I really got addicted to radio at the age of seven, upon the completion of almost a year living in Canada. Sitting practically on top of a small metal encased radio, I was afraid of just one word escaping me and as a result all other content becoming disjointed and placed out of context. While listening attentively to the lyrics of a song or a talk radio show I still become frustrated when others feel the need to start blabbing overtop the sound waves.
It was February 11, 1990. Mandela had just been released and CBC’s Cross Country Check-Up (a call in show) was chiming in. If my memory is not playing tricks on me I believe Rex Murphy was hosting at the time. Later on that day the whole family would be glued to a TV for at least an hour. Who was this mysterious man that most South Africans revered, but who many were taught to fear?
As commentary filtered in and out from across the country I began concocting my own words. I imagined how MY voice would resonate from one end of Canada to the other. There were guests throughout the show, South Africans with some insight into this momentous occasion.
If Canadians felt they had something important to share on the matter I knew that I definitely did as well.
“Mom, I think I want to call in.” I pronounced. Some friends were over as well and they all encouraged me to go for it. My arm was a little shaky as I gripped the phone and dialed. I paced the kitchen a little, just like you see nervous people do in the movies, exactly like that. After some time I got through and was placed on the waiting list.
I don’t remember my exact words, but I do know that they were placed carefully, thought over and edited down. The gist was that I expressed why I thought Mandela’s release was so important and what it meant. I think Rex said something very generous about my insight and his guest attentively responded… Beyond that I’m not sure of the details. It was pretty exciting to be on the radio though and a good day to participate. Radio LOVE from then on.
Nelson Mandela addresses Parliament in June, 1990 soon after his release.
BBC broadcast on release of Nelson Mandela