Bristol’s home of in-depth journalism
Powered by 2,000+ members
The Bristol Cable

In July, Bristol’s Ujima Radio became eight years strong.

Photo: Marco Valle
Words: Jasmine Ketibuah Foley*

Walking into Ujima Radio’s studio in the heart of Bristol, you’re greeted by a warmth, an understanding of family that’s held the station together over almost a decade. No matter how old you are, who you are or where you are from, you’ll be welcome.
On air over the years, Ujima has featured urban icons such as The Mad Professor, Brandy and Dawn Penn. It’s teamed up with some of the city’s biggest events such as Love Saves The Day, See No Evil, Bristol’s Harbour Festival, VegFest and Redfest. It has championed everything from an inclusive European Green Capital to voter registration and blood donation among BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) groups, as well as the return of the much-loved and missed St Paul’s Carnival. So who makes these things happen and how? The answers lie in the Ujima back office.

Buzzing environment

08--ujima-MarcoValle-1“It’s a constant hub of activity, with a buzz in the air that seems pregnant with creativity, and ideas constantly being shared by anyone and everyone over cups of tea and open meetings – all with voluntary people-power,” says Julz Davis, Ujima’s external relationship manager.

Ujima was conceived in one of the city’s most deprived yet dynamic neighbourhoods: St Paul’s. From the outset the team made it their mission to inform, represent, educate and entertain by celebrating the culture, heritage and contributions of Bristol’s BAME communities. Now in its eighth year, Ujima 98FM has become a platform of expression for people who otherwise may not have a voice.

Ujima had to move from St Paul’s in 2014 after disputes with its landlord but, with the support of Bristol’s Creative Youth Network, relocated – appropriately – to The Station in Broadmead during early 2015. At the time Roger Griffith, Ujima’s Chair, said the team were “sad” to leave their community base but were “looking forward to a bright future”.

In 2015, after receiving a National Diversity Award, Ujima Radio also won ‘Best Community Group in the South West’ at the MTM awards. “It’s an amazing achievement for all at Ujima,” said founder Kevin Philemon. “Who would have thought that less than a year ago we were fighting for our lives as we were effectively forced to leave our original premises in St Paul’s?”

Ujima remains by Bristol for Bristol and, with over 150 volunteers and 30,000 loyal listeners, has become a powerful platform for promoting local issues, celebrating local talent and influencing positive change. Here’s to our next chapter.

*Jasmine has her own show on Ujima radio

Support the journalism Bristol needs.

Thanks to the 2,000+ members who support the Cable, our in-depth journalism is free for everyone. Together, we empower readers with independent and investigative local reporting. Join us and be a part of Bristol’s reader-owned media cooperative.

Join the Cable

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like...

Reports Struggle For Trans Health Equality

‘She was just left to it’: bereaved mother slams mental health care before death of her trans daughter

Struggle For Trans Health Equality Features

Writing on the wall: why trans and nonbinary people in Bristol are speaking out

Edition 23 Fight For Fair Air

Air pollution close to pre-lockdown levels as battle for solutions hots up

Edition 23 Investigations

Police intelligence links disappearance of Linda Millard to gangland murders

Podcast Bristol History Podcast People's History

Bristol History Podcast: The Pneumatic Institute in Hotwells

Solutions In Bristol Ideas And Action Black History Month

‘You need to see yourself’: tackling the national curriculum’s overwhelming whiteness

In Bristol

The essential round-up

Sent to your inbox every Friday