Before Russia and the US made world history with the first trip to space and the moon, Zambia had already planned to do beat them to it in 1964. Fast forward 49 years later and the program and its founder have been virtually forgotten, until now, that is. A couple of documentaries have brought the story of Edward Makuka Nkoloso to light again recently, and now the high school teacher is the co-star of a new non-fiction podcast in South Africa which we highly recommend you go land listen to.
It’s been produced by a group of independent South African-based journalists, and it’s called the Sound Africa Podcast. Dedicated to true stories from around Africa, the best analogy we can think of is “Radiolab for Africa”. It’s not quite on a par with the excellent Radiolab, yet – our main gripe would be the lack of original interviews in the Nkoloso story – but it’s not far off and if the quality of stories continues in this vein, it could well become that.
The first episode, titled “Africa in Space” looked at the story of the founder of the Zambia National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy, Edward Makuka Nkoloso, who attempted to see the east African country launch a mission to the moon manned by a teenage girl and two cats.
The bulk of the episode is set right here in SA in the Karoo, where the Square Kilometre Array, one of the world’s biggest space science projects is located, and also includes discussions on the project.
“Podcasts that offer long-form narrative journalism have grabbed huge audiences overseas, leading some to speak of a new Golden Age of radio,” Micah Reddy, producer of Sound Africa said in a statement. “But in South Africa this exciting medium has yet to truly take off. Sound Africa Podcast aims to fill the void and foster a greater appreciation of podcasts by producing high quality, in-depth and compelling audio stories on a wide range of topics related to South Africa and the continent.”
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Visit the Sound Africa website for more info on the podcast and upcoming events and episodes.