Afrikaans radio shows broadcast from the Australian towns of Geelong, Bundaberg and Fremantle…who would've thought? Abrama Ahlers and Erik Vosloo host a show on Radio Pulse 94.7FM in Geelong, Victoria, Rochelle Nieuwenhuizen's show Afrikaans is broadcast on Coral Coast Radio 94.7FM from Bundaberg, Queensland, and Erika von Kaschke hosts Oppiestasie on Radio Fremantle 107.9FM in Perth.
The hosts had no previous experience in radio and responded to advertisements from the radio stations looking for people from different ethnic groups who would host their own programs.
In August Abrama and Erika kicked off their first program, which is broadcast in English and Afrikaans, with the music of Chris Chameleon, and Erik has prepared an introduction to the program that features Shosholoza, Says Erik: “I got involved in radio because I thought it would be nice to hear South African voices and music on air and to provide a home away from home for South African immigrants.” Abrama describes the experience as “fabulous fun” saying that she is enjoying every single minute. They are very proud and humbled by the enthusiastic response from many South Africans in their region.
When Rochelle arrived in Bundaberg in 2001 hers was the third Afrikaans family to live in the area. “Now there are more than 38 South Africans in Bundaberg in the medical profession alone,” she says. “Yes, indeed, we are a very big happy family here.” Her show is broadcast live via the radio station's website so it's become “much bigger” than Rochelle thought it would be. “I have received phone calls in the studio from as far a field as Townsville, Noosa, Brisbane, Chinchilla, Gothford, Sydney, Kalgoorlie, Mandurah and Perth. I also have listeners in London, Ireland, Springs, Pretoria and the Cape.”
Erika says that she always had a passion for radio, but never thought that she'd be able to host a show. However, she heard about a community radio broadcasting course and started broadcasting her show two weeks after graduating. Asked why she started the show, Erika says: “I was feeling homesick and thought about things that were close to my heart. I've always loved Afrikaans and radio and have a passion for South Africans. I thought that a radio show would make people feel a little more at home when they are new in Perth. I call the program Oppiestasie because it has a double meaning. I hope that listeners will feel a bit more at home when they are listening.” Erika has had an overwhelmingly positive response to the program, and she says that people mostly try to think of ways to promote the show. Some people have also suggested that it be a South African program, not just an Afrikaans show. Erika hopes that more people will get involved in the show and that it grows to be more vibrant. “It would be great if we could get a second hour slot. It is difficult to cater for such a diverse audience in only an hour. I would also love to see this show be the first point of call for ‘what's on' in Perth.”
Erik and Abrama hope that in the future the program will bring together South Africans and create a close community with members who support one another. “Let's face it, we all need lots of support, especially in that first year. In addition, we would like to see different ethnic groups starting to understand one another to respecting one another's way of life.”
About the Show Hosts
Abrama: We lived in Pretoria for many years and moved to Geelong in January 2005. We have two boys aged 18 and 20. After doing odd jobs here and there during our first year in Australia, we started a science educational business Prof Bunsen Science.
Erik: I was a businessman in Pretoria. My wife Wilna and I move to Geelong in August 2008. She is the food and mouth specialist for Australia at CSIRO.
Rochelle: Van Alice, Kovsies, Witbank na Bundaberg, Queensland vanaf Oktober 2001. Ek is ‘n huishoudkunde onderwyseres en my man is in praktyk. Ons het twee kinders Elri (22) en Tiaan (21).
Erika: I am originally from Ceres, Western Cape. Together with my husband Martin and our two children, Erich (7) and Chloë (5) I left South African in 2004. We lived in Cambodia for three years and arrived in Australia in June 2007. I currently do communications work for the Institute of Agriculture at The University of Western Australia.
Rochelle: Daar is niks lekkerder as om daar in die ateljee te sit en die Afrikaans en Suid Afrikaanse musiek (veral die boeremusiek), te hoor in my oorfone en te weet ek bring dit vir almal wat inskakel. Elke week besef ek net weer hoe mooi ons Afrikaanse taal is en wat ‘n voorreg dit is om Afrikaans te kan praat hier in Australië.
A WORD OF ADVICE!
Erik & Abrama: Go out and meet people and visit places. See the move as an adventure that could just be the right tool to get your family members closer to one another. Do not worry too much about the kids as they are very adaptable. And embrace the positive and friendly Australian attitude.
Erika: Take one day at a time. Set up a South African corner in your garden. On days when you feel homesick, spend time in your corner and celebrate the good memories, but make that the starting point of your ‘letting go' process.