maintaining the website, and connecting us with wonderful people and their stories.

This is not goodbye. It is a time to discern how the Holy Spirit calls us to respond to the signs of the times given present limitations on resources. That responsibility does not fall exclusively to Catholic media or institutions. It is a call for each of us to be a voice that speaks truth to power. It is a call to listen to divergent perspectives to foster unity in our divided world.

While we announce our shutdown, we do not despair. We promise, instead, to explore new and viable ways in which we can continue be a discerned voice in the sea of voices you hear every day. God is at work. We will follow the lead of God’s Holy Spirit and see how God is moulding us into something new.

We are grateful for your support.

* The opinions expressed here by Spotlight.Africa contributors and editors are their own and not official statements of the Society of Jesus in South Africa or of the Catholic Church unless explicitly stated.

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