Today I met up with Moro Yapha one of the producers of We Are Born Free Empowerment Radio, an activist radio founded by refugees broadcasting live out of Kreuzberg on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 13.00–16.00.
Moro told me the radio which launched in 2015 in a Projektspace made available to them from the inhabitants of Waldemarstraße 46., following the Oplatz Occupation nearby (October 2012–April 2014).
The media activist radio took part in Kotti FM, which ran 24-hours-per-day over September 2016.
Alongside Moro, from Gambia, the station is run by Muhammed Lamin Jadama, also from Gambia, and Bino Byansi Byakuleka from Uganda. Located in a supportive Keiz, the radio station/media centre connects directly with the neighbourhood, with a street front door and locals reguarly dropping by during broadcast hours. The projektraum also hosts meetings and workshops. With the cramped studio housed in a small windowless room around the back, Moro tells me it is a space that nevertheless inspires self-confidence and is a safe space for his brothers and sisters. It is place they can some to hang out, cook food and socialise, not like a ‘proper’ radio studio where they would be allocated a timeslot after which they would have to leave.
The station which broadcasts in Berlin via Reboot FM also has a significant audience in Africa, who most often listen in via Facebook. It also connects to students at Humbolt University and their partners in the US. Moro also tells me they have collaborated with a number of organisations to produce remote broadcast events including SAVVY Contemporary, YAAM, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Africa Avenir and have also run workshops for refugee youth housed at the former Templehof airport.
Alongside refugee issues, the radio also advocates for range of minority rights including gender, race and ablism.