Home Institution

University of Redlands

Publication Date

Fall 2014

Program Name

South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


The closing of apartheid in South Africa was brought by new measures for democracy in 1994. Community radio stations were seen as measures for local communication and involvement in giving different communities voices that has formerly been lost. This paper attempts to discover the relevance of community radio stations twenty years after democracy and just how citizens are participating.

The paper begins with a review of history of community radio on different levels around the world through the use of literature. The arguments made centralize around the necessity of specialized community stations, the effect of community engagement, the lack of government interference and struggles with funding, involvement with social media, and finally the passion and drive rooted in the stations. I explored the aspects of community radio by visiting and interviewing members from five different community radio stations in the Western Cape.

This ISP concludes that community radio stations are vital forms of communication in South Africa for enhancing the lives of people through democratic community efforts. If used as an instrument for fostering identity through local stations, there is potential for many people to be informed, educated, and entertained by their own means and participation. However, problems of commercialization, funding, and technological changes occur and create obstacles for the survival of these stations. On a grand scale, community radio can be looked upon as an opportunity for the masses of people coming together at local levels to define their identities and take part in the ever-changing world.


African Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Communication | Communication Technology and New Media | Community-Based Research | Critical and Cultural Studies | Mass Communication | Social Influence and Political Communication | Social Media


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