'I never realised that my child felt the pain of what we were going through at that time in our lives. I didn’t think children were aware of so much that is going on around them'.
Rural South African children learn to produce radio programmes which document their lives, experiences and interests in the Abaqophi BakwaZisize Abakhanyayo project. They offer perspectives which are often overlooked by adults in their own neighbourhoods and in the world at large.
Through ongoing child-participatory processes, the project provides children with the skills and resources to use radio to tell their own stories, to ask questions they’d like answered, and to share their views and concerns.
Located in a remote district in northern KwaZulu-Natal province, participant children grow up amidst extensive poverty, a legacy of under-resourced or absent service provision, and a burgeoning HIV epidemic.
By facilitating broadcast and other use of the children’s programmes, the project aims to improve public awareness of issues facing South Africa’s children growing up in a context of poverty and the AIDS epidemic, and to challenge adults to consider and address children’s needs and experiences appropriately.
The project is a collaboration between Zisize Educational Trust, the Children's Institute at the University of Cape Town, and Okhayeni and Ntabayengwe primary schools in Ingwavuma.
The children name themselves the Abaqophi BakwaZisize Abakhanyayo – The Shining Recorders of Zisize.
In these individually-produced programmes, the children share personal stories and perspectives on important experiences in their lives.