Peacebuilding dialogues and podcast put children and young people’s voices at center of unrest recovery

UNICEF South Africa and Children’s Radio Foundation project provides a platform for youth to express themselves, share opinions and find solutions as part of their recovery from the impact of the 2021 unrest.

11 February 2022
UNICEF South Africa/2015/Schermbrucker

PRETORIA, 11 February 2022 – A new three-part radio and podcast series released ahead of World Radio Day, 13 February, explores the impact of and response to last July’s widespread looting and violence from a child and young person’s perspective.

The episodes were produced following facilitated peace dialogues between nearly 300 young people and community members from across eight provinces. The discussions and related broadcasts provided a platform for youth to express themselves, share opinions and solutions, as they cope with the mental health and broader impact of the unrest.

The dialogues also explored the everyday struggles for children and young people, such as access to essential services, food security and xenophobia. The release of the series comes as the Government makes public the ‘Expert Panel Report’ into the civil unrest and looting.

“It was traumatic, but what I discovered about myself is that I'm a warrior and I'm a fighter,” says youth activist Nonku in episode 2, as she reflects on the unrest that affected Ntuzuma informal settlement in KZN.

“I can never do it alone, but with the help of others joining hands and saying we are saying no to poverty, to unemployment, we're creating opportunities, we're coming with innovative ideas. We can rebuild our communities,” she adds.

The series is accompanied by the launch of a ‘Peacebuilding Dialogues Production Guide’ as a resource for organizations working with children and young people, as well as youth who are inspired to activate their own group discussions.

“The unrest last year had a devastating impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of children exposed to the violence,” said Christine Muhigana, UNICEF South Africa Representative.

“The peacebuilding dialogues and podcast series enable and encourage children and young people to explore their feelings and to play an active role in bringing their peers and communities back together,” added Muhigana.

In the final episode of the series, Children’s Radio Foundation reporter Sibonelo Sithole steps in for Vibe FM as a lead radio presenter while violence sweeps across his neighbourhood. Sibonelo provided real-time updates on the unfolding situation while giving community members a space to voice their concerns.

Vibe FM then organized local clean-ups and hosted talk shows to discuss what happened. “Radio has to play a major role in helping the community restore the peace,” says Sibonelo Sithole. “As a radio station, I believe we are influential. When we talk, people listen,” he adds.

World Radio Day recognizes the critical importance of radio as a tool in reaching, informing and engaging communities on issues that affect them on an everyday basis.

The series is being broadcast on SAFM and is also available online as a podcast. The production of the peacebuilding dialogues, podcasts and ‘Peacebuilding Dialogues Production Guide’ was possible thanks to generous support from Standard Bank, Nedbank and Grey Advertising.

Notes to editors:

The ‘Peacebuilding Dialogues Production Guide’ can be accessed here.

The three-part podcast series is available here.

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


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in over 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special efforts on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children everywhere.

Working with a range of partners, UNICEF has had a presence in South Africa since the end of apartheid and continues to work towards bettering the lives of all children in the country.

Follow UNICEF South Africa on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

About Children’s Radio Foundation

The Children’s Radio Foundation trains youth across Africa as radio reporters, giving them the tools and skills to research, interview and broadcast on local radio stations. They bring out youth perspectives and lead important conversations on the issues that matter most to young people. Over the last 15 years, the Children’s Radio Foundation has trained over 5,000 reporters at 100 radio stations in Africa to produce shows on issues that have the deepest impact on their communities.