SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: Vuselela Media, a non-profit company which aims to
improve the lives of South African youths through media training and education, has
expanded their reach with their current affairs and opinion show, Bona
Retsang, now airing on SABC1. Previously the 24-minute show, which is
targeted at 14- to 18-year -olds, broadcast on five community TV stations.
Bona Retsang is a collaboration between Vuselela, the European
Journalism Centre (EJC), Free Press Unlimited and Kids News Network. By
harnessing the power of community journalism, the show offers insights on
pertinent issues faced by the youth of South Africa, from their own perspectives.
The show is unique in that it broadcasts content made on cell phones and entry-
level camera equipment, made by high school students and youth community
journalists from across the country. Bona Retsang utilises
“groundbreakers’, which are leaders from the loveLife Media Wise programme, to
identify and uncover issues which are affecting their community. The Media Wise
programme aims to empower youths around the country with media and journalism
skills, so that they are able to engage with their community and give it a voice.
Shane Potgieter, a producer of the show said, “The viewer is a part of making the
show by showing us how they have over powered a problem, hence the name
Bona Retsang, a Sotho term meaning “Look at what we are
Grace Matlhape, CEO of loveLife commented “When you talk to young people you
realise that they know their situation the best and they already have the answers.
Yet there is such a gap between those perspectives and the solutions being shaped
into policy. That’s how our citizen journalism initiative came about, to give young
people a voice.’
Azile Elroy Maka, a groundbreaker from Kwanobuhle, said that the initiative and the
show made it possible for smaller towns and communities to share their views and
opinions with the rest of the country. “I come from a small town and the media
programme has really made me see things differently and allowed my community
to share their thoughts and opinions. Often in these smaller communities, people
are hesitant to tell their stories. They feel as though people only want to hear from
some of the larger communities. And I thought, but what about mine?’
Chermene Fisser of Free Press Unlimited added, “Children are eager to find out
what’s going on in the world around them and when you can offer them access to
reliable information, they are able to see that they may not be the only one in a
Watch Bona Retsang on SABC 1 on Wednesdays at 16h00, Thursdays
at 16h00 and Fridays at 16h00. Follow the show on Facebook or Twitter (@BonaRetsang).