Radio in Africa

Radio in Africa

Publics, Cultures, Communities

Edited by Liz Gunner, Dina Ligaga, Dumisani Moyo


James Currey



Radio is 'Africa's medium', with an ability to transcend barriers to access, facilitate political debate and shape identities.
Contributors investigate the multiple roles of radio in the lives of African listeners across the continent. Some essays turn to the history of radio and its part in culture and politics. Others show how radio throws up new tensions, yet endorses social innovation and the making of new publics. A number of contributors look at radio's current role in creating listening communities that radically shift the nature of the public sphere. Yet others cover radio's central role in the emergence of informed publics in fragile national spaces, or in failed states. The book also highlights radio's links to the new media, its role in resistance to oppressive regimes, and points in several cases to the importance of African languages in building modern communities that embrace both local and global knowledge.

Liz Gunner is visiting Professor at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research; Dina Ligaga is a lecturer in the Department of Media Studies, University of the Witwatersrand; Dumisani Moyo is Research and Publications Manager at the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.

Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe & Swaziland): Wits University Press


September 2012
336 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781847010612
Format: Hardback
James Currey
BISAC SOC052000, PER008000, HIS001000
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Soundscapes of Radio in Africa - Liz Gunner and Dina Ligaga
Introduction: The Soundscapes of Radio in Africa - Part I Radio, Popular Democracy & New Publics - Dumisani Moyo
Talk Radio & Politics in Ghana: Exploring Civic & (Un)Civil Discourse in the Public Sphere - Wisdom J. Tettey
From Diffusion to Dialogic Space: FM Radio Stations in Kenya - Christopher Joseph Odhiambo
Contesting Mainstream Media Power: Mediating the Zimbabwe Crisis through Clandestine Radio - Dumisani Moyo
Equivocal Resonances: Islamic Revival & Female Radio 'Preachers' in Urban Mali - Part II The Cultures of Radio: Languages of the Everyday - Dorothea E. Schulz
What is the Relationship between Hate Radio & Violence? Rethinking Rwanda's 'Radio Machete' - Scott Straus
Why Radio is Africa's Medium of Choice in the Global Age - Winston Mano
Bantustan Identity, Censorship & Subversion on Northern Sotho Radio under Apartheid, 1960s-80s - Sekibakiba Peter Lekgoathi
South African Radio in a Saucepan - David B. Coplan
Radio Theatre: The Moral Play in the Historical Context of State Control & Censorship of Broadcasting in Kenya - Dina Ligaga
IsiZulu Radio Drama & the Modern Subject - Restless Identities in South Africa in the 1970s - Part III Radio & Community: Voices of Change - Liz Gunner
Radio Okapi - 100 per cent Congolese - Stephanie Wolters
Talk Radio, Democracy & the Public Sphere: 567MW in Cape Town - Tanja E. Bosch
Radio & Religion: A Case of Difference & Diversity - Maria Frahm-Arp
Voices from Without: The African National Congress, its Radio, its Allies & Exile, 1960-84 - Stephen R. Davis
Airing the Politics of Nation: Radio in Angola, Past & Present - Marissa J. Moorman
Radio in Zones of Conflict - Abnormal Measures for Abnormal Circumstances - David Smith
Multiple Publics, Multiple Languages: Radio & the Contestations of Broadcasting Language Policy in Uganda - Monica B. Chibita


Benefits from eschewing the tired rhetoric of development and African affairs vis-à-vis the north, and focuses on what is rather than offering prescriptions of what should be. [...] Highly recommended. CHOICE

This is the kind of book that takes something we take for granted and succeeds in rendering it so unfamiliar as to make us see it with new eyes. A sweep across the continent in one volume is a masterstroke. THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT

'An absorbing and illuminating, kaleidoscopic picture of radio in action all across the African continent. Creating new civic spaces, reflecting the everyday, and reworking perceptions - all these and more are explored in this excellent discussion of what remains the most important public communicative medium in Africa.' - Graham Furniss, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London