Radio: African Flava
Marlene Isaks has been the voice of Africans living in Canterbury for seven years through her programme, “African Flava”, which is broadcast fortnightly on the community radio station, Plains FM96.9.
Born in South Africa, Marlene came to New Zealand with her parents 13 years ago and began the show in 2010 as “South African Flava”, when it was sponsored by Safari Meats.
The title was changed 4-1/2 years ago to simply “African Flava” in order to extend its interest to people from all over the continent. Marlene now produces and hosts the programme.
The show’s main goals are to:
- broadcast African culture through music, news and interviews;
- promote the African community and establish its identity through broadcasting; and
- use the African culture to communicate with the people of Christchurch.
Marlene’s parents, Jeanette and Cornelius, now also present a programme of faith and spirituality through gospel music, “Word of God”, on Plains FM96.9 every Sunday at 2pm.
"...we have a continuously growing African community in Christchurch, with most of the people coming from Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa.."
“We have a continuously growing African community in Christchurch, with most of the people coming from Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa,” says Marlene.
“We’re getting out there and doing things now to bring Africa to Christchurch. In New Zealand, apart from out professional careers, we get the opportunity to branch out into other endeavours that we are passionate about.”
“It’s very important for us to adapt to a new country and grow here as individuals. Our children will easily adapt to New Zealand culture but it is also important for us to keep African culture – from all over the continent – alive.”
As part of this, “African Flava” offers:
- entertainment (music, competitions, various activities);
- information (news, weather reports, sport, financial news, traffic reports); and
- community involvement (fund-raising, interviews, sponsorships).
“African Flava” is sponsored by Love Cover Protect, and also has received an award from this group for its work with African communities.
Working in conjunction with the AIDS Foundation, Love Cover Protect is an HIV-protection programme for Africans by Africans living in New Zealand. Marlene is one of the group’s Ambassadors, helping to provide information and empower Africans in the best possible and culturally appropriate way.
“We also try to promote African social events, both here and throughout New Zealand. These can include Independence Days in various African countries; and even Mother’s Days, which are celebrated on different days in different countries. There are annual gatherings like Soul of Africa and Drums of Africa. We also talk a lot about food,” says Marlene.
One upcoming event is the Afrocentric Christmas party to celebrate African culture through music at the Cargo Bar, 359 Lincoln Road, at 9pm on Friday, December 23. Admission is $10.
“My goal as an African is to see other Africans grow and prosper in every way possible in Christchurch or New Zealand,” says Marlene.
- Hans Petrovic