On the 18th of May 2011, South Africans took to the polls to put their mark in the fourth Local Government Elections. The race to the elections was an interesting one. Political parties pulled out all the stops to ensure that they received as many votes as possible, and the battle for the Western Cape was especially hotly contested.
As part of Bush Radio’s plan to cover this momentous event (which saw a higher voter turnout than in previous local government elections) Bush Radio trained nine first year journalism students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
With the help of these students, we brought you live reports from voting stations all over Cape Town. Together with our regular newsteam these students were our roaming reporters on the day as well as bringing reports and live programmes from the IEC results centre until the final results were announced.
Here the students share their experiences of being trained, working with, and reporting for Bush Radio with you:
“The 2011 local government elections were a nail-biting event, as it saw the leading party, the ANC and the official opposition the DA pulling out all stops to win the votes of the many registered South African voters. Being in the middle of this highly contested election was both a very nerve-wracking and very exciting experience for me. Reporting live for Bush Radio and speaking with both for time and regular was an experience that I will cherish for a very long time.”
“Working with Bush Radio is certainly great, but to get to cover the 2011 Local Government Elections and get to interview candidate councillors for different wards was an opportunity to die for. As a young and aspiring journalist, I had the opportunity to mingle with different political officials as they made their last minute rounds before the voting stations doors closed at 7pm on Election Day. It was a great experience being live on radio for the first time, although nervous at first, but it kept me on the edge and it became the drive for me to deliver the best of my ability. I am certainly looking forward to working with Bush Radio in future, and I thank the whole team at Bush Radio who went out of their way to make sure we were ready for the big day. Thank you to our CPUT colleagues and lecturer Mr Shepi Mati for believing in us.”
“When they told us we are going to be reporting live from our voting stations, I was nervous. I didn’t know how to feel, what to feel. When I started that morning it was cold but I made the most of it. As the time for my live cross approached, my heart was beating faster. But after that it went better. Despite me being nervous, I was excited at the time. I was going to vote for the very first time. That experience cannot be put into words. I sounded somewhat professional although I’m still a student. The Bush Radio team put a great deal of energy and faith into training us for this particular task and they are great for that. Not forgetting Mr. Mati for all his awesomeness.”
“As a young journalist and a person who is studying journalism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, being on the field is the most important thing that I always wished would happen in my career. On the 18th may 2011, I can say my dream had come true. The experience that I had during the IEC local government elections was quite a phenomenal one. My experience of the day is really indescribable working with Bush Radio. And of course talking with the Congress of the People (COPE) candidate Mr Phinda Siyo on the day was such an exciting moment for me. Getting to know the process of those elections was also a wonderful experience for me. Lastly, thanks to Bush Radio who gave us such platform to showcase our skills.”
“The Municipal elections are always very exciting but this year it was even more exciting. The reason for this is because I reported live for Bush Radio about the events happening in my area on that day. At first I was nervous because thousands of people will be listening to me, not to mention my family as well. I’m glad everything went smooth though, and according to plan. I enjoyed every moment of it, even standing in the cold and coming home with a headache it was all worth it. Thank you to the Bush Radio Team for giving me the opportunity to be a real journalist for a day.”
“Covering the local government elections was an exceptional experience from the time I arrived at the voting station till the time the voting station closed. It was exciting reporting the happenings of the day as well as interviewing people from different walks of life. I must admit that reporting for the first time was nerve-wracking and required a lot of work as the day progressed but I was able to handle the pressure and deliver a product with which I am satisfied with. I feel privileged for being given the opportunity to report for Bush Radio and I am thankful for the staff’s support throughout the day.”
“The experience of working as a journalist reporting on the local elections has been one of the highlights of my life and the memories will always stay with me. The highlights for me were reporting for Bush on the voting process at my local voting stations, to co-hosting the live radio show, Backchat, interviewing Marius Fransman, the Chairperson of the ANC. The absolute best moment was breaking a news story about an investigation into an IEC official before any other media house. This has been an amazing life experience and I’d like to thank Bush Radio for giving me this opportunity.”
“Bush Radio has granted me one of the greatest experiences in my life. For the first time since I’ve started my studies I felt like a “real” journalist. My highlights include every second spent at the IEC Results Centre, where I interviewed various politicians, lined up various politicians alongside my fellow student journalists, including getting the Tony Ehrenreich interview for the coveted 7 o’clock spot, ahead of other media institutions. Also co-hosting Backchat along with my fellow student journalists was a nerve-wracking but ultimately awesome experience. I would like to express my gratitude towards Bush Radio for handing us this opportunity which has helped us to become better journalists. Also a special thanks to Lusanda, Khanyisa and Freedom for showing us the ropes first hand, you guys were awesome.”
“Every student has a particular inclination or plateau within their chosen field of study which they aspire to, something that makes them say “I could do that” or “that will be me in ten years”. Personally, one of these inclinations has always been radio journalism, so when the opportunity to work and gain real-life experience with the Bush Radio team was made available to me, saying that I was excited would probably be the understatement of the year. From the very start of our “working week” all of the students involved were made to feel welcome and part of the team, even though we had very important tasks to perform under the Bush Radio banner: Live coverage in residential areas of the 2011 IEC Municipal elections and coverage of all the happenings at the IEC results centre afterwards, which culminated in myself and three of my class-mates co-hosting Backchat. I would just like to thank the Bush Radio crew as a whole, because by the end of the week I was looking at people within the journalism profession whom I admire and saying: “I did that” and “that was me yesterday”.