Prudence Nyamishana is a writer, blogger and podcaster from Uganda. Her podcast, Nyamishana’s Podcast covers digital rights, human rights, culture, feminism and social issues in Uganda. Nyamishana’s Podcast mainly focuses on the lived experiences of Ugandans. She has been an author at Global Voices since 2013 and Africa Blogging.
How did you get into podcasting?
I started my podcast in July of 2020, and it was in the middle of the pandemic and I was looking for an escape. I had been writing since 2012, running my blog and many other blogs online. I wasn’t writing because of the confusion and the burnout that had come along the way and Covid was the last straw, but I still felt like I needed to put out content, so I started a podcast.
What is your podcast is about? What type of topics do you focus on?
My podcast is called Nyamishana’s Podcast. I named it because of my revived pan-African spirit and reclaiming myself and getting back to my authentic self. I decided to name it Nyamishana’s Podcast and so I am able to cover a variety of topics that range from understanding what feminism is, understanding what digital rights are, understanding human rights but also culture topics for instance, what is in her name, capturing the lived experiences of Ugandans and their human rights.
How is it being a podcaster in Uganda?
When I started in 2020, there were not many active podcasters but I’m glad to see many other podcasters are coming up and talking about a variety of topics from mental health to politics. The space was charting new paths because they had been podcasters but they were not as prominent. I see more people podcasting, the space is still wide open, but I’m glad that we have some consistent podcasting going on right now.
What tips would you give to people wanting to start their own podcast?
To use my own experience, what do you want to say? Just ask yourself a question, what do you want to say? How do you want to say it? And why is it important at this time? Podcasting is freedom, so it gives you the wings to say whatever it is you want to say, as long as it is not hate speech and does not violate the tenants of freedom of expression. I encourage whoever wants to start a podcast to go ahead and don’t even think about the money. How do you go professional, it is an open space. It is like tweeting, do you have a phone? What you can do is buy a microphone or just get a quiet place in your room and record and put it out there.
Once you have a niche, then you start gathering people around your podcast. Personally, for me my podcast has a variety of listeners, and so each episode gathers a different audience. There are those that keep coming back and those are 20%, but every episode has new and unique listeners because it is my name’s podcast, Nyamishana’s Podcast, so I want to say whatever it is that I want to say, and it is helping me answer the questions that have been looming in my brain for a long time, and hopefully can help others who are listening to just understand the world view of my guests that I host.
I’ve interviewed some African podcasters and it seems that every podcaster keeps on saying the same thing about finding a niche. What does that actually mean? Does it mean that it’s important, for people to find a particular topic to focus on?
The niche doesn’t actually have to be a topic or a specific subject. It could be your personality that could be the niche that draws people to whatever it is that you are talking about. For me, the niche is talking about Uganda’s lived experiences, but with a variety of topics. Once you establish yourself, the niche will grow because of the questions you are trying to answer, the context you’re trying to put out and once you’ve examined, why am I doing what I’m doing, then it is easy for you to build an audience around that. My audience is very scattered, only 20% keep coming back but yet every new episode has a different listenership. I can also see that in the analytics, you find sometimes Ugandans are interested in a topic and then I cover another topic, you find that my listeners are from everywhere else, except Uganda. I can see from the demographics of my analytics that there are different interests but my niche is the lived experiences of Ugandans.
You said that 20% of your listeners coming back. What do people need to do to ensure that people keep on coming back to their episode?
For me they don’t have to come back, they need to select what it is that they want and that is what just gives me the freedom to say whatever it is that I want because there are people who are interested in culture. For instance, one of my proudest culture podcasts is ‘What is in a name’, but someone who listens to that may not be interested in digital rights. I have no problem with people not coming back. I listen to podcasts randomly when I am searching for a topic and then I find it and never go back to that podcast. My audience is built around episodes rather than an entire podcast.
I think that’s quite interesting, podcasters talk about building a community and having people regularly listen. What actually motivates you to continue doing these podcasts?
I’m doing the podcast for myself, that is what the motivation is. I am my first audience and similarly to when I was writing, I was writing for an audience of one, I feel that I need to serve myself first before I can serve anyone else. If along the way you relate, then that is great. But for me, I am doing content for myself and if there’s a community that relates and builds their own communities around that, great. Even when I was writing there were questions that have lingered in my mind for a long time and I’m trying to answer, so I don’t have an audience in mind when I’m putting out content.
What about the importance of Africans having control over their own medium and being able to tell their own stories?
Media influences minds, it influences thought, it influences how we represent ourselves. It is important that Africans have the agency over their own content that they’re putting out because that is what keeps me moving with my podcast. The BBC cannot tell a Ugandan story within my neighbourhood, better than I can.
‘Until the lion learns how to tell its tale every story will glorify the hunter’ and that is what we saw with postcolonialism. Most of the content that was written between the 1800s, when we were being colonised and until independence was written by white people. As a result, there was a whitewashing of African history. It is important that we tell our own stories, whatever form we know and if anyone has something to say, they should say it
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