“It’s nice to swim”

This is not really a signature story of Radio Changes. There’s no radio changes in it. But there’s radio and there’s changes. ”It’s nice to swim” is a six minutes audioscape on what Christmas sounded like in Carl Sithole Centre’s children’s home in Soweto, Johannesburg. The changing question goes: what are you grateful for?

We cycled to Carl Sithole Centre as we learned that it’s run by two Finnish people: Metti and Tero Saajoranta. We recorded the Christmas magic since what can you do when you meet a Santa speaking all the 11 official languages of SA. We asked about gratefulness since it’s one of the biggest things that surprises us here, day by day – because it’s quite often missing in front of small things and good basic life in Finland. Pardon, ei ole tarkoitus jeesustella. Usein vain tuntuu, että niin moni asia Suomessa on hyvin, että perusasioita pitää itsestäänselvyyksinä. Siksi ennen joulua syntyi tällainen juttu. Ja se, että perusasioista on kiitollinen, ei tarkoita, etteikö kaikkea voi parantaa ja kyseenalaistaa. Kiitollisuus on bensaa.

Thank you for a hot day’s Chrismas party, everyone at Carl Sithole Centre on the 18th of December 2014. A special thanks to Santa, the longtime renowned chauffeur of the Finnish Embassy in South Africa. Haha, off went the fairytale Santa magic… But this man was true magic, as were the kids’ Christmas gifts and lunch offered by the embassy staff.

Photo: Matias

“Bring back this culture of radio dramas!”

Coco Merckel is a renowned South-African performer, writer, producer and director. Graduated from FUBA (Federated Union of Black Artists), he has been professionally hyperactive in the theatre, film and television as well as in community and corporate theatre fields for 22 years. In theatre he is best known for his critically acclaimed one-man show “No Room for Squares”. In TV his role as Witboy in the sitcom “Suburban Bliss” won him a nomination for an Artes Award for best actor in a comedy. In community theatre Coco tours as a field worker locally and internationally for the Market Theatre Laboratory.

Born in Westbury Johannesburg, Coco has settled one of his community theatre projects in Westbury Youth Centre. The project, created and run together with Esmeralda Bihl, a renowned actress born in the Westbury-neighbouring Newclare, trains the drama group of WYC on how to develop, write and perform a radio drama. The changes are there! They’re here. They’re tactile. The WYC drama group is bringing radio drama back to local radio stations. The students write and produce drama series on issues true in their lives and raised during their research sessions in Westbury and its neighboring communities. They are changing themselves and their communities. No exaggeration here. Just a big hand to Coco and Esmeralda. And a small, equally true one for WYC Radio device donators.

Each series of the “I Am Awe-Ness Productions'” radio dramas has five episodes. The first of the series “It only takes one line” focuses on substance abuse. It is broadcasted in partnership with Eldos FM as well as in WYC Radio SoundCloud. The first airing on Eldos FM was on 25th October 2014, and the series will be broadcasted again in the beginning of November.

The next series? Soon.

Listen to a man passionate in radio drama and convinced in its power. Listen to his students in action. He’s crazy, yes. It’s all true.

Photo of the recording of “It only takes one line” by I am Awe-Ness Productions: Matias Harju