• By Bayanda Malevu

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Bootcamp”? In your mind’s eye, do you see a training camp full of new recruits? Do you see intensive and rigorous training by a tough mentor, hurling instructions at an out-of-breath recruit to “give me one more rep!”? Well, the HOMEGROWN Radio Bootcamp isn’t that far off from that. In fact, it is that and more.

Held at the HOMEGROWN Farm in Centurion, South Africa, this was the 5th instalment of a series of bootcamps aimed at equipping HOMEGROWN Radio’s new recruits with not only broadcasting skills, but also life skills. The day was filled with exhilarating and interactive activities such as physical exercise led by Emmanuel “Sir Smats” Nkuna, a professional personal trainer and one of HOMEGROWN Radio’s new recruits from the I Was Born to Speak on Radio training course. Apart from our bodies, we also got to exercise our minds and explore our different talents and skills with different tasks assigned to us. These included a creative session where we had to create a song (with farming as a theme) and an open-mic poetry session.

Being in a quiet and tranquil place like the HOMEGROWN farm, away from the hubbub of the city, was a refreshing experience and a perfect setting for learning from an array of experienced mentors such as DJ Sbu, Desire Ndong, Nicolas Regisford, and Warrior Ric.

After lunch, Sir Smats led us through an intense workout session that made 10 minutes feel like a lifetime. We had to do 50 squats, followed by 50 jumping jacks and other exercises whose names I couldn’t even memorise because I was too focused on making it through the exercises in one piece. Once that was done, only then did we move to radio-related tasks. With farming as our theme, we had pre-recording sessions and OB broadcasting under a tree, with pigs, goats, sheep and other livestock in the background. I can’t think of anything more interesting. Excuse the pun, but I have to say, HOMEGROWN Radio is the GOAT!

One of my highlights was the uplifting session we had with motivational dynamo Warrior Ric, which left us inspired and ready to face any challenge thrown our way. Then Desire narrated to us parable of the chicken and the eagle, which left me introspective and wondering whether I am living a chicken life or an eagle life. Many of us vowed to start flying above the storms of life and meet fellow eagles that we can fly with in order to achieve our goals and reach our destinies together.

On the other hand DJ Sbu and Nicolas took us into a lesson about the behind-the-scenes of production, both radio and TV. I was particularly shocked to learn that the audience reactions on TV are actually shot separately from the original show, and that sometimes productions even use the very same production team as an audience. Where would I have learnt this if it wasn’t for the HOMEGROWN Radio Bootcamp?

John C. Maxwell said, “team work makes the dream work.” This was confirmed to me at the Bootcamp as we put our talents, abilities and resources to bring a beautiful song to life, with lyrics that hail HOMEGROWN Radio as the home of future Kings and Queens of the airwaves. One thing I love about attending these bootcamps is that you never know what to expect when you arrive at the HOMEGROWN Farm, but one thing for sure, you’ll learn something new and leave with more skills than you had when you arrived.

Like Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success”, our beginning was coming together through the I Was Born to Speak on Radio training programme, HOMEGROWN Radio is keeping us together as we progress, and working together in this Bootcamp was a resounding success.