26 May 2021 marked the launch of The Send Space, South Africa’s first ever rock climbing podcast. We sat down with Mienke Richter and Aimee Clarke to get the low down on their new passion project…
So, who are the brains behind the operation?
Mienke Richter is that sleek voice asking all the questions on the podcast. Advocate by day and podcast host by night, Mienke is also responsible for the business strategy and some production elements.
Aimee Clarke manages all the public relations, written content, social media and offers production input. So, not too far off from her day job as a technology writer and editor.
Matt Chapman is responsible for producing the show and bringing you a polished end result. His background as a DJ, producer and sound engineer brings this trio’s skills together in a balanced power team.
Together they all share an immense passion for climbing and growing the sport in South Africa.
How did the Send Space team meet?
Mienke and Aimee met at TUKS (University of Pretoria) in their pre-climbing, more-like-partying days. Four years went by before their paths would cross again in June 2020 at CityROCK Johannesburg, where their belaytionship blossomed and their newfound climbing psych would soon spark the creation of the Send Space.
The two then delved into learning how to record interviews, and discovered that it was much more complicated and time consuming than initially thought. The Aimee & Mienke Climbing & Partnership episode (recorded in the car to Bronkies) will sadly never bless our ears.
However, Matt came to the rescue when his partner showed him the Send Space Instagram page, which, at the time, was just sharing aspirational SA climbing pics and somewhat-motivational one liners. Matt met up with the ladies at CityROCK and told them he wanted to help. With his impressive skill set, Mienke saw a meant-to-be moment, and the partnership was formed.
Mienke – you went from your first climbing session to the host of a climbing podcast in under a year. How did that happen?
“Climbing with Aimee made space for me to fall and cry and laugh. I was empowered. I was free. Mostly, I was excited. I was learning about climbing in the safety of her understanding , compassion and super soft catches. Climbing changed my life. It seemed logical to get rid of bad habits and focus on what was serving my climbing. My passion was real and I wanted to share it. Under the shelter of our climbing partnership I grew and it seemed the natural next step to grow with the community in a way I knew – podcasting.”
What would you say are a few of your favourite aspects of climbing?
Mienke, “How much fun it is to be terrified, dealing with fear and engaging with it in multiple aspects”.
Aimee, “Focusing on moving with intention and the meditative aspect when you’re deep into the flow sequence”.
Why have you chosen a podcast as your main platform?
Mienke is an avid podcast listener, and was sad to see a lack of SA content when she started engaging online to grow her psych. She wanted to explore the art of podcasting, and learn more about uniquely South African climbing history and issues, such as crime in the crags, racism in the sport, etc. Her vision for the Send Space is to open a discussion around all aspects of South African climbing and make this knowledge more accessible to the community.
Aimee has a love for written content, and the blog on their website allows them an avenue to express their own personal thoughts and experiences. Aimee tells us, “There is so much more than just what’s happening in the podcast. The blog allows us to express our own observations, history and views. The podcasts is for guests, the blog is for us.”
What is your vision for The Send Space?
To be a collaborative community space where people can share their stories. In the future we would love to have people record their own episodes and submit them to us for broadcasting.
And, of course, the dream is to get paid to do this. Monetising the operation would make it sustainable, and afford the team the resources to produce more episodes, more regularly. Mienke explains that she would love to make the Send Space her half day job so that she could do more pro bono legal work (yup, she’s that amazing).
Why do you think it’s important to have a South African climbing podcast?
There are few resources available, besides MCSA journals, for South African climbing history. The team plans to record more history-focused content going forward and address more uniquely South African topics. Aimee explains that by talking about the important issues, we make progress in finding solutions, together. They aspire for listeners to engage with a topic, and then go out and do something about it.
What issues/topics do you hope to address in future episodes?
On 28 July, you can listen to the second instalment of the Chris Cosser interview, focusing on representation, diversity and ego. In August, we’re talking with Jenni Comins about motherhood and climbing. Also in the pipeline is a discussion of the gender gap in route-setting with Kent Jennings, Red Bull OCR Athlete Thomas van Tonder’s world record journey, and a chat about #Dreamline with Terence Vrugtman.
How can the community get involved?
There are plenty of ways to get involved and support The Send Space:
- – Subscribe on Patreon
- – Donate through SnapScan
- – Donate some gear to help them lower the barriers to entry for new climbers
- – Partner with them by sponsoring an episode, donate giveaway prizes etc.
- – Rate their podcasts on Apple podcast
- – Follow them on Instagram
- – Subscribe to their upcoming newsletter
- – Just engage with them