Pretoria - The SA National Editors’ Forum has recognised Mams Radio for showing determination and bravery to service its community despite hardships brought by the pandemic and recent civil unrest.
The Mamelodi community radio station, followed by nearly 60 000 on Facebook, endured economic difficulties under the Covid-19 lockdown.
Its situations worsened during the unrest when it experienced loss and damage to infrastructure after violence and looting broke out in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Several other community radio stations, including Alex FM in Joburg, were also targeted.
Mams Radio was among the five community stations recognised; the others were Alex FM, Westside FM, Intokozo FM, Kasie FM.
Its operations manager Sipho Motau said he was very proud of the recognition.
Motau said serving the community was what kept them going since the inception of the station in 1995.
He said at the time, they could not have anticipated that the radio station would be as big as it has become.
He cited difficulties that came with running a radio station in an underprivileged community.
Mams Radio's broadcasting transmitter, studios and other office equipment were vandalised while other things were stolen during the unrest last month.
At the time, Motau said broadcasting transmitter, studios and other office equipment were vandalised while other things were stolen.
As a result of this, the radio station was unable to broadcast any news and information regarding the community.
Motau said they opened a case with the police and called on anyone with information regarding the incident to come forward.
However, it returned to air on July 20, broadcasting from Boston Media House, courtesy of Jacaranda FM and Tuks FM.
As a result of this, the radio station said it had been unable to broadcast any news and information regarding the community.
Peter Sullivan, who convened the panel of judges for the awards, said: “There are many instances of courage in journalism, both under apartheid and the current democracy. Journalists yearn to laud their own, to show we do a tough job, sometimes under severe threat, often unappreciated and even scorned.”
He said such awards show audiences and the country and fellow colleagues that their courage does not go unseen.
Crystal Orderson, who has been on the panel since 2018, and is known for The Africa Report on Talk Radio 702, said it was important to recognise differences in the media environment, but also pay homage to Nat Nakasa and reflect on the role of the media in SA and making a difference in the media landscape, ensuring access to ordinary South Africans.
“Covid-19 has made immense challenges to the media, so we looked for those stand-out publications that really had major obstacles to overcome,” said Orderson.