Radio Soundings

South Africa and the Black Modern
Author(s):
  • Publication Date: March 2019
  • Dimensions and Pages: 229 x 152 mm; 240pp
  • Paperback EAN: 9781776143214
  • eBook EAN: 9781776143436
  • PDF EAN: 9781776143436
  • Rights: SADC & Kenya
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): R320.00

Radio Soundings is at once a uniquely South African story and a compelling transnational tale of black South African exiles using radio as a medium to contextualize their anti-apartheid struggles with African American Civil Rights and the decolonization of European empires.
Robert Trent Vinson, William & Mary, author of The Americans Are Coming! and Albert Luthuli: Mandela before Mandela

… a beautifully intimate and historical portrait of radio dramas produced by South Africans in South Africa and abroad. She illustrates the possibilities of voice these dramas within Apartheid and post-Apartheid eras enable through a focus on Zulu language radio…
Laura Kunreuther, Bard University

The radio in Africa has shaped culture by allowing listeners to negotiate modern identities and sometimes fast-changing lifestyles. Through the medium of voice and mediated sound, listeners on the station – known as Radio Bantu, then Radio Zulu, and finally Ukhozi FM – shaped new understandings of the self, family and social roles. Through particular genres such as radio drama, fuelled by the skills of radio actors and listeners, an array of debates, choices and mistakes were unpacked daily for decades. This was the unseen literature of the auditory, the drama of the airwaves, which at its height shaped the lives of millions of listeners in urban and rural places in South Africa. Radio became a conduit for many talents squeezed aside by apartheid repression. Besides Winnie Mahlangu and K.E. Masinga and a host of other talents opened by radio, the exiles Lewis Nkosi and Bloke Modisane made a niche and a network of identities and conversations which stretched from the heart of Harlem to the American South. Nkosi and Modisane were working respectively in BBC Radio drama and a short-lived radio transcription centre based in London which drew together the threads of activism and creativity from both Black America and the African continent at a critical moment of the late empire. Radio Soundings is a fascinating study that shows how, throughout its history, Zulu radio has made a major impact on community, everyday life and South African popular culture, voicing a range of subjectivities which gave its listeners a place in the modern world.

List of Figures
Acknowledgements
List of abbreviations and acronyms

Introduction: voice, race, radio
PART I: SOUND AND ‘MIGRATION’
1. K.E. Masinga, Zulu Radio, and the politics of ‘migrant’ orality
2. Communities through the back door: the radio worlds of Alexius Buthelezi, 1961-78
PART II: DISTANCE AND INTIMACY
3. Bloke Modisane and the BBC, 1959 -78
4. ‘Africa on the rise’: the early 1960s, and the radio voice of Lewis Nkosi.
PART III: DRAMA, LANGUAGE AND DAILY LIFE
5. Untidy boundaries, restless identities: Zulu serial drama in the 1970s
6. Radio drama in the time of violence: Yiz’ Uvalo (In Spite of Fear), December 1986 to May 1987
7. ‘Ikusasa lethu’ (Our tomorrow): the “glorious decade” radio drama of the 1990s
8. Finding a centre

Conclusion: dances of power

Bibliography
Index

Liz Gunner is visiting Research Professor in the School of Languages, University of Johannesburg. Her most recent books include the co-edited Radio in Africa: Publics, cultures, communities (2011) and Power, Marginality and African Oral Literature (with Graham Furniss) (2008).

Radio Soundings is at once a uniquely South African story and a compelling transnational tale of black South African exiles using radio as a medium to contextualize their anti-apartheid struggles with African American Civil Rights and the decolonization of European empires.
Robert Trent Vinson, William & Mary, author of The Americans Are Coming! and Albert Luthuli: Mandela before Mandela

… a beautifully intimate and historical portrait of radio dramas produced by South Africans in South Africa and abroad. She illustrates the possibilities of voice these dramas within Apartheid and post-Apartheid eras enable through a focus on Zulu language radio…
Laura Kunreuther, Bard University

 

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