A Woman in South Sudan Finds Her Voice as a Reporter

Hellen Mangindo Samuel, reporter in South Sudan.

Hellen Mangindo Samuel, reporter in South Sudan.

Hellen Mangindo is a senior presenter on Eye Radio 98.6FM, a local South Sudanese radio station located in the capital city of Juba. She presents her own social affairs show – Under the Tree – focusing on women, children, health, reconciliation and healing.

She began her career in 1985 in what was then called Radio Juba and is now South Sudan Radio as a field reporter, program producer and presenter.

In an interview with PBS, Hellen said she encountered sexual harassment and inflexible deadlines when she first started working as a journalist.

“Most ladies get married early, you have a family, you need the job and you have to complete your assignments on time regardless of how you make ends meet at home and at work. 
When you are determined, nothing will deter you from your dreams. If you really want to be a journalist, you can make it.” 

From Radio Juba she transferred to Radio Omdurman in Khartoum. In 2009 she joined the Khartoum bureau of Sudan Radio Service, a shortwave news service and the precursor to Eye Radio, as a manager. Hellen returned to Juba in 2011 as a program producer and co-host of the popular show Dawn on Eye Radio.

After struggling as an independent state since 2011, South Sudan disrupted into ethnic violence in December 2013 due to a power struggle between the president and his deputy. Within weeks the conflict had killed thousands and more than 800,000 had to flee their homes. 

Hellen was on air continuously throughout the conflict, providing listeners with a familiar, calm presence and clear information on what was happening during the crisis. She has a keen interest in how the conflict has affected the people of South Sudan, and has attended trainings in Nairobi on the psychosocial effects of conflict and trauma.  She has also taken part in conflict sensitive journalism training, learning how to foster create peace through responsible use of the airwaves.

Banner photo: Celebration at Mayardit community radio station (credit: Internews)