Why is Safrea valuable for freelancers in Southern Africa? We’re the region’s only association with the specific mandate of promoting the interests of its members from the freelance media and communications community. Safrea’s unique package of member benefits includes the following attractions.
- Members’ profiles feature prominently on the website to promote their services.
- Rich resources and material are available in the members-only section on the website.
- The vibrant and supportive members’ e-group ensures daily online interaction with other Safreans, as well as the weekly opportunity for a ‘Wednesday brag’.
- Support via an extensive network of experienced freelancers on matters such as handling clients, rates, contracts, tax, legal matters, dealing with work overload, opportunities for collaboration, getting through quiet times, how to market and grow the business, etc.
- Safrea’s annual SA Freelance Media Industry & Rates Report is a valuable benchmarking tool based on fresh research, helping freelancers to determine market-related rates.
- Work referrals from other Safreans, ranging from one-off commissions to job advertisements.
- Code of Conduct.
- Two monthly e-newsletters, the Safrean and the Chronicle.
- Social media exposure, including on SAFREA’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.
- Media card – accreditation to attend events, obtain interviews, etc.
- Regular networking meetings with guest speakers.
- Exclusive workshops and discounts on training courses.
- Rates, terms and conditions guide.
- Alliances with other organisations:
- ASAIB (Association of Southern African Indexers & Bibliographers)
- PEAR (Professional Evaluation and Research)
- PEG (Professional Editors’ Guild)
- SAGA (South African Guild of Actors)
- SASJA (South African Science Journalists’ Association)
- SATI (South African Translators Institute)
Safrea advocates for and supports freelance workers in the media and communications fields. We provide members with resources, tools, training and networking that helps strengthen freelance careers. Through platforms including our website, freelancer database, Facebook page and Twitter feed, we grow our members’ industry presence, contacts lists and employment opportunities. Whether it’s a post on our members-only Google forum or an introduction at a Safrea event, we connect members with one another and with clients in need of media content or communications expertise.
Freelancers need to discuss and share experiences, get advice from more experienced freelance colleagues, find mentoring opportunities, and access a forum to celebrate or seek a shoulder to cry on. We sometimes need encouragement, and at other times we are in a position to give a boost to others. This is in addition to the basic necessity of keeping an ear to the ground and picking up work from the grapevine.
As a Safrean you become part of a virtual group of likeminded people – freelancers like yourself, who understand the challenges of being self-employed: finding clients and keeping them, setting rates, writing contracts, filing taxes, handling non-paying customers, the legal aspects of freelancing, dealing with deadline overloads, getting through the quiet times, how to market and grow your business... and much more.
Most of this happens on our very active online forum, accessible to members only. The Google group is supplemented by Safrea's public communication channels, including our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Safreans have regular regional meetings, where we put a face to a name and network, usually accompanied by an invited speaker sharing a topic of interest. Recent speakers have included the likes of investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh of Gangster State and The Republic of Gupta fame. We currently have branches in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, and we are looking to establish new branches where freelancers need us.
In response to the Covid-19 crisis, Safrea increased its schedule of online events, running Zoom workshops on everything from DSLR photography to travel writing throughout 2020. Drawing on the Safrea members’ vast collective knowledge, the webinars were free and exclusive to members.
Sharing the Workload
Some people hear it on the grapevine, but in Southern Africa we listen out for the bush telegraph. Safreans are certainly no exception, and we enjoy doing business with one another. Networking and getting to know each other in person at meetings plays an important role in this. It should be made clear that – although we reacted to the specific challenge of the coronavirus-related economic slowdown by creating work opportunities for our members – Safrea is not an employment agency. As freelancers, we find our own business, but may share when the work becomes too much, or when we need additional services that our expertise doesn't cover.
The life of a freelancer can be lonely and rather isolated. We often work from home offices and spend long hours at our laptops, missing out on water-cooler chat, Christmas parties and the other benefits of office life. As this New Yorker skit observes, freelancing is sadly not just about avoiding commuter traffic and slurping cappuccinos in vibey coworking spaces.
Despite these drawbacks, most of us prefer the independence, flexibility and self-determination of the freelance lifestyle and working environment. However, we also need company and support from time to time. This is where Safrea plays a vital role, offering a sympathetic community of people with similar interests and concerns through our meetings, Google forum, social media and more.
Discounts on Training Courses
In this age of perpetual digital evolution, the old freelance story of learning the media ropes, escaping 8-5 wage slavery and launching your own venture doesn’t mean you stop learning new tricks. Freelancers have to work hard to stay on top of the latest technological developments and working practices, as our clients expect to benefit from our expertise. Indeed, young freelancers can miss out on the mentoring and training opportunities enjoyed by their office-bound peers.
Safrea answers this need by offering exclusive member discounts on training courses covering everything from copywriting to podcasting, including the courses hosted by the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ). With these upskilling opportunities, a freelance life of earning a living from myriad disciplines, and enjoying the variety of no two workdays being alike, awaits with Safrea.
Interaction with Other Media Organisations
Safrea interacts with other groups of freelancers who are part of ASAIB (Association of Southern African Indexers & Bibliographers), PEAR (Professional Evaluation and Research), PEG (Professional Editors’ Guild), SAGA (South African Guild of Actors), SASJA (South African Science Journalists’ Association) and SATI (South African Translators Institute).
In 2020 we formed alliances with PEAR (Professional Evaluation and Research), and SANEF. These unions allow us to share knowledge for the industry’s benefit and to offer the best service to Safrea’s various member constituencies.
Read what Safrea members have to say about the organisation here.