BOR, South Sudan – “When I turn on the radio, my wife immediately switches the dial to Mingkaman FM,” said Daniel Ayuen Manyok, Jonglei state school inspector.
Every Sunday evening, listeners in Bor, and across the Nile River in Mingkaman, Lakes state, return home to tune their radio dials in to 100 FM for the latest news and current events from Jonglei state.
At 8 p.m. sharp a drumbeat comes over the airwaves and local artist Alek Mamiir’s song Mading Bor (the Dinka name given to Bor, capital of Jonglei state) begins.
The 100 FM host introduces “Panda Bor (Bor, Our Home),” a current events program featuring stories on traditional culture, ways to improve farming methods, how the economic crisis is affecting residents, the importance of education, health challenges facing the community, along with women and children’s rights.
“I listen every Sunday evening to Mingkaman FM. It [Panda Bor] educates the community on social issues,” said Abel Manyuon Jok, the director general at the Jonglei state ministry of education. “It broadcasts in Dinka [language] so everyone in the community understands. It also informs the government on what our people are saying.”
“Panda Bor updates us on agricultural activities in Jonglei state,” said Mayom Riak, a member of Greater Bor Farmers Association. “It encourages people to cultivate and discourages them to depend on government hand-outs.”
“I like Panda Bor. It discusses the issue of forced childhood marriage,” said former Bor mayor Nhial Majak Nhial. “This is a traditional cultural practice the community needs to be educated on so it does not continue.”
“It covers education, health and women’s rights,” said Bor County Commissioner Isaac Mameer Ruk. “I really like the mix of traditional and contemporary Dinka music.”
“I like Panda Bor because I heard a song on it calling for women’s equality in South Sudan,” said Bor youth Dhieu Achol.
Since 2015, Panda Bor program on Mingkaman 100 FM has reported on its community; the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s team of reporters; Chan Paul Amol, Peter Kuol Kuch, Rhoda Ateng Noah and Jacob Deng Ghai, have reported stories at the local and state levels.
Each week, Panda Bor puts the voices of South Sudanese women and children on the airwaves to start a larger discussion about the nation’s future.
“A few years ago, Bor residents used to walk around naked. Now everyone wears clothes. This town is modernizing very fast,” said 27-year-old Panda Bor reporter Rhoda Ateng Noah. “I have three children and I want them to attend a good school, so I do stories about the need for quality education in Jonglei state. I have even started my own program called A Child’s Life.”
Along with daily news stories, the weekly Panda Bor (Bor, Our Home), A Child’s Life (Children’s rights), and Mingkaman – Bor Together (Humanitarian information) programs are produced at Mingkaman 100 FM Bor bureau office, located on the second floor of Ariop Commercial Centre, Marol Market, Bor, Jonglei state.