Radio in Africa: Publics, Cultures and Communities is edited by Liz Gunner, Dina Ligaga and Dumisani Moyo
Radio has been called ‘Africa’s medium’. Its wide accessibility is a result of a number of factors, including the liberalisation policies of the ‘third wave’ of democracy and its ability to transcend the barriers of cost, geographical boundaries, the colonial linguistic heritage and low literacy levels. This sets it apart from other media platforms in facilitating political debate, shaping identities and assisting listeners as they negotiate the challenges of everyday life on the continent.
Radio in Africa breaks new ground by bringing together essays on the multiple roles of radio in the lives of listeners in Anglophone, Lusophone and Francophone Africa. Some essays turn to the history of radio and its part in the culture and politics of countries such as Angola and South Africa. Others – such as the essay on Mali, gender and religion – show how radio throws up new tensions yet endorses social innovation and the making of new publics.
A number of essays look to radio’s current role in creating listening communities that radically shift the nature of the public sphere. Essays on the genre of the talk show in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa point to radio’s role in creating a robust public sphere. Radio’s central role in the emergence of informed publics in fragile national spaces is covered in essays on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia. The book also highlights radio’s links to the new media, its role in resistance to oppressive regimes such as Zimbabwe, and points in several cases – for example in the essay on Uganda – to the importance of African languages in building modern communities that embrace both local and global knowledge.
Sections in this book are as follows: radio, popular democracy and new publics, the culture of radio-languages of the everyday and radio & community – voice of change.
This book is a definite must-have for my research on the democracy and the public sphere. Apparently, radio may not be struggling for survival as I once thought, given the rise of the Internet. It is coping just fine!
ORDERING INFORMATION: AFRICA: Blue Weaver, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary culled from book-source.