Coming up: New Sound Africa Season!

While you have been going about your business, we have been out recording. And it looks like a great 2018 for Sound Africa! First up is our new season, which will be released in full in early 2018, but already now you can listen to the first episode: The Heart Problem

For updates on the new season and everything else that’s happening next year, follow us on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to our Newsletter

Sound Africa Podcast

The Heart Problem

Its fifty years since the world’s first heart transplant was performed at Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town. But, there remains a persistent rumour that a black man called Hamilton Naki played a much bigger role than he has been given credit for. In this podcast SOUND AFRICA investigates and asks why this question still lingers all these years later.

Nuclear SA: Countdown

What will the future of South Africa’s energy sector look like? This is the guiding question that leads Sound Africa’s newest producer, Neroli Price, to paint three possible future scenarios. Speaking to a range of experts, activists and those trying out innovative alternatives, she takes the listener on a journey from paradise to hell, and ending up somewhere in the middle. Where we end up depends on the choices that we make now and who we include on the proverbial lifeboat to the future.

Nuclear SA: Uranium Rush

In this third instalment of Sound Africa’s Nuclear SA mini-series, Dhashen Moodley takes a look at the potential consequences of uranium mining in the Karoo. We speak to a Khoi-San activist who, drawing parallels with recent protests at Standing Rock in the USA, worries about the threat uranium mining poses to water supplies in this arid land. Meanwhile local farmers voice their concerns, politicians are enticed with promises of job creation, and mining companies continue to chase profit margins. Uranium mining in the Karoo is a potentially explosive story, with enormous social and economic consequences, yet it has largely been overlooked.

Nuclear SA: Enrichment

South Africans would already be familiar with headlines warning of the likelihood of enormous corruption in the nuclear procurement programme. Is this just hysteria, or is there reason to fear that we’re headed towards something like the “arms deal on steroids”? To help answer this question, we situate the nuclear deal in its international context, finding out what went wrong with a current nuclear programme in Finland, and getting a better sense of the Russian state-owned company involved in both the Finnish and South African deals.

Nuclear SA: The Laager

In 1993 South Africa became the only country to voluntarily dismantle its nuclear arsenal. But behind this widely-praised move was a shadowy history of a secret apartheid nuclear programme. In this episode, we delve into this hidden chapter of our nuclear past.

This is the first of a four-part Sound Africa series exploring the tangled web of South Africa’s nuclear past, present and future.

Reporter Rasmus Bitsch begins this story at an art gallery in Johannesburg’s stylish suburb of Maboneng, where artist Vincent Bezuidenhout is shining a spotlight on South Africa’s secret nuclear history through his exhibition Fail Deadly. From there, we connect the dots between the struggle against apartheid, the Cold War, and South Africa’s development of nuclear weapons.

How important was the nuclear programme in the close-knit defensive position, or laager, adopted by the Afrikaner nationalist government? And did the bomb contribute to the state’s siege mentality? What history shows is that the nuclear programme fostered secrecy and paranoia, and it arguably still casts a shadow over South African politics today.

*We regret an error in the recording of this episode in which we incorrectly state that Che Guevara led troops into the war in Angola.*

Episode 7: SPECIAL – African Space The Live Documentary

African Space – The Live Documentary is a live recording of a collaboration between Sound Africa and Encounters South African International Documentary Festival.

It is a poetic journey featuring internationally renowned astronomers and townspeople of the Karoo. What they all share is a proximity to the biggest science project in the world: a giant radio telescope called The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) under construction. Sometimes the journey is intergalactic other times dusty and local, but it always takes place somewhere between technology and dream.

Episode 6: Hilton Schilder’s Catheter Symphony

Hilton Schilder’s Catheter Symphony is a jazzy journey through the mother city and the hypercreative mind of pianist and composer Hilton Schilder. We get a musician’s-eye view of what it was like growing up in the Cape Flats under apartheid, and an intimate glimpse into Schilder’s current struggle with cancer. Hospital bed compositions and irreverent humour help this colourful and quintessentially Capetonian artist get through the hard times.”

Episode 5: The Wait is Almost Over Part 2

In this episode, Yolande recalls the details of her and Pierre’s captivity, relations with her captors, and the ever-present threat of done strikes. We also take an in-depth look at the efforts of the civilian negotiators to bring Pierre home, and how these efforts ran into conflict with government policies.


Episode 4: The Wait is Almost Over Part 1

In May 2013, Pierre and Yolande Korkie were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda. In the chaos of post-revolutionary Yemen, it was left up to an innovative local aid worker and his South African boss to secure the couple’s release. This is the story of their painstaking efforts to track down the Korkies and the delicate negotiations that ensued.


Episode 3: The Devil In Joburg

A reporter investigates the high number of reported occult crimes in South Africa. Among others he meets an archbishop, a passionate academic and a man they call Gods Detective.

Episode 2: The Boy Who Didn’t Die

Mdalaga Mrisho  shares his incredible story of fleeing war in Burundi, escaping an army and traveling through the deep Congo forest and half the continent alone as a child. This is both an extraordinary tale and a much too common story today, where an estimated 6000 children from Burundi are alone on the run.

Episode 1: African Space

The Afronaut: An introduction to a largely forgotten space program in Zambia in the 1960s. Did the leader of this wildly ambitious project, Edward Nkoloso, have a plan or was he just the delusional eccentric he was later made out to be?

The Telescope: A small town in the Karoo Desert of Northern South Africa has finally found its place in the world with the establishment of one of the biggest international science projects of our time. As the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) begins to take shape, we look at the telescope network that will likely transform the way we understand the universe and our place in it.

Founded in 2015, SOUND AFRICA is a podcast that aims to capture some of the dizzying complexity of South Africa and the continent.

It is the brainchild of a group of dedicated journalists who saw a need for innovative, informed, and in-depth coverage of the world’s second most populous continent, told in ways that are creative and accessible, and through a rapidly expanding new medium.

Podcasting is a new frontier in journalism, and as more and more people are connected to the internet across Africa there is growing potential for podcasts to transform the media landscape.

Huge gaps are waiting to be filled in the way Africa’s stories are told across the continent and abroad, and Sound Africa is playing its part in filling these gaps. We’re a homegrown media organisation producing original content that is able to upend the weary old clichés we’ve become accustomed to in the coverage of Africa. We seek out the untold and obscure, go beyond surface-level coverage of big events, and shed light on matters of public interest without losing sight of the human interest. In doing so we aim to amplify African voices through the power of digital audio and the internet.

Podcasting enables us to do a lot with a little, to tell powerful and compelling stories that reach international audiences. We’re at the forefront of the podcast medium in South Africa, and we aim to foster a greater appreciation for podcasts. Which is why we not only produce high quality content but are also the creators of South Africa’s first Radio Cinema.

We’ve also begun a training programme for storytellers and aspiring journalists, which we plan to expand through regular training workshops. Meanwhile our network of contributors and media partners continues to spread. We’re always on the lookout for talented journalists from different parts of Africa who share a deep interest in the continent and its diaspora, and we’re open to new ideas, so if you fit the mould then get in touch with us! Send us an email: info@soundafrica.org.

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