“How did the country of Kenya become free…without the people of Kenya getting free?”
There are thousands of African podcasts . Every now and then, I’ll spotlight the superstars doing interesting and exciting things in the scene!
The first one I’d like to highlight is “Until Everyone Is Free”, a Kenyan podcast that explores the political assassination of Pio Gama Pinto in 1965. Pio Gama Pinto was a freedom fighter, among numerous accolades, who became one of Kenya’s first political assassinations.
“Until Everyone Is Free” uses Pinto’s life and work, plus this key moment in Kenyan history to answer the question “How did the country of Kenya become free…without the people of Kenya getting free?”
Hosted by community organizer Stoneface Bombaa, and produced by journalist April Zhu, “Until Every Is Free” is a triumph. The duo, alongside a group of supporting reporters and artists, have taken on the extremely difficult work of putting together a historical podcast that has nuance and complexity, while also speaking to a modern Kenya.
But since I focus on the production of podcasts, I wanted to point out three key takeaways from “Until Everyone Is Free.”
- Historical podcasts are a great genre for African podcasters
Because of scarcity and a need for re-examination, African history will always prove to be a ripe genre for podcasting. Although I believe many Kenyans know the basic history of Pio Gama Pinto’s assassination (I could be wrong), the in-depth look at a single story –alongside strong production value–is an example of how podcast storytelling can be used as a way to probe and examine history.
- The use of Sheng
Vernacular language podcasts are slowly starting to appear on the continent. The production team behind the “Until Everyone Is Free” specifically chose to narrate the podcast in Sheng, a Swahili-English creole. This decision indicates a specific and intentional target listener: young urban Kenyans. Understanding and knowing how to connect with your target audience is an important production decision, and it’s been beautifully executed on this podcast.
And what if you don’t speak sheng? The podcast has been uploaded to YouTube with English subtitles! Check out the trailer below.
- Podcasts are built on collaborations
Narrative podcasts are HARD WORK to produce and can involve a lot of people, time and money. That’s why I was glad to read the credits of the production and see the number of people involved. I bring this up because I see a lot of podcasters trying to work in silos. Podcasting is a medium where collaboration is a key part of growth and expansion. This is worthy to note.
So far “Until Everyone Is Free” has released three of seven episodes, with new ones seemingly dropping once a month. So you can go catch up with those episodes and subscribe to the podcast.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on anything I’ve mentioned above. Drop me a comment. If there is an African podcast you’d like to recommend I check out (that is not your own!) because they are doing interesting things with the medium, also drop a recommendation in the comments.