Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood is a special guest at Kennington’s annual charity gala on Saturday. Nicola Lisle finds out more

For more than 40 years, Kennington Overseas Aid (KOA) has been running a busy programme of events to help deprived areas of the world, reaching out across the miles to bring relief to victims of famine, flooding, Aids and much more. This year’s end-of-season gala, Bandwaves, is helping to raise money for the Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF), which links children in this country with children in some of the poorest areas of Africa. The CRF has local connections. Its executive director is Charlotte Bannister Parker, daughter of record-breaking runner Roger Bannister, while one of its global ambassadors is Colin Greenwood, bassist with Oxford band Radiohead.

Colin will open the gala, and will then be interviewed by Matthew Arnold sixth-former Naiha Masih, who has been trained in radio skills by the CRF. “The idea was to train six young radio presenters in very much the same way as they train radio reporters in Africa,” explains Sylvia Vetta, KOA’s chairman. “The kids they train in Africa are very disadvantaged — they tend to be street children, Aids orphans and so forth. But they are so professional — listening to their recordings is amazing.”

Naiha and five other sixth formers, from Matthew Arnold and Magdalen College School, had two days’ training at Brunel University funded by the CRF.

“Naiha says it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her,” Sylvia says. “So she will interview Colin, and the interview will be recorded so it can be sent on the airwaves to Africa.

“Charlotte would really like to start a proper radio station at Matthew Arnold School, so the children can actually get to know the African kids, which we think would be very exciting. “Music would be the perfect way of doing it, because it’s an equal way. The African kids can record music, and our kids can record music, and they can share it.

“Only six per cent of Africans are connected to the Internet, and of course not many have television because of not having electricity in villages, but 95 per cent have got access to radio. So it is a transforming media, an amazing means of communication. That’s why it can get to seven million African children.”

The gala includes a buffet supper and, as always, musical entertainment will be provided by Charity Opera, who this year will be joined by Kennington Silver Band and children’s choir Music Mayhem.

“We decided to bring together other groups that make a contribution to the musical life of Kennington,” explains KOA Secretary Rebecca Martin, who also sings with Charity Opera.

“The band are popular with all age groups, and Music Mayhem are always a huge success at the Kids for KOA concerts. As this year’s charity is the CRF we thought having input from children at the concert would be particularly appropriate.

“Each group will perform a 20-minute slot, then the three of us liaised to think of something we could join forces on for the finale — easier said than done! We decided on Abba’s Thank you for the music, and Rule Britannia, which the audience will be invited to sing along to.

“And the title Bandwaves links the music and radio theme together!”

  • Bandwaves
  • Kennington Village Centre
  • Saturday, 7pm
  • Tickets: