Participatory Children’s Radio in the Context of a South African Hospital: An Exploratory Study of Stakeholder Perceptions and Experiences


  • Xanthe Hunt
  • Amelia van der Merwe Stellenbosch University
  • Gabriel Urgioti
  • Helen Meintjies
  • Christina Laurenzi
  • Sarah Skeen
  • Jackie Stewart
  • Laura Hartmann Stellenbosch University
  • Mark Tomlinson



youth-participatory research, media, intervention, child outcomes, hospital environment


An emerging body of participatory media work aims to access children’s subjective experiences. One such medium, children’s radio, has increasingly become a significant means of motivating and mobilising vulnerable children in many environments, including hospitals, by creating a space in which they can express their lived experiences. The present study describes stakeholders’ perceptions and experiences of a children’s hospital-based radio, drawing on interviews with child patients, family members, health providers, and hospital administrators. Seven healthcare workers or hospital administrators, 10 parents or guardians, 10 child presenters, and 12 child listeners were interviewed, and their interviews analysed using thematic analysis. The children’s caregivers and healthcare professionals felt that the children’s involvement in the radio resulted in significant intrapersonal development. Some benefits of their involvement were pride and increases in confidence. A particularly valuable finding in the present work pertains to the questions of “speaking back” and “voicing”: the radio platform allowed children to voice their feelings and opinions in settings in which they are disadvantaged in terms of the power differential between healthcare providers and those who receive medical care. The children found value in the usual power differentials characterising hospitals, being reversed, as ownership of the radio platform inverted their position as the passive recipients of medical questions and treatment and allowed them the power to voice their questions and concerns.


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How to Cite

Hunt, Xanthe, Amelia van der Merwe, Gabriel Urgioti, Helen Meintjies, Christina Laurenzi, Sarah Skeen, Jackie Stewart, Laura Hartmann, and Mark Tomlinson. 2021. “Participatory Children’s Radio in the Context of a South African Hospital: An Exploratory Study of Stakeholder Perceptions and Experiences”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 33 (1):19 pages.



Received 2019-11-26
Accepted 2021-03-12
Published 2021-05-26