Getting the Students Talking: Kondwani Banda '14

After interning at Children’s Radio Foundation freshman summer, Kondwani Banda was inspired to create an organization aimed at getting people more involved in media and journalism.

Kondwani founded the Rhodes Chapter of Students For Children's Radio Foundation as a new initiative to get students on campus to share their experiences that may resonate with others. “I want to get the student body talking,” says Kondwani, who kick-started the Students for Children’s Radio Foundation last year with help from fellow Rhodes students Nikki Edmunds, Priscilla Choi, Sarah Kim, Jamara Haymore, and Claire Riley.

The Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF) where Kondwani interned gives young people a voice, connecting and empowering them to contribute to individual and social change through training youth journalists around Africa. In addition, CRF produces a professional radio show called Radio Workshop that airs nationally in South Africa. When he came back to Rhodes, he wanted to start something similar with semi-professional equipment. “The fact that this is an amateur radio production makes it fresh and exciting” says Kondwani.

This semester, Kondwani hopes to produce several short radio pieces featuring Rhodes students and Memphis community leaders. “Rhodes is a vibrant campus,” says Kondwani. “When students with such interesting opinions get fired up about a subject, great conversation is produced.”

The radio segments will focus on different subjects that are relevant to Rhodes students and the Memphis community. Kondwani especially sees the upcoming election as a great opportunity for pieces. He plans to set up a sound cloud account to upload pieces weekly. It will also include a blog that will feature related photos.

As a Bonner Scholar from Lusaka, Zambia, Kondwani is very involved in community outreach. He has worked with UNICEF and Bridges Memphis, and this semester will try to train a select group of students from Memphis High Schools to be radio journalists. His work is now making an impact on more than just the Memphis community. Kondwani drafted a constitution for the organization and sent it to other colleges across the country. Schools like Occidental, Luther, and Princeton have established their own chapters and adapted the constitution in unique ways. “It’s great to see this idea really bubbling over on other campuses,” expressed Kondwani.

To kick-off the year, Kondwani plans to feature stories about the newly moved-in freshman class and interesting individuals in the Memphis community. “Rhodes is home to a lot of people who are doing the most interesting and fascinating things,” explained Kondwani. “I want to bring attention to them and to the truly phenomenal work they are involved in."