We use radio to amplify youth voices across Africa, giving them the skills and tools to speak about their lives
18-year-old Thembela Booi has recently been appointed to host the Top 30 Chart show every Saturday morning at Nkqubela FM (KQFM) in Port Elizabeth! Thembela has been a passionate young reporter with the Children’s Radio Foundation project since 2014, and is part of the ‘Live Wire’ team. In this blog post he shares some of his journey as a young reporter, some of his highlights of working at KQFM, and a short audio clip of his show!
“I was born in King Williams Town and moved to Port Elizabeth, Kwazakhele at a very young age. I am currently a first year student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University studying logistics management.
My roles in the project:
My roles have evolved over the years and have allowed me to experience different journeys. I have so far been privileged to play all the roles that are available in the group. I have researched, produced, and grew from from co-hosting to presenting my own show. I would say that co-hosting opened a doors I never imagined would open so quickly in my career. I never thought that someone like me would hold a position like this one day. It was like my dream was finally coming true, as it was my dream to be a radio presenter one day. The station management identified my talent and offered me an opportunity to present the top 30 chart show every Saturday morning.
On being appointed to host the chart show:
This was just a cherry on top of a blessing that I had never thought would arrive at an early age of 18. This was a surprise to me because the station kept on asking me to fill in the slots when the other presenters where absent. When the management came to me, it not only showed that they appreciate my work, but they trust that I am the best presenter to serve the community. The appointment was a big move for me because I was used to working with a group, but now I would work only with my producer (Aviwe Mbilini) who is also part of the Young Reporters Network (YRN) project. It makes me very happy that the station management saw the hard work and sacrifices I had been making for the station and for that I was rewarded.
I have so many highlights in the project but there is no bigger highlight than my journey to Cape Town for the Youth Radio Awards. This was an amazing journey. It was my first time going to Cape Town and also it was my first time travelling in a plane. The journey to Cape Town was something amazing in my life, I got to see different people and different places. I was also nominated to talk about xenophobia in front of youth reporters from all corners of Sout Africa. Addressing a live audience was a big thing for me because in radio you don’t get to see the people that are listening to you. Another big achievement for me is when we got to the stage as the Runners Up of the Best Public Service Announcement (PSA) Award on behalf of the ‘Live Wire’ team.
Words to the youth who want to join the radio industry:
I’d like to say to the youth out there that want to be in radio, it always seems easy although it’s not. But being patient and having respect are the major things for you to be successful in this industry. Most people enter the industry because they want to be famous and most of them end up quitting because they see radio is not about being famous, it is about being the voice of the nation. For example, people no longer see me as a random guy but now they see me as someone who contributes to his community. The YRN taught me to always give back a piece of what I have to people who need it”.
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