Posts Tagged ‘community media’

The Grow Up Plan — The Birds and the Bees, the Banks and the Bonds; Now on Radio!

Madhav Prakash broadcasting from Tafelsig on the Cape Flats

Introducing a brand new show for the youth, by the youth, about sex, money, muscles and everything else that matters. 

In the vast expanse of Cape Town’s townships, where hope and despair dance on a razor’s edge, a generation finds itself teetering precariously on the threshold of adulthood. Behind the vibrant façade of the Mother City lies a somber reality, particularly on the Cape Flats. Here, the youth face a web of challenges that threaten to entrap them before they even have a chance to spread their wings. Single parenting, gang violence, poverty, and a scarcity of opportunities converge, casting an ominous shadow over the dreams and aspirations of Cape Town’s future. It is a treacherous landscape where the road to maturity is paved with hardship, making the transition from vulnerable adolescent to empowered adult a feat as daunting as any they may encounter.

In investigating the needs of Capetonian youth, our programming intern, Madhav, identified a unique opportunity to engage with Bush’s younger audiences. Drawing from his own experiences maturing in a single-parent household in India and navigating finances, health, sex, relationships, and family on his own, Madhav conceived The Grow Up Plan. In each of its 55-minute episodes Madhav learns about classic coming-of-age struggles and insights buttressing a different aspect of adulthood. He describes the show as one on adulting — the art of being a grown-up.

Designed with the belief that young people are most willing to pay attention to other young people, most of Madhav’s expert guests are young entrepreneurs, teenage founders of NPOs, activists, and friends. Ending every show with an exciting ‘Ask an Auntie’ segment, where the perspective of an older and wiser citizen of the world dots the Is and crosses the Ts, makes for a show that is well-rounded, young, and wise. The 55 minutes is equal parts banter, learning, and relevantly named pop music, and the first 4 episodes are available for listening on Madhav’s YouTube channel, linked to this article. 

Episode 1: Love, Sex, and Bedrog

Join Madhav as he learns about all things sex from people who look like they’ve actually been in love before. Thaina Theodoro, Founder of Sem Medo, an NPO that partners with schools to further sex education teaches us the basics of safe and pleasurable sex. Kurt Godinez, all the way from the Philippines, speaks of his own experiences with loving. Dr Priya Puri, clinical psychologist, discusses the primary concerns that young people today have in their relationships and about sex. Sex therapist and India’s Aunty Gunjan Sharma answers all the questions that you were too afraid to ask your mothers. 

Episode 2: Gymbros, Koeksisters, and Geriatric Health Issues caused by Excessive Gatsby Consumption


Episode 4: Babies in Diapers and Grandmas in Dentures

About Madhav: Madhav Prakash is a 19-year-old student from New Delhi, India. An incoming freshman at Stanford University in the USA, Madhav has been a part of the programming team at Bush Radio since March. At Bush, he produces for and co-presents SakhiSizwe, weekdays from 12:00 till 14:00, hosts The Grow Up Plan, Saturdays at 15:00, and is working on a number of side projects with the goal of revitalising the community media space in Cape Town. You can find him on Instagram, or through his webpage at


People’s names are important, and getting it correct is especially important to us. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. New intern Madhav Prakash takes us through pronouncing theirs. #hindi #aroundtheoffice #BushRadio

♬ original sound – BushRadio

Radio is thriving in South Africa: 80% are tuning in

Cecilie Arcurs/Getty Images

Tanja Bosch, University of Cape Town

Almost three decades into democracy, radio is thriving in South Africa. Radio listenership in the country is consistently higher than the global average. And it in fact increased during the COVID-19 lockdowns of the past two years.

This is perhaps not surprising given that radio acts as a companion and that people were confined to their homes and so more likely to tune in, more often. But during the pandemic, radio has also played an important role in bringing educational broadcasts to youth who did not have access to the internet. People also listened to radio station podcasts during lockdown, and podcast listenership in South Africa is also higher than the global average.

Despite South Africa’s divisive history, I have argued that this is because radio listening provides background texture to everyday life. It’s a social activity which reminds people that there is a social world “out there” and helps them link to it.

The numbers

Radio is a universal mass medium in South Africa, since more people have access to radio receivers and broadcasts than they do television sets. In fact, radio remains the most popular and pervasive medium across the continent. This is despite the proliferation of cellphones, the growth of social media apps and on-demand streaming music services.

One might assume that fewer people would listen to the radio given these technological innovations. But the most recent measurement figures show that radio audiences in South Africa continue to grow.

In 2021, about 80% of South Africans had tuned into a radio station within the last week, with most people still listening on traditional radio sets. There are 40 commercial and public broadcast stations and 284 community stations in South Africa.

Radio audience numbers in South Africa have not declined as they have in North America, due to an increase in streaming service options. There is, in particular, high listenership among young people, who listen to radio as a source of both news and companionship.

Vernacular radio

World Radio Day is a good time to reflect on the role of the medium in a country like South Africa, characterised by inequality and a ethnically divisive history under apartheid.

Historically, South African broadcasting has not provided a common space of public communication, but instead reinforced notions of separateness, in line with apartheid narratives of difference. As I argued in my book Broadcasting Democracy, people “consume” radio, making strategic choices about which stations to tune into on the basis of their personal or group identities.

Commercial music radio stations in particular are still often seen and sometimes even explicitly framed along racial lines. There is a plethora of radio stations in all 11 official languages available at the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

South African scholar Liz Gunner has shown how a station like the Zulu language Ukhozi FM has been significant in connecting with urban and rural listeners to navigate post-apartheid Zulu identity. Ukhozi FM has the highest radio listenership with nearly 8-million listeners. While during apartheid language and ethnic differences were used as a means to segregate citizens, today these are celebrated as part of a diverse “rainbow nation”.

The public sphere

Despite the continued popularity of vernacular radio, English-language talk radio stations and shows still attract African language speakers who frequently phone in and participate. This could be linked to the dominance of English-language media in South Africa and the fact that English media spaces are also often dominant.

In other words, despite the range of vernacular options, English stations are perceived as being sites of the public sphere and attract debate and conversation between a diverse range of South Africans.

A young man in bright blue shirt sits in a high tech radio studio.
YFM DJ Kutloano Nhlapo, 2017, Johannesburg. Leon Neal/Getty Images

Regardless of language, talk radio shows are booming with vibrant conversations, highlighting the important role of radio as a space to bring together geographically diverse South Africans to debate matters of social and political importance.

Aside from identity, radio also plays a key role as a companion for people, as in this study where the majority of youth said that radio “keeps me company”. Another recent study confirmed that listeners often see their preferred radio station as a companion and feel a deep connection with both the station and its DJs.

Social media

While traditional listenership is growing in South Africa, people are also listening more online and interacting with radio stations in different ways, for example via social media platforms.

Whereas in the past listeners could only access radio hosts via calling in to the station, they can now easily and instantly reach them via apps like Twitter. And equally instantly receive responses. While calling in to a station usually implies negotiating one’s way past a call screener or producer and engaging on a specific topic, Twitter communication is often more casual, relaxed and personal.

Radio is thus no longer a one-dimensional platform or “blind medium”, and this is a key contributing factor to its growth. And radio listeners are able to now communicate directly not only with the station, but also one another.

Community radio

And with 284 stations, the role of community radio in South Africa also remains key to continuing to build and consolidate democracy. Originally designed as the “voice of the voiceless”, community radio emerged as part of the liberalisation of the airwaves in the early 1990s. They were a key strategy in the repositioning of the apartheid-state media landscape.

Like many other organisations in the NGO sector, community stations have faced financial challenges after the withdrawal of international donor funds which sustained them during the apartheid period. But they are still flourishing, as evidenced by the large number of stations still in existence.

Stations like Bush Radio, the oldest community radio project in Cape Town, still boast an exciting lineup of alternative talk and music content. And smaller community projects like Rx Radio, a children’s radio project based at Red Cross Children’s Hospital, also play a key role in providing children’s entertainment produced by children themselves.

Radio plays a significant role in South Africa as form of education and entertainment. The diverse and vibrant range of stations is a unique feature of the South African media landscape.

Tanja Bosch, Associate Professor in Media Studies and Production, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Celebrating World Radio Day #CapeTown to #NewYork #BushRadio #WHRU

Video clip of Bush Radio streaming live in New York
Listen to the Bush Radio / WRHU broadcast

The broadcast consisted of a “Taste of Cape Town with Wayne McKay, Lerato Mashile and Mitchum George followed by the WRHU team interviewing a Bush Radio panel consisting of:

From the Cape Flats to NY #WorldRadioDay #NewWorldNewRadio #WRD2021 #radio #BushRadio #WRHU


This year in the lead up to World Radio Day, Bush Radio was invited to participate in a broadcast with WRHU Radio Hofstra University 88.7 FM in the United States as part of their global celebration.

Join us this Friday, 12 February at 3pm as we take the Cape Flats to New York and beyond.

Wayne McKay, Lerato Mashile and Mitchum George will host a “Taste of Cape Town” and this will be followed by the WRHU team interviewing Bush Radio Alumni and discussing the power of community media, its role in Africa, challenges, innovative radio programming, training and the impact of the station in Africa and globally.

The panel to be interviewed will consist of:

*Proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO, and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, February 13 became World Radio Day (WRD). This year WRD is divided into three subthemes:

  • Evolution – The world changes, radio evolves.
  • Innovation – The world changes, radio adapts and innovate.
  • Connection – The world changes, radio connects.


Basic protective measures against the Novel #Coronavirus – click here

Official websites for accurate information regarding COVID19:

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

Regulations and Guidelines – Coronavirus Covid-19

World Health Organisation

Western Cape Government Health Department

Bush Radio MD Brenda Leonard Makes MDDA Board Interview Shortlist

Bush Radio’s Brenda Leonard

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications has announced that Bush Radio’s Managing Director Brenda Leonard is one of the candidates shortlisted to fill one of four vacancies on the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) Board.

The addition of Leonard to the shortlist is a move in the right direction for the MDDA’s search for Board members, according to Bush Radio Programme Integrator Adrian Louw.

“Leonard’s standing within the community media sector, due to her commitment and level of integrity, as well as the wide range of skills she possesses, will be an asset to the MDDA. She has led Bush Radio through very trying times – and continues to do so – and the skills she’s gathered over 27 years of community radio involvement will provide the MDDA with much-needed direction on a strategic level.”

She spearheads Bush Radio’s drive to ensure more support for the community media sector.

Leonard is the Western Cape’s provincial secretary of the National Community Radio Forum, volunteer bookkeeper at the Mitchells Plain Advice and Development Project, and is on the journalism advisory committee for the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and a founding delegate of the United Nations Global Alliance on Media and Gender.


Community Media demands to be heard

Ministers indifferent to the plight of the community radio sector

UPDATE: Community Radio Under Attack From Sentech Demands

The end of revolutionary radio in South Africa?

Basic protective measures against the Novel #Coronavirus – click here

Official websites for accurate information regarding COVID19:

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

Regulations and Guidelines – Coronavirus Covid-19

World Health Organisation

Western Cape Government Health Department

Break the silence, show love


May 17, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Help to break the silence, speak out for those unable to and above all show each other love.

Related: Read about the first gay radio programme ever in South Africa – Bush Radio’s In the Pink

Basic protective measures against the Novel #Coronavirus – click here

Official websites for accurate information regarding COVID19:

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

Regulations and Guidelines – Coronavirus Covid-19

World Health Organisation

Western Cape Government Health Department

Important information on the use of masks #covid19 #coronavirus (WATCH)


Basic protective measures against the Novel #Coronavirus – click here

Official websites for accurate information:

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

Regulations and Guidelines – Coronavirus Covid-19

World Health Organisation

Western Cape Government Health Department

Ministers indifferent to the plight of the community radio sector


The National Community Radio Forum issued a press statement after their meeting with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) yesterday.

The meeting was held to discuss the current crises with regards to the planned closure of certain community radio stations by the broadcasting authority.

READ NCRF STATEMENT 7 November 2019 – Ministers indifferent to the plight of the #communityradio sector

Again Bush Radio is very concerned about these developments and we believe that a closure of one station is worrying. We call upon all parties involved to look for an amicable solution for the continued survival and growth of the community radio sector.

We also encourage communities, individuals, organisations and businesses to support their community radio stations.


Community Media demands to be heard

Keep your voice alive

Don’t just like what you hear.

The end of revolutionary radio in South Africa?

Positions available (Sales)


Bush Radio is recruiting energetic, creative and target-driven sales representatives to work in the Sales Department of the station.


  • Computer literacy compulsory (including excel, PowerPoint and word)
  • A Matric certificate
  • A passion for community media
  • Sound oral and written communication skills
  • Proven sales track record
  • Own transport

A basic salary with a competitive commission on sales will be paid.

Closing date for application is Thursday, 7 November 2019 at 17h00.

No late applications will be considered.

Interviews will take place the week of 11 November 2019, and successful applicants will start ASAP.

Download, complete and email your application form to

Applications should be clearly marked SALES REP JOB APPLICATION.

No telephonic enquiries will be accepted.

Applicants not contacted within two weeks after the closing date should consider their applications unsuccessful.

Bush Radio reserves the right not to make an appointment.

Don’t just like what you hear.


Have you received airtime on Bush Radio?

Have you received training at the station?

Have we promoted your song, organisation, issue or start-up?

Please consider making a contribution to the continued running of Africa’s oldest, volunteer driven, not-for-profit community radio station.

Check out:

Spread the word so that we can keep doing what we do by being of service.

For more information visit:

Or visit to listen online and find links to our social media pages.

Find out more about the work of Bush Radio and the struggles of community media visit these articles:

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