In our communities, access to electricity is limited, and few people have TVs. While smart phones are advancing the availability to information, the cost of data, erratic network and charging of devices are still major inhibitors to connection. Furthermore, 60% of our population is unable to read, so accessible information is often a challenge. The most affordable, reliable, accessible, and popular form of information and entertainment in our community is the Bulungula Community Radio (BCR).
The BCR broadcasts from 6am until 12am daily, and employs nine DJs and a Station Manager. Content for the shows is developed with the support of the Bulungula Incubator, and includes current news, education and awareness, and (of course!) the hottest jams. Over the years, the BCR has earned the trust of our community, and has expanded its reach to 73 surrounding villages. Throughout the COVID pandemic in particular, the BCR has played a vital role in keeping the community informed, and running different campaigns around safety protocol, testing, and vaccinations.
Since the BCR is highly respected in our community, the DJs are viewed as ‘local celebrities’ and role models. With this elevated status, we are positioning them to be influencers both on and off air by hosting live shows at schools and other community events. These live shows are intended to inspire learning and change in fun ways around issues faced in our community, including topics in sexual and reproductive health.
In 2018, DJ SK decided to move from his home in Cwebe (an 1.5 hour drive away) after hearing about the opportunity to DJ at the BCR. SK has always loved listening to the radio, and was inspired by the legendary DJ Saba Mbixane to start a career in radio broadcasting. Over time, SK has built his reputation as a prominent DJ in South Africa, earning him interviews with high profile artists including Thokozani Langa, Bonakele, and The Soul Brothers, and even has a song written about him and the BCR! This year, we are proud to announce that DJ SK is the new Station Manager at the BCR.
Moreover, we have the exciting opportunity to partner with Viva Con Agua, an organisation that focuses on providing water, sanitation and hygiene services. This year, Viva Con Agua has been supporting the BCR, and will also expand their impact on youth development by partnering with our Job Skills Entrepreneurship Programme at the Bulungula College, which provides training for youth in a range of accredited courses.
We have so much to look forward to as the BCR continues to grow and spread vibrancy in our community. Siyi BCR!