Kekana: Use radio to build bridges

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

As South Africa joins the globe in celebrating World Radio Day, Communications Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana says the country must harness the power of radio to promote social cohesion.

“There is a growing need for us as a country to harness the power of radio to promote nation-building projects. The protection of our indigenous languages is one such initiative that would benefit from the ubiquity of radio,” Kekana said.

Now in its eighth year, World Radio Day is an annual celebration of radio as a medium, and a recognition of its power and influence across the world as a medium that has survived and embraced the advent of many other media platforms. 

13 February was proclaimed by UNESCO to celebrate radio broadcast, improve international cooperation among radio broadcasters and encourage decision-makers to create and provide access to information through radio, including community radio stations.

World Radio Day 2019 is celebrated under the theme ‘Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace’.

Kekana hailed the medium as one of the most loved, cherished and universal symbols of communications and human progress.

“The medium is dynamic, adaptable and still very relevant, despite the plethora of newer media such as the internet and social media. Radio is a powerful tool that brings people together and that has facilitated the spread of information to many people, even those in far-flung corners of the world,” said Kekana.

The Deputy Minister said in line with this year’s theme of World Radio Day, the country needs to use X-K FM, as it can contribute towards preserving the language and cultures of the Xun and Khwe people.

X-K FM is a South African community radio station based in the Northern Cape. The radio station was founded on 18 August 2000.

“To date. it is estimated that 210 community radio stations in the country reach an average of nine million listeners weekly. These are astounding numbers. For this reason, we regard it as our duty as government to do what we can to bolster the success of community radio stations,” Kekana said.

She commended the role of community radio stations in improving people’s lives, saying its impact speaks for itself.

“The ability to reach even the most rural of people makes this medium a powerful tool that has to be fully optimised,” Kekana said. –