Describing the immigrants with any form of negativity and demeaning comments is no longer new in Italy.
Like the two sides of a coin however, the story is been dragged to a balance view, because some immigrants are now refusing to lay low in their created ghettos and they are calling others to do the same.
Faustin Akafack is a Cameroonian migrant in Bologna. Speaking in Florence yesterday at the Terrafutura, an ongoing multiethnic and social/cultural exhibition, invaded with thousands of visitors from different places, he explained his journey so far with his web radio, www.Asteriscoradio.com and his strive to inform his fellow migrants.
Being an immigrant in Italy, why creating a radio in the first place?
To start with, I have always treasured the radio business ever since I was a boy. And with the negative report I often seen about migrants, I decided to act faster than I had planned. I actually started in 2003 by preparing some radio programs and sending them to the radio studios that were willing to broadcast them. The trouble though was the limited time which was not enough for me to transmit the information I wanted. In 2005, the Astericoradio was finally launched and the success was more than an encouragement for the years ahead.
You don’t seem to be new in the radio!
I was a radio presenter back home in Cameroon and I also did a similar thing in France. As far as the radio business and other informative activities are concerned, I know how to find my way around.
You also run a small newspaper (Il Taburi), what really makes your media outfit to be different from others?
Unlike other news agencies, we clip the basic information about migrants and reduce the grammatical complexities in them to the understanding of ordinary migrants. After all, information makes more sense when it can be understood.
A project like yours obviously requires a lot of funds, how are you going about it?
Actually, the most important thing is that I believe in it and so are those who continuously give me the encouragement and moral support to strive further. The money for the activities is internally raised. It’s obviously the money that should have been used for other domestic projects in Africa. Anyway, while we build up the strength to stand firm here, every other thing can wait.
How was your initial step of involving the Africans migrants, especially those in Bologna, where you live?
It was difficult in the beginning, but with the passage of time, they gradually understood that it was a serious and sustainable project. Our target was in fact the immigrant community and later did we realize that even the Italians were interested in what we are doing. It’s now a point of contact for both parties to tell their own sides of the story and therefore our joy to sustain the tempo.
Ewanfoh Obehi Peter
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