I have always thought of myself as a very liberal person, sometimes probably a bit more liberal than most people in my family or circle of friends, but then Radio 10’s Mr. Bean had me doubting if indeed I was liberal, this past Friday morning.
As part of my morning ritual, I tune in to a random local radio station as I shower and I always manage to sneak a peek to Al Jazeera or BBC as I dress up. So on this particular Friday, the “lucky” radio was Radio 10 and the presenter was none other than Mr. Bean.
The first word I heard him say was ‘kwikinisha’ which for the uninitiated is ‘masturbation’ in English.
When I heard his first words, at first I thought that he was being his usual chatty self but when he went on and on and informed the listeners that his breakfast show would focus on ‘Masturbation’, I was taken aback.
Mr. Bean, as he calls himself, did not give me a second to take in his show ‘idea’ as he explained how some married men leave their wives in bed and go to the bathroom to masturbate, the pros and cons of the habit and so many other things that I regretted listening to that morning.
Before I could compose myself, the squeaky voiced Mr. Bean plunged into the slang that is locally used to refer to masturbation and of course as expected, he extended an invitation to his listeners to call in.
The radio phone got busy as callers (only males) called to give their “thoughts” about the “subject”.
One of the first callers started by saying that he had done his “research” with several secondary school students who had informed him that masturbation was, in their opinion better than having unprotected sex.
I listened on intently as more callers called to embarrass me more with their revelations, and just as I thought I couldn’t take it more, some gentleman called and said stuff that I cannot bring myself to write here. And all this, was in Kinyarwanda!
Long after the program was over and everyone was busy doing something else, I couldn’t help the nagging questions that kept boggling me about our radios. Who regulates what is aired on them?
Do we really need to be subjected to topics like this? How important an issue is something like masturbation for it to be aired freely on our radios?
I couldn’t help the temptation to pose the question on the social network Facebook where my fears were echoed. Someone by the names of Gilbert Mwebaze simply stated “Rwanda radios are a playground” while another female friend asked if I was serious about my “allegations”.
While we all are excited about the radio stations that are flooding our airwaves, I can’t help wonder if we are slacking on how they do their jobs.
Independent or government, my opinion is that these radios operate because of us, the listeners, because of us, the advertisers and for this they owe us humor, up to date news and entertainment. Not utter unprofessionalism and embarrassment.
The author is a Senior Journalist with The New Times.