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Radio Khwezi: A community radio success story

Radio Khwezi (which means “the morning star” in isiZulu) is the most successful and largest rural community radio station in South Africa. Situated near Mapumulo in the KwaZulu Natal heartland, Radio Khwezi, a non-profit organisation (NPO), has been broadcasting programming for the community, by the community since 1995. With a broadcast footprint that covers the KwaZulu Natal midlands and north coast areas, Radio Khwezi enjoys the support of over 140 000 listeners a day—the vast majority of whom are from rural, underdeveloped and economically disadvantaged communities. Broadcasting from two transmitters (Greytown on 90.5FM; and Eshowe on 107.7FM), Radio Khwezi broadcasts 80 per cent in isiZulu—each day broadcasting an hour in English, Afrikaans and German. Radio Khwezi works together with the rural communities it serves to develop, produce and broadcast quality programming with sound values geared at educating, empowering, mobilising and uplifting the social, economic and spiritual lives of individuals, families and communities. Programming reflects the interests of the rural community and is balanced with national and international priorities, all presented with a local flavour. The station broadcasts news, current affairs and educational programmes, talk shows and local dramas. Music programmes dedicate the majority of air time to local content while nurturing the talents of local choirs and gospel artists.

The programming and journalistic excellence of this rural community radio station is widely recognised. In the past five years, Radio Khwezi’s awards have included:

  • 4 MTN Radio Awards won in 2012
  • Best Community Radio Station in Africa, presented by AMARC, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
  • Vodacom’s Ten Years of Democracy Prize
  • The Vodacom Journalism of the Year Award (won in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007)
  • Five national Department of Communication awards including Best Community Station in KwaZulu Natal.

This level of commitment and dedication has seen Radio Khwezi “benchmarked” by the media sector in South Africa as an example of excellence in community radio—an achievement made even more remarkable by the fact that the station is staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers. A true community radio station, Radio Khwezi is the trusted voice for rural communities in KwaZulu Natal.

 

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