'If we act as a community, we can combat these problems', says the young female host about juvenile crime in the country. Kids News Bona Retsang, meaning 'See what we do' in Sesotho, one of the eleven official languages, emphasizes the strength and potential of young multi-cultural South-Africa. The program is being hosted by a white young man and a black young lady, as children of Nelson Mandela's rainbow-nation. Eighteen years after South-Africa abandoned Apartheid, the country is still dramatically racially divided. 'Bona Retsang shows South-Africa's racial and cultural diversity in a favourable light, despite the ongoing race-issue', says program coordinator Nada Josimovic of Free Press Unlimited.
How to make news attractive for South-African teenagers
Approximately 40 percent of South-Africa's population consists out of youth under 18. The majority is between 12 and 17 years old. For this age-group qualitative news programs barely exist. Therefore Vusulela Media has founded Bona Retsang, in cooperation with Kids News Network, a Free Press Unlimited project. This weekly magazine integrates entertainment with local and international news which is relevant for South-African's youth. This combination is used as a strategy to appeal to youngsters between 14 to 17, the target group of Bona Retsang. The program is also hoping to reach the 12 and 13 year olds. 'Our education is the worst in comparison with 62 countries! Even our terrible football team, ranked 84 out of 207, is doing better! Disgrace! We are failing!', shouts Boogooman Bhoba as a reaction on the outcome of the World Economic Forum education study, which reveals South-Africa's poor educational state. The comedian Boogooman ends every Bona Retsang magazine with his own satirical version of the news. This way, hard news-facts are being compensated with a more light-hearted approach, which makes news much more attractive for South-African teenagers.
'Within the program the target group is being encouraged to participate. Youngsters can submit videos with a message they feel like sharing', says Josimovic. The sixteen year old girl Vuyiswa submitted a video in which she reads out a self-written poem about education: 'Education is what I am. I increase the capacity of humans. You may call me the key to success, with this key I open every closed door'. Bona Retsang emphasizes the importance of education as the engine of progress in South-Africa. Josimovic praises the commitment of Bona Retsang's young journalists. 'With hardly any preparation or training, they managed to achieve high quality in little time. The prospects for the future are great, considering the huge commitment of the entire BR team, particularly editor-in-chief Lisa Blake.'
Interested in watching an episode of Bona Retsang? Check out the link upper left.