19 November 2005

Future of the Radio looks bright after all.. at least here.

One of the most impressing projects that I have seen, or rather heard, at Bush Radio is CREW. It stands for Children Radio Education Workshop. It is a project which gives children and youth opportunity to learn about broadcasting and on the process about everything that surrounds them. I have been fortunate to see fair bit of their action as their shows are before mine. What happens in action is that there are three separate shows - Bush Tots for children between the ages of six to ten years, Bush Kids are from ten to fifteen and Bush Teens are fifteen to eighteen - and every show lasts for an hour. Letters are sent to the co-operating schools which then find few kids who are the most suitable for the project and finally a group of around 10 of them start learning about radio with a help of an adult. This adult supervisor explains practical things and helps with the technical equipment although both the Kids and the Teens operate the desks themselves. They come up with their own ideas which are very mature indeed. As I am typing the Teens are talking about hygiene and before that they covered the topic of respecting everyone regardless of their sexual orientation. Their theme for the day was gender and what does it mean so all the topics where related to the differences and similarities between men and women. Kids were talking about empowering the girls and helping them to grow to respect themselves as a part of their women in media discussion and topic for the Tots was bullying in schools. I cannot help but think what I was thinking when I was younger. I am not sure, but I have not got a recollection of worrying about how women are represented in the media when I was ten.

My trips to the kitchen to refill my coffee cup always take longer than I expect because the meetings to prepare the future shows take place by the big table next to it. The debate there is amazing. I have not met many people in the European commercial radios who would be so critical with their topics and the content of their shows in general.

One importance of CREW is also that it is as multiracial and multicultural as South Africa can get at its best. Young people learn to live with each others, which almost twelve years after the democracy cannot be taken for granted. Last thing that one of them said when the show was ending was, "Hey guys, I think our conversation about human rights rocked today". - I only wish you would understand how much!

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