KBMF STAFF MEMBERS ARE CURRENTLY SEEKING FUNDS TO TRAVEL TO NONGOMA, SOUTH AFRICA.
THIS TRIP WILL MATCH THE EFFORT MADE BY OUR ZULU COLLEAGUES,
WHO VISITED US IN BUTTE IN THE SUMMER OF 2017.
PLEASE READ BELOW TO FIND MORE ABOUT THIS STORY, AND WHERE WE CAN GO FROM HERE.
Fall 2016, community radio station KBMF-LP 102.5 in Butte, Montana began receiving online missives from Prince Sbo Zulu, founder of the South African radio station, Nongoma FM 88.3. Prince Sbo had discovered KBMF streaming online. Because both stations are founded on principles of social justice, community education and open-format entertainment, Sbo proposed a partnership. (Local newspaper coverage: http://bit.ly/2ekNiI3) KBMF welcomed the opportunity to share experiences, expertise and content, having already begun reaching out to other non-commercial radio stations, among them, several nearby Native American stations.
In support of this new partnership, Prince Sbo and two Zulu associates spent the summer in Butte as guests of KBMF. The trio were regular presenters on KBMF, traveled all over Montana, DJ'd a raucous Zulu Dance Party, served as Butte's 4th of July parade marshals, and attended Crow Native Days as honored guests of the Crow Nation. Throughout the three-month stay, the two stations continued to explore the idea of a consortium of like-minded radio stations intent on raising the quality of discourse within their listenerships. (More local coverage: http://bit.ly/2fNO9nF)
Now back in Nongoma, Sbo and team have informed KBMF that Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu is inviting four representatives of KBMF to visit kwaZulu Natal, both to learn more of Zulu culture first-hand and to continue exploring the rich potential in a global community-based radio consortium.
KBMF is honored by the invitation, especially since the two communities face similar economic and environmental challenges. Youth in both communities often miss out on economic and educational opportunities, and involvement with their local radio stations can change that.
KBMF would like to add true value to the Zulu community by developing further connections between the radio stations, such as news programs, and establish an ancillary charitable giving program called Butte and Beyond. This program would incentivize involvement for youth in the community radio station Nongoma FM 88.3, which sits in the seat of the Nongoma Local Municipality, by offering educational scholarships to radio station participants. By volunteering with their local community radio station, Zulu high schoolers would be eligible for a new charitable giving program wherein fees for college admission are covered through a scholarship fund.
This fund would also be established in Butte, one of the lowest-income counties in Montana. High schoolers in both communities (Nongoma, South Africa and Butte, Montana) would be encouraged to get involved with their community radio station, either through hosting music programs or other forms of volunteerism, and as a result, would have access to resources to further their education. These funds would be dispersed using criteria established collaboratively by the radio station managers, and would specifically recruit young, economically disadvantaged men and women who show aptitude for skills related to broadcasting (public speaking, attention to detail, love of music, journalistic observational skills).
Local support is strong for both stations, but both rural communities are challenged economically. We believe that this story of two radio stations provides a compelling antidote to the bigotry and mean-spiritedness too often dominating our media narratives these days. We envision a day when community radio stations representing a wide swath of humanity regularly share histories, hopes and irresistible music.
As an example of the type of cross-cultural exchange that occured on KBMF almost daily during our Zulu colleagues' three-month stay in Butte, listen to the program below. Let's Talk, Butte! is a talk program developed by the Zulus that continues to this day as part of the KBMF News Hour (Mondays at 4pm).