New podcast series reflects on childhood in South Africa through and beyond COVID-19

‘Phezulu: Looking Up’ a new eight-part podcast series released today features the stories of the impact of the COVID-19 years on children and youth and the ongoing response to accelerate the recovery for every child – for everyone.

30 May 2023
UNICEF South Africa/2023
Lungile Mdluli

PRETORIA, 30 May 2023: The ‘Phezulu: Looking Up’ podcast series launched today by UNICEF South Africa tells the stories of the impact of the COVID-19 years on children and young people and how,with the right support and opportunities, children and young people are determined to build a safer, fairer and better post pandemic South Africa.  

The eight-part series delves into issues such as mental wellbeing, disrupted education and access to child healthcare; including routine childhood immunizations, through the voices of children and young people and experts working to mitigate the impact.

“Children and adolescents were affected by every aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic and this podcast series tells their stories of resilience,” said Muriel Mafico, UNICEF South Africa Deputy Representative. “Importantly, the episodes also reflect on the response to share learnings, including how the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine saved countless lives and re-opened our world,” added Mafico.

The podcast series features expert analysis and voices, including contributions from academics, all of whom continue to play a critical role in the ongoing recovery for every child. The series not only highlights the indirect impact of COVID-19 on children and youth, but also how COVID-19 vaccinations changed the trajectory of the crisis by enabling children and adolescents to resume their childhoods.

The series, produced by podcast incubator, SemaBOX, will be available on a weekly basis, on all major podcast platforms from 23 May 2023. Listeners can now subscribe and join the conversation. This production was made possible thanks to the generous support of the German Federal Foreign Office and other partners.

Media contacts

Toby Fricker
Chief of Communication & Partnerships
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 61 418 7486
Sudeshan Reddy
Communication Specialist
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 82 561 3970

Additional resources


SemaBOX is a specialist podcast studio based in Nairobi and also Africa’s biggest podcast incubator. We provide technology and production capacity for podcast-making and storytelling for African creators, and creators focusing on stories about Africa. SemabOX HQ is located in Nairobi but is active in 6 african counries with a creator network of over 400 titles.


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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