Rupal Rajani

"What I love about being on the radio, is the impact that it can have. It’s immediate, effective and powerful. It gives people a platform and a voice"

What do you do?

I am a freelance presenter and producer at BBC Radio Leicester. I am also an event host and Head of Media and Communications for Life on the Level who are a support group for sufferers of serious balance conditions.

I am currently working on a project about the 50th Anniversary of Ugandan Asians arriving in the UK in 1972.

How did you get to where you are?

In terms of my radio work it was kind of accidental! My first love was drama and theatre, but as someone who grew up listening to radio especially the Asian Programmes on BBC Radio Leicester, it was something I thought I might like to have a go at.

So when the opportunity came along my sister spoke to the boss at Sabras Radio to have a chat with me. It started from there really. And like many people over the years, I’ve worked my way up. From making tea and coffee for guests to presenting various shows on the BBC, it’s all done through learning on the job.

My highlights have to include the two documentaries I was able to make both for radio and TV about the Ugandan Asian Expulsion in 1972. Being able to go to Uganda twice and tell the story of not only my own family’s journey to Leicester, but hear first hand accounts of others' experiences and sharing that with others was so important and amazing.

As far as my connection with the balance group is concerned , well it’s a personal story of having a medical balance condition and raising awareness of it. There’s not a great deal of support out there for people like me who are often wobbly walkers, who can sometimes look like they’ve had a few too many to drink . So this is a great support group that has been set up to help support us. So if you know anyone with the balance condition or you yourself have or are experiencing it yourself, we’d love to hear from you .

Why do you love what you do?

I love meeting new people and finding about what makes them tick even though I’m quite shy. It has given me the opportunity to get to know so many different people from all walks of life.

It’s an opportunity for people and communities to connect.

Why Leicester?

We came to Leicester as refugees as one family of many thousands who were kicked out of Uganda by Idi Amin and stayed. I love Leicester and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the UK . It’s my home. People know each other, they have time to say hello. It has so many memories both good and bad.

People have been empowered to express themselves and made sacrifices so they can be and future generations in the city can be made to feel at home. For their stories to be heard and their cultural identity and history to be recognised. There’s still a long way to go but it’s certainly going in the right direction, even with it’s challenges.

What next?

I’m super excited to be working on a project to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Ugandan Asians arriving in the UK and here in Leicester in 1972 with John Coster and Tina Barton from the Documentary Media Centre. It’ll probably be the last time that people really mark the anniversary in 2022. It surprises me that so many people still don’t know the story of how we came to be here in Leicester, and the contribution we’ve made to the city’s culture and economy.

We want to leave a legacy for the future generations of people to make sure they know how we came to be here. We’re aiming to create podcasts, a recipe book of Ugandan Asian Food, a documentary , a photographic exhibition and educational material for schools as well as collecting further oral history material. Watch out for more information on our social media platforms!

I’m also working at branching out on creating podcasts, a livestream online presence and anything creative that excites me.

Reader Recommendations?

Through Lockdown I’ve gone through every series I think of (well not quite) on streaming sites. I’ve loved watching Normal People, Bridgeton and Death in Paradise again from the beginning and so many others I can’t even remember!


Twitter: @RupalR

Facebook: /Rupalschattywomen | /lifeonthelevelsupportgroup