For the third year in a row, our flagship station Ghetto Radio Kenya will be staging the Serious Request in Nairobi. The subject this year is AIDS.
For those who are new to this site, Serious Request is a 6-day annual event organised by radio stations to highlight a "silent" disaster in our midst. The idea is that 3 DJs from each participating station are "locked" in a glass house - a transparent studio - in the middle of a busy city, from which they play your song requests, receive guests - musicians who perform on the stage outside the studio as well as people associated with the theme - and discuss the year's theme all day and night for 6 days. The DJs also go without food for the duration of the event.
Besides Ghetto Radio, the only radio station in Africa to stage this event, all other stations are in Northern Europe: the Netherlands (3fm, the originator of the idea), Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland.
And you, visitors, can watch the event live on video right here at This Is Africa
AIDS - BREAKING THE TABOO
There are currently 1.5 million HIV patients in Kenya, out of a total population of 39 million. There are also 1.2 million children who've been orphaned by AIDS. Work is is being done to combat the epidemic, however the social stigma of AIDS/HIV is still so strong that it discourages people from even taking an AIDS test. Which means many who become infected don't realise they're infected until the virus has severely weakened their immune system. The later a diagnosis is made and treatment begins the lower the chances of successful treatment, and the more children are orphaned by AIDS.
Ghetto Radio wants to use this year's event to help break the taboo surrounding AIDS/HIV. If the fight against AIDS is to be won it is essential that people do not feel reluctant to take an AIDS test simply because of what others might think of them if the fact of having taken the test is known.
For the duration of the event Ghetto Radio will hold a public AIDS testing session. The hope is to encourage a minimum of 1,000 people to take the test, and by doing so help break the taboo surrounding AIDS/HIV. The first 1,600 to take the test and wait for their results will receive a pair of Frends headphones. This is not a reward, but rather a token of appreciation for their courage in stepping up to normalise the idea of taking a test.
Get plenty of sleep between now and Sunday so don't miss Diana, Mbusi and Violesa being locked up at 8am on the19th when the action kicks off.