Welcome to my elective blog. Based on my work done over six month in 2011 I elected to work on a project with children. I was commissioned by The Children's Radio Foundation to put together a few packages for two of their show. I then went about producing four packages over a number of weeks. Two packages were aired on a show about literacy and another two on a show about heritage.

My work can be found on Children's Radio Foundation blog site.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Heard on the radio

This week has been a slow week for me. I spent most of it editing the two packages I’ve been working on for the literacy show. It’s all come to an end with the interviewing last week, but I think that through listening through all the interviews again and editing, I’ve actually realised how much I’ve learned from both interviews.
Over the previous weekend I started most of the editing of Richard’s package and during this past week I spent time looking for opportunities to add ambience to his story. So I looked over my paper edit, listened to the edited package again and again, and then finally to the whole interview trying to find something I’d missed, but found nothing that I would make sense to add to the angle of his story I had chosen. As I listened and to the interview I stumbled on something else that I hadn’t been listening for. Richard’s story. I know it sounds strange to say I was hearing his story for the first time, but I honestly was. Past literacy and doing everyday life, Richard leads a better life than most sighted people. I get the sense that Richard has spent much time reflecting on his life and his circumstance.This was the story he was telling. When I had introduced myself and was fixing my mic levels, Richard's instinct was to talk about himself. He first spoke about his musical interests. He plays the marimba and this was something he stumbled upon one day. He heard the instrument playing while he was coming past and her enquired. Now he plays and teaches the marimba. He's also a bee keeper and enjoys hearing people's fascination at his ability to do this. "I'm capable" is what he repeated after explaining each thing he knows how to do, almost as if to say he's as normal as the sighted person. He speaks very honestly and openly about his experiences both on and off mic. His drive in life is to see to it that other blind people become literate and learn to read, but that they also never become dependant on sighted people. I walked with Richard to town and it was amazing to see him navigate his way around town. I don't know Grahamstown all to well and he basically took me down one street but managed to tell me what street was vertical to the one we were crossing and where it leads. People started at me and him, at first I was self conscious, but then I forgot about other people and listened to the things Richard had to say about his town and his experiences.

Basically, I feel like the real story happened off mic and during mic check. The limit of  working with an angle is that when the real story is told, I had to look past that to find the bit of information that were relevant to the brief.

  With that said, Richard being a teachers was an important enough angle. There are some teachers who go over and above the call of duty, and I’d say that Richard is one of those, only difference is that he teaches blind students and they form part of a community that is largely not thought about. He’s one of the good teachers that will probably never receive the due accolade that he deserves, but I’m glad that I could focus the limelight on him in this small way.
I then went on to editing Athenkosi’s story as soon as I received my edited paper edit on Monday from Nina at the Children’s Radio Foundation. She felt that the story was short and the solution would be to include a reading of Athenkosi’s poem. He came in to studio to record his poem I am an African Boy. He wrote it in honour of Stephen Biko, one of his hero’s as a way of paying tribute to him. You can tell that it’s defiantly his favourite poem as he read it with such meaning. I had him do several takes which he willingly did and with each take I began to see his desire to be a performer.

The best part of this week was hearing my two packages on the Facebook page and then speaking to people who had heard the show on SAFM. I secretly enjoyed hearing the praise; people in Grahamstown were glad to have heard two local stories on a national platform. Athenkosi's story was also previewed on midday live with Ike Phahle on Friday. Shireen Badat, Upstarts project manager also heard the show and was happy to hear Upstart being pumped on national radio.

Enjoying the fact that my work has finally gone beyond my blog for the first time.


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