This project is essentially the expansion of our project work into the rest of Africa as a solidarity effort and includes partnerships with trade union federations of 10 participating countries. So far, we have had our radio shows broadcast by SABC Channel Africa, as well as by public broadcasters in Uganda, Ghana, Zambia and Malawi. This has gone well, particularly in Uganda, where there has been a substantial buy-in at leadership level. However, it is difficult for us to support, due to our limited organisational and financial resources. We are working with ITUC-Africa to take over responsibility for running the project from their offices in Lome’, Togo.
The aim of the project is to build the media capacity of the trade union movement on the continent and in each country, primarily through weekly labour radio shows for conscientising workers and the public and supporting their organising work.
In addition to the countries mentioned above, the project involves stakeholders in Nigeria, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho.
Since the inception of the project we’ve had a good relationship with SABC Channel Africa consolidated with an annually renewed memorandum of understanding for the production of a weekly Africa Labour Radio Show called Mshikamano (referring to unity and cohesion in Swahili). Since 2012 and we have been in contact with international broadcasters based in Britain, The Netherlands and Germany to broadcast the show but they are not interested.
Since 2012 we’ve broadcasted these shows on several South African community broadcasters and a monthly live show on the SAFM’s Workers on Wednesday.
Some of the topics the radio shows have covered include:
- Multinationals in Africa
- Trade union investment companies
- The uprisings in North Africa
- Climate change and the trade union response
- Organising under oppressive governments, such as Swaziland and Zimbabwe
- Police brutality during strikes, and the role of police unions
- Deployment of trade unions into government: does this serve workers?
- Youth unemployment
- Economic crisis and the trade union response
- Unions and the mainstream media
- Women in trade unions
- Organising in the informal sector
- HIV & Aids and the role of unions
We believe this introduces a very important and rich dialogue to a diverse audience across the sub-continent. We have plans for a number of future shows as well. Since 2011 we have been focusing on broadening participation at country level by developing country project teams that include representatives from other working class organisations, global unions and labour service groups.
The project has also promoted campaigning for freedom of expression and media freedom in Africa supported by a related publication.