After 40 months of talking to everyone from my son, Tshedza to cabinet Ministers from Tanzania to Cape Verde, world class authors and management gurus such as Tom Peters and global public speakers, 1000 African Voices has recorded its last voice. It’s a sad moment but also an exciting one as it means other doors can now open.
Throughout the 40 months that the project ran, there are a few key contributors I need to thank; Cynthia Makhubele for the unwavering belief in the project, Bandile Lukhele for the energy and drive that saw us pitch the project to the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Jones Maleka for the undying belief that there is still room for radio, Boitumelo Moneedi for the beautiful scripts and immaculate reports, the late Lungi Daweti, former Programme Manager for Channel Africa who said yes after we had received 21 no’s, Gcobani Schalk, a good friend who has listened to all the episodes and continued to provide guidance behind the scenes. Sam Ganich from Bosnia and Herzegovina produced over 100 of our episodes and without his service the show would not have lasted this long, Evita Situma whose idea it was in the first place for us to do the show. Debbie Williams also deserves to be thanked as does Bongani Madikila for contributing to the range of guests we have had.
Above all, thank you to our guests for being so generous with their time.
On the 18th of November 2017, after ruminating on the idea for about a month I decided to launch a Podcast. This was following a Sunday conversation with a friend who was later going to be the first guest on the show. Evita Situma, or Eve for short deserves as much credit as anyone for giving birth to the idea of creating a platform that gives Africans a different perspective on their continent. Evita grew up in Zimbabwe but has a strong heritage that stems from Kenya and Tanzania.
In 2021, there is a proliferation of podcasts from all over the world focussing on any topic imaginable. Back in 2017, although the Americans were producing a lot of content, our continent only had a handful of podcasts from which to select. Something about that wasn’t right. An African child should have access to familiar content.
In 2021, four in each 10 individuals in the continent use the internet or have access to the internet. This is in stark contrast to the 90% penetration rate in the United States of America and the European Union. This is a sad situation for the African continent but equally a significant opportunity for new African entrants. As the cost of data continues to drop and penetration increases Africans will continue to consume digital audio content.
A Thousand African Voices has tried to bring forth the voices of Africans from all walks of life. We have engaged with sportsman and women, writers, actors, public speakers, policy makers, influencers, DJs, musicians etc. Our platform has served to amplify the African voice. Our guests have allowed us to explore topics ranging from existential politics, the power of YouTube, knowing oneself, rags to riches stories and the things that make us laugh.
It took 40 months to speak to 150 influential voices across the continent and in the diaspora. A project that started with wanting to connect Africans with each other culminated in a show made in Africa, by Africans and for Africans everywhere across the globe.
Hosting this podcast has been one of my life’s proudest achievements. I have learned a lot from being on the other side of the conversation. The feeling you get when you say hello for the first time and the person on the other side says hello back is second to none. More so, when those persons are the likes of Vusi Thembekwayo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Euphonik, Tom Peters, Mark Angel, Amy Ochiel Ochieng, Robert Katende, Peral Kupe, Ntsiki Mazwai, Vinolia Mabele (Ms. United Nations), Gciniwe Fakudze, DJ Zinhle, Bonnie Mbuli, Niniola, Veda Sunassee, Carol Ndosi, Tunde Badmuss, Professor Andre Roux, Minister Elisabeth Moreno, Eddy Kenzo, Azziad Nasenya and Nelson Kwaje, it is a feeling that is hard to compare.
As we bow out as the 1000 African Voices team, I am happy that there are projects that are amplifying the work we tried to do. Mobile Journalism Africa led by Emmanuel Yegon Kenya) and his team is a great project. Although my podcast hero, Andile Masuku (Zimbabwe) of the African Tech Roundup fame has retired his podcast it is worth checking out the work they have been able to do. MacGyver Mukwevho’s Podcast and Chill project (South Africa) is set to shape how Africans produce content. On Twitter, @AfricaFactsZone (Nigeria) provides some really good and informative content.
We can choose to wait for change to happen or we can choose to be the change we want to see. Take care Africa.
Every person has a story to tell. I knew this before I started the show, I was constantly reminded of this during the 150 recordings I believe it is an adage that will continue to hold true.
Take a moment to say hello to a stranger. What you learn may surprise you.
Take care Africa.