The face and voice behind Hello Muizenberg

Wayne Turner in his mobile studio on Muizenberg beach.

It’s not Wayne Turner’s first time behind the mic, not by a long shot.

But usually, he is the one asking the questions. There is a massive smile in the voice you know from CCFM radio, Builder’s Warehouse announcements and the Hello Muizenburg podcast series.

“I must have done about 7 500 interviews in my time. This is only the second time I have ever been interviewed,” Wayne laughs.

This is shortly forgotten though in the free-flow of information and stories of his varied life.

He has held 17 different jobs, all in the pursuit of “anything other than a desk job”.

He has been flown out in helicopters to oil rigs, and visited one horse town mining establishments, held positions in online marketing for companies and been a Fire Safety and Security officer. That’s excluding his years spent in service as a wholly committed member of SAPS.

He’s studied theology, photography and radio broadcasting – he even spent some time as a cast co-ordinator. Way back in his earliest days, he held a clerk’s position for a while, before he realised that there were as many ways to make your way through the world as there are people.

Currently Wayne is a producer at CCFM – but it is his community centred podcasts that have caught our attention.

The Hello Muizenberg Podcast is a weekly online radio show about Muizenberg – and the unique people who populate it. Occasionally there are interviews with the colourful folk holidaying in the area and passing through with scintillating stories to tell, but most of the time – the podcasts are peeling back the layers of the community and revealing the work and projects of the locals.

He relishes these conversations; and is compelled to share the fruits of them with the rest of the community. It is an ever expanding mandala of people’s lives, their contributions, their philosophies of taking action, that inspire Wayne.

“I love people. My world revolves around people, what they offer, what they do. It is so encouraging to see active citizens, community members engaged in their passions which ultimately benefit the place they live in,” he says.

He wants his podcasts to link those people, connect a web of like-minded people who are willing to act on their good intentions in a variety of complementary ways.

He adds that not only is there a following being created for the community, but the history of the area is being documented.

Muizenberg lends itself to this idea. The HIve has become the podcast’s official office space and his podcasts feature Fergus Turner (no relation) talking about the current issues. However, Wayne also has a mobile studio -Miss Daisy – a camper van done up in teal and white – which is like nectar to the passersby when parked at Surfer’s Corner.

While Wayne and I chat, a stream of people pop their heads in through the open door, see the podcast set up with microphones emblazoned with Hello Muizenberg; and ask what is happening. They are each potential stories. Charly Mbalandak, the car guard, stops by to say hi, tourists ask about the podcasts, outside the surf crashes and booms. Wayne lives in the area, has for 30 years. He says on a walk to the shops once he greeted 33 people, most of them by name.

After all this time, he is still blown away by the number of interesting people who live in his community.

“Everyone has a story, you just have to ask. And you know what – when you know some one’s story -that’s what builds a sense of community and encourages people to pull together.

“There’s empathy – recognition of one another – and a sense of appreciation; and when people feel acknowledged, they bring their best selves forward,” he says.

His time with SAPS and with the experience of heading reservists, and as an ambulance driver in his younger years, has given him a unique insight on those who put their lives on the line to serve us.

“My mother, who is 81, fell just recently. I was so impressed at the level of care that she was shown that I wrote a letter to say thank you. A small thing, you may think. Except that the response I got was so sobering: I was asked to be the guest speaker at the Emergency Services service awards function last year. They so seldom get letters of thanks that my one letter was circulated across the country, to remind the staff that they are appreciated,” Wayne says.

The idea of service is deeply inherent in him. He is the director of public safety on the Muizenberg Improvement District Board, and was personally involved in the hugely successful year – end City and civic collaboration which saw Muizenberg run smoothly over the festive season.

While he works to pay bills, like everyone else, these podcasts stoke the fire of Wayne’s sense of service to the community. Take a listen to them on: