Rhodes University Logo
Rhodes > Community Engagement > Latest News

Youth Voices Amplified

Date Released: Thu, 12 December 2013 09:20 +0200

Excitement and anticipation fill the air as the 10 high school learners invade the Rhodes Music Radio (RMR) studios to prepare for another installment of their weekly show. The digital clock reads one minute to go. Showtime!

The upbeat jingle blasts out the in-studio speakers, and regular Yung Amplified anchor Sisipho Nyamela, a matric pupil from Victoria Girls’ High School, enthusiastically introduces the line- up for the show. Nadia Moore, a fourth year Journalism and Media Studies student and the show’s producer frantically waves her arms and scribbles down messages for the anchor, and then ushers the next pair of pupils toward the studio microphones. Interviews are played.

Poems are recited. Songs are sung. Diligently and professionally, the Upstart pupils cooperate, accustomed to the urgency and orderliness of live broadcasting. The show flies by.

Since 2010, Rhodes University’s senior radio journalism students have trained small groups of Upstart members in the basics of radio production and programming as part of their fourth-year curriculum. This partnership resulted in the collaborative radio show, Yung Amplified – a production run entirely by the youth and for the youth – which is broadcast on RMR every Saturday at 10am.

Every Wednesday, Rhodes journalism students hold workshops for the Upstart members, encouraging them to refine their skills using equipment such as recorders and microphones. The learners are given recorders to conduct interviews with other youths in the area, which are then edited and aired on the show.

One of the Upstarters in studio, Thobani Moneli of Mary Waters High School, described how the programme has given him invaluable experience, and inspired him to want to study Journalism at Rhodes. “We share ideas. I know how to use the equipment and can communicate better with people. I want to be a journalist,” Thobani said.

The theme for the show changes every week. One programme’s theme was ‘Creative’, so local poets, singers and dancers were interviewed and included in the show.

Mike Moodie, one of the fourth year radio mentors, revealed how he was apprehensive about working with the school kids at first, fearing a big workload. However, this soon vanished when he witnessed the efforts put in by the learners, and how eager and involved they became. “Working with the kids is really worth it, and they work really hard. Now they basically take over the show!” Moodie said.

The array of opportunities available to the pupils, combined with their enthusiasm, has resulted in a thriving programme, according to Moodie. It is hoped that the show will be extended to three hours by the end of the year, instead of the one hour slot it currently holds.

Moodie described how increased funding and better transport services for the Upstarters have already improved the programme compared to previous years, with future prospects looking even brighter.

After the show has wrapped, the 10 pupils bundle out of the studio, nudging each other and laughing, proudly discussing their production. Future journalists perhaps?

By Fabio De Dominicis, Rhodes University