Adventist World Radio is privileged to have top-notch professionals working in our studios and affiliate stations around the world. At the recent training sessions we held for current and future FM radio personnel in the Southern Africa/Indian Ocean Division, we had the opportunity to discover a fascinating variety of experiences and talents that these communicators are bringing to the Lord’s work.
It was obvious why the church asked Zacarias dos Santos to become an employee: he had a wealth of experience working in senior positions for National Radio of Angola, the United Nations, and a large private media company. But Zacarias hesitated, thinking of the sizable drop in salary and wondering how he would fit in as a non-pastor. “But then I heard a sermon that was like a bullet right to me,” he says. “It was hard to leave my company and future plans, but I felt, ‘My church needs me.’ I had thought the church was just preaching, but I realized that I can contribute by sharing the gospel through other means.” A shortwave production studio has just been built (with Zacarias overcoming the challenge of completing the final stage of construction out of the available budget), and programs will begin airing later this year.
Edward Lehlohonolo Linakane says, “Sometimes I don’t even have time to look at myself in the mirror!” It’s no surprise: Edward is the pastor of three churches and five branch groups, as well as a youth chaplain for the National University of Lesotho, the Lesotho College of Education, and Adventville High School. But he rises to the challenge of engaging young people: “There’s so much ‘noise’ in churches these days; if a sermon goes over half an hour, people are already posting on Facebook, ‘Oh, the sermon is so boring!’” Radio is his passion, so Edward finds time to be the presenter for Tsenolo (translated as Revelation in Sesotho), a weekend program aired on a local Christian FM station. Adventists are waiting for a radio license of their own, and hope to begin broadcasting next year.
“As a little boy, I wanted to be a pastor and a doctor,” says Kaleba Andriatsikivy. “I was also interested in radio, so I put a wooden box on the table, along with a long pipe, and hid under the table and spoke.” As chief radio producer/technician, his interests have all come into service as he writes and presents both spiritual and health programs. “People have come to me and said, ‘Doctor, we want your advice.’ I laugh and tell them I’m not a doctor. Many people also call me ‘Pastor’ because of my sermons on the radio. But those sermons are just not for broadcast; they are for me as well. I am more than convinced that it was God who called me to work for AWR.”
Gift Kalulu’s mother had a vision, and since she was paying for his studies, Gift dutifully began studying electronics. When the money ran out, he started fixing TV and radio equipment, and never looked back. After working for commercial radio stations, he was called to help set up transmitters for AWR. As the only technician servicing the station and its four transmitters – which cover about 70 percent of the country – Gift carries two mobile phones and is on call around the clock. “There were times we were thinking, ‘Let’s not add another transmitter,’’ he says, “But little by little, God took us through. God’s work is always possible if we let Him. I know one day all the plans that we have [to add even more transmitters, as well as TV production] will come to the point of fulfillment.”
Mahen V. Neeliah is able to joke about his workload as director of five conference departments, ranging from communication and religious liberty to prison ministries: “I believe in the literal interpretation of the parable of the talents!” His additional talent for photography began in his early teens, when he asked his sister – living in England – to send him a camera. Mahen used that Kodak 110 for 20 years before upgrading. At age 50, his wife gave him a digital camera; later, she ordered a Nikon on eBay from Germany, saying, “This is your gift in advance of your 60th birthday.” The church is completing a studio to host the first web-only radio station in the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, to specifically reach young people.
Reagan Malumo has stretched the concept of volunteering to the max, serving as conference communication director and radio project manager. His “day job” is editor of several high-level government publications: Namibia Review Magazine, featuring projects around the country and public policy analysis; Government Information Bulletin, covering cabinet happenings and government ministries; booklets of collected presidential speeches; and Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) Update. Reagan is looking forward to sharing the Adventist message in several of Namibia’s nearly dozen major languages, once the church’s application for a broadcast license is approved.
As a senior news reporter covering crime stories for the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, Annette Mabuku has faced grim scenes of violence close up. “Gender-based violence is a big problem in my country, especially among young people. Since January of this year, 15 women have been brutally killed by their boyfriends, all in the name of passion killing. Sadly, our nation is perplexed, and the government has no solution,” she says. “I cannot wait for our radio station to start operating! I feel the need for us as a church to bring hope in Christ and reverse this situation. I’m tired of working for the world; I want to work for the Lord and give my everything to Him. He has been so good to me, you have no idea.”
“Sometimes when I finish composing a song, I wonder where it came from,” says Dumisani Mfune. “The whole creative process helps me relate to God on a different level, and I’m awestruck of what He puts in me.” As CEO of On Point Media, Dumi composes and produces projects for commercial clients, and worked with a partner to create a family-friendly talent show for Malawian television (he even served as a judge one season). “It’s good to know that a client loves your commercial,” he says, “but I love to use that creativity to ‘market’ the gospel.” He is looking forward to returning to South Africa as manager of a new FM station at Helderberg College, once a license is approved.
If you want lessons in entrepreneurship, Dominic Alumai can show you how it’s done. No money to build a studio for the new Adventist radio station? He enlisted ADRA’s help in obtaining a shipping container and turned it into a three-room air-conditioned, sound-proofed recording facility. Looking for new sources of station funding? He lobbies government offices for assistance, then at their request provides workshops for their media managers and attends meetings with the minister of information. Planning for future station sustainability? He’s developed a proposal for a restaurant and bookstore on the Adventist compound that will generate revenue. Seeing needs in the community? He started his own organization to help former female soldiers develop practical skills for employment.
Nalumino Nalumino is a man of faith, on many levels. Before his appointment as manager of the Adventist FM station in 2010, he served news and production editor from its inception in 2004. He shows listeners how to apply faith in their lives: "You need to depend on God in all circumstances, not charms to protect you, to give you a spouse, to find solutions." He has formed strategic partnerships with the private sector to expand the station's coverage and is applying for a national broadcast license: "We don't know where the resources will come from, but being a faith project, we are sure God will help us meet the challenge." And as chair of the Zambia Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, he bravely stands up for journalists' rights and media freedom.
When working as a contract cameraman for a national broadcaster in Botswana, Nkosilathi Khumalo experienced firsthand how foreigners can be mistreated. “I need to somehow change people’s minds,” he thought, so on his own he spent three months documenting foreigners’ experiences in Botswana and South Africa. He ended up with 900 hours of footage. To make a long story short, his first small 15-minute production attracted attention and even a sponsor and was expanded into a television series. Nkosilathi has produced many more powerful stories since then, and currently serves as the church’s media manager. Once a radio application has been approved, FM programs will begin airing in Shona, Ndebele, and English.