RX Radio has just celebrated its second year on air, as the station that's effectively for the children, by the children, as the Red Cross Children's Hospital's internet station. We caught up with sisters Yusrah and Naseerah du Toit of Boston Primary School in Bellville, as their talk show 'Books and Breakfast with Yusrah' has proven so effective they've taken the title of the Liberty Radio Awards' youngest ever finalists.
Yusrah and Naseerah Du Toit in the RX Radio studio.
The Du Toit sisters’ show lost out at the Liberty Radio Awards to the Home Run show by Vision View Sports Radio, in the Internet Radio Show category, but Yusrah and Naseerah aren’t upset.
Not by a long shot, as they still got to fly on a plane for the very first time to attend the Awards and laugh at the fact that they made history as the youngest ever finalists, having just hit the double digits. It was so unexpected for the first to be nominated that strangers kept asking their dad which radio station he worked for – he doesn’t.
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Fittingly, RX Radio is the first radio station to train children in broadcast skills and offers informative, feel-good content, as it aims to serve as an online place of solace, well-being and lively experience for patients and their caregivers. Two-thirds of the radio training participants are Red Cross Hospital patients, with the remaining third siblings or friends of the patients.
The station functions on the belief that children have the right to know as much as possible about what affects their lives – to understand their chronic illness and the healthcare provided to them by letting them ask questions, while investigating the impact of a child-participatory radio intervention on hospitalised children, also acknowledging that they need to be entertained and to have fun.
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That’s where Yusrah and Naseerah come in. Their mom, Zerina Sherry, explains that 10-year-old Naseerah is an outpatient at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, attending physiotherapy sessions to treat a muscle disorder that mainly affects her legs.
The head of physio asked if she would be interested in joining RX Radio as they were looking for presenters at the time. Naseerah immediately agreed, with 11-year-old Yusrah accompanying her for moral support, despite being quite shy and afraid of public speaking at the time.
It was an excellent move as Yusrah had a change of mind, and couldn’t stop talking about how awesome the experience was after their two-week training session. The sisters found a love for radio, and now host the show together.
Here, Yusrah and Naseerah share their radio journey so far and plans for the future…
How does your RX Radio show work?
Books and Breakfast is mainly about literature and books. The show is pre-recorded, we record every second Friday of the month. Our grandmother usual drops us off at the RX Studios in Rondebosch straight after school every second Friday of the month, where we record for about one-and-a-half hours.
Our show includes features like book reviews; reviews of the TFG-sponsored Kids’ Superclub magazine; and Top Ten Books, where we select our top books for the week.
We choose our own books to review, draft our own questions for interviewees and choose our own songs to play.
Listen in on our show from 25 May, where Yusrah interviewed Jerome Stationway. He started at the Two Oceans Aquarium in 2016 as the voice coach for Puppet Stories and is currently the early childhood development supervisor at the Aquarium.
The show’s senior content producer, Noluyolo (Yolie) Ngomani – also one of this year’s Liberty Radio Awards’ Bright Star Award inductees, is responsible for lining up the interviews for us, but we decide who we would like to interview – normally writers, authors, producers or publishers.
Everything is book-related and based on the theme for that specific week. If it’s Nurses Week, we interview a nurse from the hospital’s wards. We get the health workers at the hospital involved as much as possible, as they are part of the RX family.
Our life experience feature is one of our favourites, as we get to talk about a topic that recently happened in our lives.
Naseerah is mostly responsible for the riddles and jokes, as she brings the comedic side to the show and is very funny at what she does!
The Nal'ibali and Takalani Sesame are also permanent features of our show, where a story is told in English/Afrikaans/Xhosa.
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We are always looking for ways to keep it fresh and exciting, as we encourage children to read, which is very important and want them to find a love for reading – even if it’s cookbooks or comics that initially spark that interest.
Impressive! Do you hope to still be involved in the media when you both grow up?
Yes definitely! Not just in radio, perhaps we’ll venture into different aspects of media like TV presenting, advertisements, publishing or comedy.
We have an added advantage as we’ve already been exposed to radio at this age and have had such amazing experiences, like featuring on Maggs on Media and in The Sunday Times, being nominated for a Liberty Radio Award and more.
As you grow up you experience different things, and are exposed to many changes in life. We are hopeful that our talent will lead us to where we should be. For now, we are having so much fun and enjoying what we are doing, so hopefully the future holds big plans for us to keep making a success in this industry.
On the other side of the radio mic, talk us through the feedback you receive on the show.
Our listeners are so amazing, as comments on the show are mostly from fans that know about RX Radio station, so that’s children in the hospital, their family and friends – young children, especially. Their comments are usually positive, which inspires us to keep producing content that will keep them listening.
We do shout-out requests on the show, and enjoy it when our listeners send in voice-notes which we will play in the pre-recorded or live shows.
These create that feel-good feeling, as the listener also gets to hear their voice on radio, which makes them feel special. When they are happy, we are happy.
That alone is such a feel-good quote! Share some advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps - no matter their age.
If you’re given an opportunity in life, take it with both hands. You are the creator of your own destiny, don’t be afraid of taking risks.
Never let your situation, no matter how old you are, deter you from reaching for your dreams, because if you believe it, you can achieve it.
Once you have made it, stay true to yourself and remember what it took to get you there. From small beginnings, great things can come.
That’s for sure. So inspirational. Who is your own media inspiration, and why?
Claire Mawisa is an inspiration as she started her career at a young age, much like us. She started in the modelling industry and then ventured into radio and TV and is doing so well for herself, even though it wasn’t an easy climb for her.
She is the most humble, bubbly, cheerful and truly sincere person we have met. She has a passion for empowering young teens and that is really great.
As are Yusrah and Naseerah. Visit the RX Radio Facebook page and Instagram feed, or click here to download the RX Radio mobile app, here to listen to other podcasts and here to donate, partner or volunteer with RX Radio.
Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality. She's also on the Women in Marketing: Africa advisory panel, was an #Inspiring50 2018 nominee, and can be reached at ...
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