Ghislain Somé: the one-man band

Ghislain Somé: the one-man band

November 25, 2022

Ghislain Somé is a one-man band. Head of Programming at Voix des Balé in Boromo (Burkina Faso), journalist, presenter, teacher, singer, musician, producer... The guiding thread of his life is his commitment to social issues, especially those related to women.

He is light on his feet. He walks with a rolling gait. Dressed in black jeans and a black t-shirt, with matching moccasins, he takes up a position in front of his peers. His voice is a little high, but assured. Integrating gender into our media is not about discussing it, it’s about embodying it. Taking gender into account in our media means not just talking about it. It means making it our real priority…
Ghislain Somé finds his rhythm and starts to wax lyrical. The Head of Programming at Voix des Balé radio station brings the “gender-sensitive management” training course, which was held on 7–11 November 2022 in Ouagadougou, to a highly personal conclusion.

This is no surprise for someone who joined his radio station in 2010, “thanks to music”. I had a production house and they were looking for a technician. I was then gradually pushed toward presenting and journalism, he recalls. The son of a father who played the balafon and a mother who sang in a choir, he has already released three reggae-inspired albums. He likes to sing in Dioula, to be able to connect with the entire population of West Africa, and defines himself as a singer who is involved in social issues. I want to raise awareness among people, to change things. The subjects he covers address violence against women, education for young girls, etc.

I quickly understood that they could do everything just as well as men

His most recent work is a tribute to his mother, who died on 24 December 2021. As the only boy among four children, women have always been central in his life. I grew up with them, he smiles. I quickly understood that they could do everything just as well as men. The journalist pauses and continues, in a more serious tone: when I witnessed violence against women, I thought about how it could have been my mother or my sisters.

As a journalist, my role is also to raise awareness by setting an example, he continues. The man from Boromo, who is also a teacher, knows what he is talking about. At the age of 42, he fought to marry his wife. It took me seventeen years before marriage was possible. My uncle formally opposed it. His wife, whom he met in secondary school, has fertility problems. Where this is known before marriage, society blocks the union. People decide for you. His mother came out to bat for him and finally, three years ago, the couple were married by the mayor. Under the monogamy regime, he stresses. So that nobody can force a second wife on me with whom to have children.

All together in our media, we can do it

On the radio, he hosts two programmes. For the first, “People”, he invites personalities from the world of art, musicians, visual artists, etc. The second, “Discutons ensemble!” (Let’s discuss together!) is an interactive programme supported by CFI as part of MediaSahel. On that programme, he covers social issues. He thus produced a programme on conflicts between partners. During the broadcast, men questioned themselves. It was really satisfying.

Naturally, Ghislain applauds the arrival of MediaSahel for women. The target must also be the husbands. To make them aware of what women bring to the home when, at work, they do the same things as men. His commitment after this first training course on gender-sensitive management?
I want to work on myself. The people I work with admire me. If I change, it will impact their behaviour.

It is at this point that he gets to his refrain: Gender-sensitive management in our media is a challenge that can be overcome. All the media outlets of Burkina Faso, all together in our media, we can do it.

Ghislain Somé : l’homme-orchestre
Ghislain Somé, chef des programmes à la Voix des Balé à Boromo (Burkina Faso)