University of Hertfordshire

Cultural Pluralism and Democratic Ideation - An African Story: The Case Study of South Africa's Three Ethnic Minority Radio Stations

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • Brillant Mhlanga
View graph of relations
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Media Influence on Social and Political Change in Africa
EditorsAnthony A Olorunnisola, Aziz Douai
Place of PublicationHershey PA, United States of America
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4666-4198-3
ISBN (Print)1466641975, 9781466641976
Publication statusPublished - 2013


This chapter focuses on the mediation of cultural pluralism by the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s three ethnic minority radio stations: Munghana Lonene FM, Phalaphala FM, and X-K FM.1 By discussing these radio stations as case studies, the focus will be on their contribution to democratic ideation, and as forms of political disjunctures and continuities in radio broadcasting policy. On disjunctures, the chapter provides a microscopic perspective of the disengagement with the apartheid period as part of a throwback and as a way of charting a new path for a democratic South Africa. Its aim is to show the structural arrangements created and enacted into law by apartheid that had to be repealed and discontinued after 1994. During apartheid, radio broadcasting had been organised along ethnic lines, beginning with two broadcasting schedules in 1937; one for English speakers, known as service A; and service B for Afrikaans speakers. The 1960s in the South African broadcasting landscape marked the establishment of ‘Bantu radio stations’, which broadcasted mainly in indigenous ethnic languages. This stencil encouraged the creation of more ethnic focused radio stations in the ‘80s, which were later embraced by the post-apartheid leaders as a way of engendering cultural pluralism aimed at fostering democratic ideation and social transformation.

ID: 1764030