History of South Africa Podcast – a reflection

A note to the listeners who have been so supportive – and a thank you

The series has arrived at that decade that made all the difference, 1820-1830.

In the space of 10 years, the English settlers had arrived, Shaka would build his empire, the trekboers would leave in large numbers to spread through southern Africa and the mission stations along the Orange River would grow in size – changing the culture there forever.

But that is just the start.

We’re up to episode 88 and its a moment of reflection for me. When I began planning this series a few years ago, many questions about style and format cropped up. Should there be interviews and Q&A’s? Should I get guest lecturers? Maybe a panel discussion or two?

Each of these presents a challenge when it comes to the production. As a solo operator, I don’t have an echelon of assistants who can line up speakers and manage programmes. This has to be done sustainably in my life as I am a CEO of a media company and that demands time and energy.

The scripting option has its own limitations and challengers, however.

Each week I write between 3500 and 4000 words following around five to ten hours of research. Fortunately the years of study help here. I am an African History student from Rhodes University with a degree majoring in History in 1985, then completed an Honours year in 1989.

This long term approach has meant that it is feasible to generate a podcast of 20 minutes or so a week because I’m drawing on decades of reading, research and obsession.

To the hundreds of thousands of listeners that now follow the show, I want to say thank you. I am sorry if this appears to be a boast but folks tell me I am supposed to mention the numbers – we went past a quarter of a million listens a few months back and the series is now approaching 400 000.

How about that!

When I began this series at the start of 2021, the main idea was to just try and be as direct as possible about the story, and not expect too much. The fact that so many people have logged on to listen has been a total surprise, and a motivator to do better.

In the future I will have to link a PayPal account on my other podcast websites to this series to help pay for the hosting of my WordPress site and the hosting service which is South African-based, called Iono.fm.

Francois who is the marketing manager there has helped a great deal and lined up sponsorship in the past, and I look forward to continuing to host this series through Iono.fm into the future.

When we hit 500 000 downloads I’ll use the moment to draw a broad line through the history, summing up the era and compressing time. Some of the listeners have asked for a wrap-up of periods in South African history to make it easier to digest what is going on, so that will be a perfect moment to reflect once more.

Thanks everyone for being so wonderfully engaged and supportive!

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