Qaqamba was one of the first ever reporters when she joined the pilot radio station all the way back in 2009. To kick-start Radio Month, she has written about her experience with RX Radio, the role that radio has played in her life, and how she was able to use radio during the COVID-19 lockdown to share motivation and inspiration.

I became part of RX Radio before the station was officially created or built. Back in 2009 I was 10 years old when I met Gabs and his 3 friends. He came to E1 to talk to me and I guess Sister Booth had recommended me to him since I was the only patient at that age in E1, other than young babies. At that time, I didn’t know that this would turn into the great idea that Gabs had about starting a children’s radio station. It was only in 2016 when we reconnected again and he told me that he managed to raise funds to build a radio station in Red Cross Children’s Hospital. That’s when we started again from where we left off in 2009.

During my training in 2017, I was asked what kind of show do I want to have. I really could not think of what kind of topic I wanted to focus on until I thought back on the time I was in hospital in 2009. So I decided to have a show about inspiration and the reason behind this was the fact that when I was in hospital, I was inspired by people who just came around the ward to see patients and some would even pray for us. That got me thinking that Red Cross is a big hospital and I didn’t think those people would go to each and every ward. So the idea of my show was to inspire all the children in hospital through my show. I would get motivational speakers to interview and motive the patients at the same time. I have had a great time hosting Qaqamba’s Inspiration Corner because I had the opportunity to give hope to those who are feeling hopeless. And luckily a result of my show is that I sometimes also get motivated myself by my guests’ stories. What I have learned from my show is that we all need some motivation or words of encouragement sometimes without even knowing it. I really think during this difficult time, my show impacted people in some way or another and I think we need any motivation we can get – especially for those brave patients and healthcare workers.

Last year during the first lockdown, I could still continue with my show because I was in a place that had all the equipment. I was so happy to be able to motivate and continue to give hope to people through my show – especially during the difficult time of the Coronavirus. During this time, I would interview people from different religious groups each week to give words of encouragement to the listener during a time where many religious institutions were closed to the public. I also interviewed people who fought this virus and this particular segment gave me hope as my chronic condition made me very scared to contract Coronavirus because I didn’t feel that I had the strength to fight it. By interviewing those people, I drew hope and strength, and realised that a person can beat and recover from this virus. What I also learned from having my show during lockdown is that we all have to do our bit, while healthcare workers are busy trying to help the ill, I can do my bit by using my time to motivate them and promote the fact that together we are stronger.

Overall, radio means a lot to me – especially RX Radio. I have learned a lot of things from this radio station – I have learned that practice makes perfect and that it’s okay to make mistakes. I remember the first time being live on air, I was so nervous and I made so many mistakes, but soon I realised that this is okay and that what matters is how we recover from our mistakes. I have learned that everyone has an important story to tell and that every story is unique. It has also showed me that radio is a powerful tool to share these stories with other people. I have gained friends, sisters and brothers through RX Radio. Radio to me is very important and a day doesn’t go by without listening to my old RX Radio show or to Mhlobo Wenene radio station.

I would like to say thank you to Gabs for the opportunity of being part of a radio station and a thank you to Sr Booth for introducing me to Gabs. I would also like to say thank you to the rest of RX Radio team for loving and understanding me – I know sometimes I can be very difficult.