By Martin Chemhere, Johannesburg – The Baobab Lounge – expressions of Africa’s Diaspora as lived in Joburg, South Africa! The Baobab Lounge connecting hearts, minds and souls from Dakar to Addis Ababa, Yaounde to Maputo, Nairobi to Joburg!! The Baobab Lounge sharing stories of life through a dynamic and evolving contemporary culture and heritage!! The Baobab Lounge, the radio voice of African communities in South Africa.
Yes, it is happening and you may have already tuned to this noble and long awaited exclusive migrant community media based in Johannesburg.
Its birth arrives at a time when South Africa is at the cross roads of multicultural representation and portrayal. The xenophobic attacks witnessed in 2008 and their sporadic occurrence, since then, call for an intervention of this noble medium.
The Baobab Lounge is a radio show which highlights ‘positive’ and affirming stories and voices of Joburg’s African Diaspora experience.
Judging from the number of Diasporans in the country and their small-but-growing voice in the local media, the new project should enjoy a good return in the next few weeks. The response, through live calls presentation would be a point for further extension from the current one hour slot.
The producers of the show are also planning a regular community news slot.
Its name derives from the famed and revered Baobab tree – known as the ‘Tree of life´, also a majestic, ancient symbol of strength, pride and wisdom in Africa.
The station is inspired by the ancient traditions of storytelling and orature that characterize the African Diaspora. In the in days of yore the elders would gather communities around the fire, under the tree to share dreams, memories and visions for the future in story-telling. These stories captured a legacy of African value systems, morals, social codes and ancestral voices over the generations.
“In the Baobab Lounge, we tell contemporary stories of the African Diaspora in Joburg. Evolving tradition and weaving tapestries of our lives at once imagined and experienced, creating unique footsteps in the sand……”, read a statement from the radio station.
Hosted by citizen of the world and humanity-conscious woman, D-Empress, the radio broadcasts every Monday from 9:00 – 10:00 in Joburg on Radio Today 1485AM/MW. It can also be picked up on DStv across Southern Africa and on the internet.
A writer, envoy, storyteller and multi-media producer of words, voice and images of the African Diaspora, she explores and documents contemporary voices of culture and Afropolitan living in print, on radio, television and online.
D-Empress is a daughter of the African Diaspora based and living in South Africa for the past 15 years. During this time, she has worked and traveled extensively across Africa and the Diaspora. She is a cultural entrepreneur and impassioned African Diaspora cultural ambassador.
Her urban nomad life experiences across Africa, Europe, the USA and the Caribbean form the backdrop to D-Empress’ world. Through her travels, she has nurtured a sensibility and passion for building bridges of knowledge and understanding between communities of African descent wherever they may be in the world.
In her words: “As we evolve in globally connected communities, I’m always inspired by the many ways in which culture and tradition is constantly in motion across the African-Diaspora. We have so many stories to tell. These are our modern day myths which are a tapestry of experiences, dreams, visions, achievements and challenges. I’m interested in conversations which illuminate contemporary voices, thinking, feeling and being in African Diaspora culture.”
She believes in the importance of preserving and passing on traditional values and practices no matter where we are in the world and that the onus is on each new generation to consciously construct modern expressions of our cultural heritage.
“It is through our stories, myths and legends that our children will inherit a solid baobab of knowledge which they can lean on and use as reference points in defining their life experiences, their contribution to the world, their humanity”.
“Each day brings us an opportunity to participate in building a rich legacy for the next generation. We do that here in the Baobab Lounge by sharing stories which illuminate, excite, analyze and document our valuable contemporary experience as Afro-politan citizens of the world”, says D-Empress.