In Kenya, the hilarious political satire XYZ (Facebook) is arguably one of the most popular TV shows in the country, watched by millions of citizens. Tanzania has few satire offerings in media, particularly on radio. Enter Uncle Kochikochi by Dhamira (blog), a new experimental radio satire born out of the same people who created XYZ and the popular cartoonist Gado.
Dhamira Communicating Artists and Twaweza have formed a partnership to produce Uncle Kochikochi, which pokes fun at the absurdities of life and shows how ordinary citizens can prod the authorities into doing the right things.
The radio drama encourages listeners to compare and analyze realities – such as practice vs. policies, actual vs. budgets, political promises vs. what happens – and using it to discuss, question and drive change in basic services: education, health, water and freedom of press. The idea is to provoke people to think and engage, to analyze, to speak out and devise solutions to their problems.
Twaweza provides Dhamira with quality research studies and data that can inform the underlying serious basis of the satire, and seed funding for the research and development costs of this new idea. Dhamira develops and produces a high quality show and syndicates it to national and local stations (between 1915hrs and 2000hrs). The partnership envisages 13 weekly episodes will be created and aired in its inaugural season.
The show started airing in late 2010, and by early 2011 five radio stations were airing Uncle KochiKochi. These include the national broadcaster Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation and Sauti FM in Mwanza and Shinyanga, Safari FM for Mtwara and Lindi, Country FM for Iringa, Mbeya and parts of Ruvuma, and Radio Boma in Kilimanjaro.
Based on feedback received, Dhamira is excited to expand its reach. “We are at the brink of realizing the possibility that we can reach 90 percent of all Tanzanians for ten minutes every day,” says Robert Mwampembwa, its director. It looks like another Twaweza bet of investing in a new idea with start-up funds and ideas is likely to pay off, with millions of Tanzanians having a better chance of being well informed and having a good laugh.
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