Johanna Wilkie

Johanna Wilkie (Breaking the Wall of Silence in Windhoek): Johanna lived and worked in Rome, Italy for two years teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). After her return to hometown of Boston, she taught immigrants and college students ESL for two years before moving to Los Angeles to work as a program manager at a California non-profit. At the time of her fellowship, Johanna was studying for a Masters degree in international affairs and development at Georgetown University, and working toward a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. She also interned at the International Rescue Committee as an Africa Advocacy Intern.

Radio, radio

11 Jun
Pauline Dempers and Felix Muchila on his NBC Radio show, "The Ninth Hour"

Pauline Dempers and Felix Muchila on his NBC Radio show, “The Ninth Hour”

I had just met my new boss, Pauline Dempers, the national coordinator of Namibian NGO Breaking the Wall of Silence, at one of the central taxi stands (or ranks, as they’re called here) in Windhoek.  It was my first day in Namibia, and I had come directly from the airport – Pauline was picking me up downtown to take me to Talita’s house, where I would be staying for the next three months.  We sat and talked for a moment as we waited for Talita to drop off the keys: mostly small talk and getting-to-know-you chat.  Then she surprised me:

“I’d like you to come with me to the national radio station tomorrow.  We’re being interviewed on the IANSA campaign.” You can check here at Radio Waves to know about radio stations.

And so the next day at 9 AM I found myself walking up to the NBC (here, it stands for Namibian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio building to begin the first task of my internship.  Inside, I met Pauline and Felix Muchila, host of English-language radio show “The Ninth Hour.”  NBC has radio shows in English, German, and Afrikaans, as well as several different indigenous languages, and it is broadcast throughout the entire country.  Felix informed us that we would be talking for about 45 minutes and would take calls from listeners as well.  This is where I started to get nervous: 45 minutes?  On my first day?  I hoped I had all the answers to the questions that would be asked of me.

I shouldn’t have been too worried.  Pauline took the lead, discussing the national Gun Free Namibia campaign that her organization has spearheaded as well as the link between guns and domestic violence that is the focus of the Disarming Domestic Campaign that we are launching here in Windhoek as a partner in IANSA’s Global Week of Action against Gun Violence.  Felix asked me how gun violence compared between the US and Namibia, and also what was being done to combat gun violence in the States.  I was not able to compare the level of violence in the two countries, especially as I did not have access yet to Namibian statistics.  But I did highlight that there are several organizations working on this issue in the US, and that IANSA is partnering with many of them.  We had one caller at the end of the show who commented on the difficulty of reducing gun violence, and the importance of ensuring that guns are stored safely.

Perhaps the best part of the whole experience was that since then, I have encountered two people that heard Pauline and me on the radio.  One of them is a freelance reporter, and we had an interesting discussion about gun violence in Windhoek.  It’s exciting to know that the campaign is already visible and sparking discussion.

Posted By Johanna Wilkie

Posted Jun 11th, 2009


  • Janet Wilkie

    June 11, 2009


    Good commentary with a personal touch. You’re doing great!

  • Valerie

    June 11, 2009


    Whew, glad to hear you were being broadcast over the radio instead of being eaten by a lion! I was getting worried that you hadn’t reappeared, but sounds like you’ve been busy disarming abusers! Disarm on!

  • Mark W.

    June 14, 2009


    Johanna! Radio star! Talk about getting thrown into the deep end on your first day. Watch out for the paparazzi, though! 🙂 Awesome blog, dude!

Enter your Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *