Prudence Ledwaba – South Africa

Prudence Ledwaba – South Africa


Date: August 27, 2015
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People are never too old to learn

It may look pretty much like baby steps, but it is progress in the right direction

Prudence remembers the day she was part of Gender Links (GL) in-house training at ZB FM as if it was yesterday. She talks about the excitement, the waiting and the eagerness as she hoped to learn more. Prudence joined ZB FM as a volunteer in 2013 and has since been allocated a mid-morning slot. As a community radio presenter Prudence has to walk over 10 km to reach the station and engage the listeners. It is a walk she enjoys. “When I started it was very difficult, I felt punished and neglected but the joy of engaging my listeners and sharing information kept me going”. Prudence is one of the many rural radio fanatics who make a living from the stipend that is received; a stipend that might not even be there at the end of the month. She describes the in-house workshop as fantastic and fruitful.

“I wake every day and I asked myself a question about the listeners. The big question that I can’t seem to answer is are they all women?” Prudence says her first encounter with GL was the best because it was through GL’s work that she is now able engage her listeners better. She states that, initially, when she started her programme, she had an idea that the programme was for women and all the topics she explored on the programme only addressed issues that were of relevance to women. The mid-morning show, popularly referred to as a magazine show, covers topics ranging from women’s health to beauty and fashion. This is so particularly because it is one of the many programmes that are blatantly designed to be women’s programmes. Prudence admitted that she had no idea what she was doing on the programme and never thought there could be men listening as well.

At a personal level, Prudence says her confidence as a female presenter was enhanced by the the COE workshop. “I was encouraged to take charge of my work and excel.” She added that her attitude towards people of different sexual orientation has totally changed and she now has a better understanding of the concept of gender than she had before. Most of the local listeners that Prudence is able to freely engage with are women who work on the farm. The ZB citrus estate is close to where the ZB community radio is situated. Prudence says most the women who work there do not really know and understand their rights and she believes her role as a female presenter is to educate these women. “I believe Gender Links should take full credit for my suden transformation as a presenter, I now understand what gender is and am confident when I do my show”

Prudence believes that through the training she has received from GL she has acquired certain skills and improved on others. These skills include communication skills, she says she can now communicate fluently and with confidence. Her listening skills have also improved. She says she used to think she knew better than others, but has now grown to a point where she has learned that listening to her listeners remains the best method of learning.

Prudence says the one person who deserves a mention in her gender success story is Prof. Sheila Mmusi. According to Prudence, the professor is a very good role model to her as a young woman and to many other rural women who believe in their dreams. “Prof articulated passionately on the difference between sex and gender, and it was that session that opened my eyes and made me realise that I have to take myself seriously as a woman.

In moving forward Prudence recommends that GL continue to offer training of this nature and engage as many men as possible. According to her, it is easy to change if one is willing and that men are often stereotypical when it comes to issues of gender. “I intend to incorporate more gender topics in the programmes that I host, I believe this will educate many women out here who are abused so that they are able to stand up and report the violence.” Prudence says her job is not just to present a show but to make a difference in people lives as well.

“I believe as a media practitioner my job is not just to make announcements on air, but to also impact positively on the people I communicate with daily,” says Prudence.

 


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