Its presenter, diminutive Zimbabwean-born, Kim Chakanetsa, who has been in Johannesburg this past week, told me that the programme has brought a lively group of 22 final year pupils together with two women, South African Khosi Zwane-Siguqa, an award-winning journalist and editor, an Zimbabwean tech entrepreneur Emma Kay, for the show.
The articulate and bright Chakanetsa said their debut broadcast in London, which won an award, saw the pairing of a South African and a Pakistani guest and thought it would be “nice to do a 360 degree turn and come to South Africa. For me personally I am very interested in South Africa as I think it has some of the best talent.”
She was very impressed with the standard of the girls. “They were highly intelligent; articulate the questions they asked were thoughtful. They listened carefully to what our guests were saying and they challenged them,” said Chakanesta.
In this special hour long programme to be broadcast over a three day period, Kim widens The Conversation to hear more from the South African girls who are about to finish high school.
“It will give them an opportunity to air their passions and plans, and to seek advice from the two women guests, Khosi Zwane-Siguqa and Emma Kaye, on how to turn their aspirations into reality. Both women are pushing the boundaries of mobile technology in Africa and they discuss their lives and careers.”
Khosi Zwane-Siguqa is head of content at WeChat Africa. She is an award-winning journalist and editor who grew up in a South African township. She believes that delivering brand new services via mobile phone could begin to bridge the huge divide between the modern African city and the remote rural village.
Emma Kaye is the founder of the mobile entertainment marketplace Bozza. A serial tech entrepreneur from Zimbabwe, her aim is to put African music and art on the digital map, by helping local artists to access audiences across the continent, and maybe even the world.
Kim Chakanetsa added that she was excited to be presenting The Conversation.
“As a producer and now a presenter for the BBC World Service, I am always covering stories about, and issues that affect women around the world. Often it’s the negative issues that make the headlines. So it’s refreshing and only right that we should also reflect the positive stories of women around the world who make up half our audience. By showcasing the paths to success of two inspiring women each week we hope to challenge some of the prejudices which women still face globally.”
The changing role of women is one of the biggest transitions the world has experienced and the BBC World Service, it says, is aiming to capture this progression through The Conversation.
In 2013 the BBC pledged to represent women better in its international news output, kick-starting that drive with the 100 Women Season. Last year, The Conversation’s launch coincided with the return of 100 Women and a year later the weekly radio programme is now in South Africa celebrating its first birthday.