By Kennedy Nyavaya
Bulawayo-born media developer Ian P Venganai will, with the assistance of seven alumni from The Dow Academy in Mochudi (Botswana), set up an on-campus tele-radio station in an effort to enhance young voices and perspectives towards African development.
The platform, arguably the first of its kind at an African high school, is scheduled to start streaming in April with the team currently in the final stages of implementing the concept as well as setting up.
In an interview with Standard Style from his Botswana base, Ian P, one of Alpha Media Holdings’ Heart & Soul tele-radio (HSTV) pioneers, said the idea came to life after the realisation that young people in primary and secondary schools hardly get opportunities in mainstream media until the time they are at tertiary level or after graduation.
“I think we need to nurture the talent of young people in multimedia because most do not get a chance to showcase their talent or familiarise with media experiences until they finish a degree,” he said.
“We are taking advantage of the fact that the world is digital now so using different online platforms we can stream, Covid-19 makes it more appealing and relevant because we can get in touch with the world without much travelling from one place to the next.”
Applying a similar model to that of HSTV, The Dow Academy School radio will largely air talk shows and pursue themes of education, social and community issues with the pioneering alumni intern team expected to coordinate other voices from the school’s junior and senior ranks.
“We are not waiting for someone, but are doing it on our own from the initial set-up to the shows because these youngsters are already everywhere on social media creating various content so why not give them a prestigious platform to work with and produce something impactful?” quizzed Ian P, who heads the school’s media clubs.
“First, we want to make the world know about Mochudi where the school is located, then at some point we want to bring the [Botswana] president to address the country from here among other goals.”
Viewing himself as a “conduit making young people realise their dreams”, Ian P said he had dedicated his time towards amplifying the voices of others as he had been given the chance by people like media mogul and AMH owner Trevor Ncube.
“Children have uniquely powerful stories to tell and in a way we are preserving our own and not waiting for foreign content to influence us but we are building the world on our own,” he said.
“I think self-confidence is a big deal in Africa and I have noticed that we do not have enough of it so here and through such projects we are rediscovering ourselves, breaking barriers because the main constraints in the continent are not resources, but self-belief.”
He added that his ultimate goal is too replicate the idea across African borders and the whole world.
“My wish is to have media clubs across all schools in the African continent where we can talk about our own history as well as our heritage from our own perspective. I think it should start when they are young to believe that they can make it, it is harder when they have already grown with limitations,” he said.
“The most important thing I would like to see is young people collaborating across borders, between schools and may be then we can see an end to the xenophobic thoughts that we have.”