Kim Harrisberg profile background image
Kim Harrisberg profile image

Kim Harrisberg

South Africa correspondent

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Kim Harrisberg is the Southern Africa correspondent for the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Johannesburg covering technology’s impact on society, as well as climate change and inequality on the continent. Before joining the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Kim was a multimedia journalist with South Africa’s oldest health news agency.

June 17, 2024

When the Nigerian government announced plans in April to develop a multilingual AI tool to boost digital inclusion across the West African nation, 28-year-old computer science student Lwasinam Lenham Dilli was thrilled.

Dilli had struggled to scrape datasets from the internet to build a large language model (LLM), used to power AI chatbots, in his native Hausa language as part of his final-year project at university.

June 14, 2024

From deepfake Donald Trumps endorsing key contenders, to claims the vote was rigged, South Africa is awash with online disinformation as political players thrash out a coalition deal after an historic election.

Digital activists want to monitor who is behind all the post-vote propaganda, but say they are hampered by high costs and high-walled platforms: the sort of challenges their Western counterparts rarely face.

May 27, 2024

Growing up surrounded by the towering smokestacks of coal-fired power stations, 22-year-old Siya Mokoena's life is inextricably linked to the coal industry that dominates his hometown of Emalahleni in South Africa's eastern province of Mpumalanga.

Like many in Emalahleni, generations of Mokoena's family have worked in the coal sector. His father, a miner, was laid off in March when his mine was shut down.

November 22, 2023

Right-wing libertarian Javier Milei won Argentina's landmark election on Sunday as he tapped into voter anger with the political mainstream - including rival Sergio Massa's dominant Peronist party, with both sides turning to AI during the fractious election campaign.

In the final weeks of campaigning, Milei published a fabricated image depicting Massa as an old-fashioned communist in military garb, while Massa's team distributed AI-generated images portraying Milei and his team as enraged zombies and pirates.

November 09, 2023

Every day, Sabrina Walter answers 50 to 150 messages on her social media channels from South African women who have survived abuse but need help to get justice, get safe or get back on their feet. With little support in real life, they have turned to the virtual world.

Walter is the founder of non-profit Women For Change (WFC), which has grown from having a few hundred followers online when it was created in 2016 to reaching over 10 million people per month across its Facebook, X, TikTok and Instagram pages in 2023.

October 23, 2023

The Liesbeek River snakes down from Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain for just 9 km (5 miles), but nevertheless has become the focus of a battle between retail giant Amazon, Indigenous groups, green activists and land claimants.

Land is an extremely emotive issue in South Africa. Nearly 400 years of Dutch and British colonial rule and four decades of apartheid saw waves of land grabs and mass evictions of Black, Indian and mixed-race people to create white-only areas.

October 20, 2023

Voice actor Armando Plata does not recall promoting a shopping mall in Bogota, narrating a porn movie or advertizing a big bank. Yet his voice comes over loud and clear: schmoozing, sighing and selling with neither permission nor payment.

It was the mild, robotic twang - rather than worry over any memory lapse - that alerted Plata to the fact his voice had been quietly cloned via artificial intelligence, robbing the veteran actor of his key asset, artistic choice and vocal rights.

October 06, 2023

Philanthropists are stepping in to ensure vulnerable workers and their communities are not left behind when developing nations agree multi-billion-dollar climate deals to shutter fossil-fuel power plants and ramp up green energy investments.

Last year, Vietnam and Indonesia joined South Africa in clinching a "just energy transition partnership" (JETP) - a funding package from wealthy governments and banks to help emerging economies phase out coal while creating green jobs - followed by Senegal this June.

October 02, 2023

After six years of working on a vineyard just outside Cape Town, South African farmworker Diana Ndleleni collapsed between the grapevines grown to make wines renowned throughout the world.

Her doctor said she had permanent lung damage that he believed was from years of inhaling pesticides sprayed on the grapes. He said she would not be able to work again.

September 27, 2023

Africa has become a hotspot for surveillance technology exports from countries including the U.S., Britain, China, Israel as well as the European Union, according to new research published this week.

Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Malawi and Zambia spend more than $1bn every year on surveillance technology, estimates a report by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and the African Digital Rights Network (ADRN).