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Spotlight on the first gay radio station in South Africa (BBC)

A cheery voice greets radio listeners: “Good morning, this is Gay SA Radio.”

Hendrik Baird is the station manager at South Africa’s first radio station aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities. The station is trying to counter homophobia and break down stereotypes in South Africa.

Gay SA Radio broadcasts from a house which has been converted into studio and office space, where 30 unpaid volunteers put together the programming. The station began broadcasting online in August 2015. It started by broadcasting a playlist with one weekly live broadcast, adding more live and pre-recorded content as the station developed.

Waseem is a presenter with the radio station, hosting The Steamroom. The show addresses gay sex and relationships. He says, “It’s kind of unique when people hear that a gay Muslim man is hosting a sex and relationships show. I’m trying to change people’s mindsets regarding that.”

There is still a huge amount of hatred and violence aimed at homosexuals in South Africa. Mr. Baird says, “We think it’s important to educate.” This includes discussing the history of gay pride and the gay liberation movement.

But they also want to offer entertainment, including music and interviews.

Lesego Ramagona is a presenter with Gay SA Radio, and is known as “Sugarman” on the airwaves. He is not gay, but wanted to get involved with Gay SA Radio because he wants people to know that gays and lesbians are just normal people. He says, “We all have a friend or relative who’s gay.”

Mr. Baird adds: “I think it’s important for gay people to have a voice, especially on the African continent. There are so many countries that have very repressive legislation, and Gay SA Radio is really the only place where gay people have a voice and can actually say things that are not only important to them, but to demystify homosexuality.”

This story is based on a video from BBC, titled “South Africa’s gay radio station makes waves.” To watch the video, go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-36865106/inside-africas-only-gay-radio-station [1]


Photo credit: BBC