Dr Paul Moore is a lecturer
in Media Studies at the University of Ulster, Coleraine.
You will know
him as a regular contributor and presenter for "Your
Place & Mine".
On Saturday 2nd July 2005 he presented Your
Place & Mine as part of the Africa Lives
On The BBC season
and played recordings he made over the last two years
while he was working in Namibia. In this article, Paul
talks about some of his wonderful experiences in Namibia.
"Poverty, HIV/Aids and
amazing music; that was the real extent of
my knowledge of Africa before I had the opportunity
to go and work in Namibia." says
"A couple of years ago I was asked
to take part in a British Council initiative
to develop media education in the Namibian
capital, Windhoek, and to help re-establish
a community radio station for the black community
of Katatura on the outskirts of the city."
The reason I was asked was because of my lecturing
role in the Media Studies section at the University
of Ulster in Coleraine and my involvement as a freelance
presenter with BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle.
Both these jobs had given me experiences which it was
felt might mean I had something to offer this developing
area of the Namibian cultural landscape. Unfortunately,
nothing could have prepared me for the experiences
I have had over the last two years.
Namibia is, in fact,
very like Northern Ireland. Each has a population
of approximately one and a half million, each
is coming out of a period of sustained civil
and each is trying to find ways to construct
some kind of cultural consensus, although in
case this consensus has to be found for 13 different
cultural groups rather than two.
Namibia is a country
of incredible beauty, both of landscape and
wildlife and it has a rich tradition
of artistic excellence.
The college I worked in
while there was once a hostel for mine workers,
of pain and oppression which has now been
given a new
lease of life as a centre for learning and hope
for the future.
A telephone shop in
Namibians see the media as crucial in the
building of their newly independent nation. The
students I have taught in the College (aged 17
to 21) have a firm belief that they will work
in the media industry and ‘make a difference’.
They are highly competent in production work
and are trying to create radio forms that represent
their culture and their nation of which they
are rightly proud.
It is fitting that, as the public service broadcaster
in the UK, the BBC should be celebrating Africa
through various media forms since all the African
states understand the importance of representing
themselves positively. And I am especially pleased
that on 2nd July I have the privilege of presenting
a special edition of Your Place & Mine that
will showcase the work of the students I have
been working with.
These students have tried to produce radio vignettes
about their life and about life in Namibia and these
will be played throughout the programme. They will
be played exactly as the students recorded them, using
the technology that was available to them.
These radio soundscapes offer an insight into the
confidence and hopes these young people have for the
future and give a sense of the pride they feel for
their developing nation. And the following week, on
Saturday July 9 2005, I will also have the privilege
of being back in Africa, this time in a cultural festival
in Zanzibar, from where Your Place and Mine will again
link up with me live.
|Amore is a 2nd year media student at the Kakatura
Arts College. She is studying radio production.
"I love radio as a medium. It helps me share different
ideas with others".
a student and part-time lecturer at the Kakatura
Arts College. "I love being at the Arts
Centre.. it's a great part of my life. My fellow
and peers go out and record new material and
experiment with ways of making it more captivating." Toivoi
was told about the Arts College and how it
taught TV & Radio technique. He was
there the very next day to join.
she wants to be on TV every day. "I love
acting and presenting in radio production.
me to express myself. I like creative and active
I know when I hear the voices of Lucia, Amore,
Joachim and Toivoi, I will once again
be transported to the Katatura Community Arts Centre
and feel again the rush
of pride and the sense of privilege that I have been
given the opportunity to work in such an environment.
Certainly, I have seen the poverty, the HIV/Aids and
been confronted with aspects of racial intolerance.
But the overwhelming sense I have of Africa is of a
continent confident that it can become a major global
Katatura Community Centre
I hope when you hear
the voices of Namibia you too will feel this confidence
and want to hear more from
the Africa Lives on the BBC season. And all I can say
is that if anyone gives you the chance to work in an
African country – jump at it. The worst that
can happen is that all the stereotypes and preconceptions
you have been carrying around with you will be banished
for ever. I know mine were!