Children in a radio studio

Say no to bullies!

"Hey! Yo! Yes, yes, yes! It's me again!" calls Zanele, 12, into the mike. It's Saturday morning and the radio show has just started. Zanele can hardly wait to have her say. Today's show is about peer pressure and bullying – something that Zanele knows all about.

“Listen up! If your best friend tries to make you do something you don’t want to – dump him or her. You can always make new friends,” Zanele tells her listeners. “That makes me a celebrity,” she laughs.
   The best part about radio is that no one can see what Zanele or her friends look like. Only their voices can be heard, which helps the girls pluck up the courage to discuss all kinds of topics, how-ever sensitive.

Thanks for the tip!
They play music too. Zanele is a big fan and they all start dancing and singing around the little studio when a good song comes on. But then it’s time to return to serious matters; it’s these discussions, after all, that make their programme so special.
   Zanele sits down at the microphone and tells the listeners about the time her friends tried to get her to smoke. When she refused they bullied her and told her that she couldn’t be in their gang.
“You know what I did? I stood my ground and made a new friend that respects me for who I am,” she says.
   A little later a listener phones in. She’s eleven years old and says she has a similar problem. Her friend wanted her to steal crayons and pencils from a shop.    “Thanks for the tip,” she says. “Now I have the courage to say no.”

Airtime is running out. Next week’s show will be about children who ‘disappear’ and what happens to them. The DJ, who’s the only adult on the programme, says that Soweto girls are the bravest because they tackle issues that grown-ups don’t even dare talk about.


 
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