SANDILE BHENGU, 20
Sandile Nompilo Bhengu, also known as Sandy, is a twenty-year-old youth radio reporter and activist who lives in the township of KwaMashu, Durban, South Africa. During high school, Bhengu was unexpectedly introduced to radio and that's when she realized her love and passion for not only radio and public speaking, but also the entire media industry. At the age of seventeen, she landed her first job in radio at a local radio station called Vibrant Youth at VibeFM. Ever since that moment, she knew her work in media would be aimed at empowering people across the world, young and old.
After joining Vibrant Youth, VibeFM's program featuring young reporters, Bhengu was introduced to other young people who speak for the voiceless within her community of KwaMashu. Bhengu's reporting for Vibrant Youth strives to be relatable in order to engage with the community and capture the listener’s attention. Bhengu and her colleagues discuss social issues on air that exists within their community, such as teenage pregnancy, xenophobia, gun violence, and crime. During their program on crime, they provided statistics, ways to report a crime, and provided their listeners with contacts about crime. Members of her community told Bhengu that her work with VibeFM was helping youth understand the negative aspects of going into crime and owning an illegal gun.
In 2016, Bhengu won the Children's Radio Foundation ‘Vibrant Youth’ award that was held in Cape Town. As an advocate against crime, Bhengu believes that the escalating rate of crime in her community is unacceptable. She says that while many have gotten used to the high crime levels, daily exposure to crime through our homes, schools, and media leave a lasting physical and emotional impact on the youth in her community. This includes Bhengu herself, who has been a victim robbery while she was on her way back from school. Bhengu feels a strong and personal responsibility to lead her community to protect the youth and motivate them to become better individuals in order to demolish crime and create a safer environment.
MY NAME IS VIOLENCE
by Sandile Bhengu
For years they have built this community, but I just want to kill it. Whenever I see innocence, boy, I want to steal it. I see happiness and all I want is to finish it.
Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Violence, second born of South Africa’s problems. I’m sure you know me - I’ve been around for a while now. Let me tell you about my victims...
I thrive in the townships of South Africa, where poverty is dominant and many are starving. In Kwa-Mashu I rule in the form of gun violence, in Umlazi I’m in every hijacking, and in the Cape Flats I make men turn on anyone who tries.
Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is Violence, but you can also call me Crime. I’m sure you know me - I’ve been around for a while now. I’m a product of a corrupt government, unemployment, Apartheid, and a poor education system. Allow me to tell you more about my victims…
I’m the voice that whispers in a man’s ear to kill his wife out of jealousy. I’m the voice that eggs on heartless men to rape a toddler. I’m the voice that motivates a selfish man to rob school children. I’m that voice that turns an argument into a shooting.
My name is Violence, but you can also call me Crime. I’ve been here for a while now. I feed on corruption, poverty and disruption. I hate happiness. I hate peace, and I don’t know the spirit of Ubuntu.