By Jonk wa Mashamba
“I felt so disappointed beyond measure and devastated at the same time. Because I had never thought that I would live to experience a situation where a community steal from themselves.”
That’s an expression of Alex FM Station Manager, Takalane ‘TK’ Nemangowe during our interview.
The interview, held at Alex FM premises, follows the donation of laptop computers by Siemens South Africa to the tune of R70, 000.00.
More than 30 organizations made recent donations to Alex FM. Among them were Prime Media, National Lottery, Standard Bank, Sanef, M3, Rays of Hope and American Embassy.
This gesture was the result of huge looting at the ‘Elevate Your Mind’ studios two months ago.
While Nemangowe expressed a sense of relief that massive donations were received to rebuild Alex FM, he cried foul over the mindless behavior depicted by some stupid hooligans from the community.
“How do you destroy what you own? I was under the impression that Alex FM existed to assist the same community. I thought the very community that was looting was somewhat dissatisfied with the government. And I thought Alex FM would serve as the platform to raise and record their queries. Rather, they chose to silence it.”
However, Nemangowe made it clear that he will not be enraged by any disturbance.
“I am not an angry person. I believe in myself that no one will pull me down… I like challenges. I saw it as a challenge, to say, oh, this is the route that they are taking.
“If they take N1, I take M1. I’m always a step ahead. I can’t be angry at faceless people. Someone who comes at night or behind my back, it means that person’s a coward.
“I don’t invest my time towards that person. Hence we hit the ground running to rebuild the station and we will continue to rebuild it. We have shown the world that we are capable.
“The enemy may attempt to take us down. But tomorrow, we are ten stories higher than we were,” said a man who saw the station receiving countless accolades for its excellent programs.”
The resilient young manager said the loss was tremendous!
He says recordings of shows and interviews from 2007 also perished during the looting that brought South Africa to its knees.
“The was no backup off site. We lost the heritage of the station. We can replace computers, but we can’t replace what was on them.”
However, TK said they were committed to restoring the hope and dreams of community members.
“I would like to thank those donors because Alex people will have a voice again. It is because of them that the community will have a platform where they can listen to information or job opportunities.”
On the 12 August 2021, the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) condemned the violent riots which left business properties damaged and looted in KZN and Gauteng.
GCIS Acting Director-General, Michael Currin, said he was outraged that Alex FM, a well-known community radio station, has been subjected to acts of criminality that has led to the radio station being taken off the airwaves.
“Today is a sad day for Alex FM and the community at large after its broadcast equipment and related items were looted.
“The radio station has been serving the Alex community faithfully for about 27 years and is the voice of the residents of Alexandra.
“We were equally livid that just two days ago, an SABC news crew was robbed of their equipment while covering protests in Alexandra.”
Currin emphasized that the media plays a crucial role in the economic and political development of citizens and that it creates a broad range of information to stimulate citizens on the various developmental issues in their country.
“South African media is a platform to amplify the voice, facilitate meaningful participation, and foster social change. We need to work together to build our country. We cannot destroy what we have worked so hard to build,” added Currin.