Young people in Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) who started a community radio station to give youth a voice on critical issues such as HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, social cohesion and rising unemployment, are riding the airwaves with pride.
Intokozo FM 101.2 MHz was established by Umlazi youth in 2013 and has an estimated 100 000 listeners. The name Intokozo means happiness or joy in IsiZulu.
However, they lost some of their joy in July last year when they suffered extensive equipment losses in the civil unrest and looting that rocked KZN. Intokozo FM was one of five community radio stations affected.
Recently, the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), led by Deputy Minister in the Presidency Thembi Siweya, unveiled new state-of-the-art broadcast studios at Intokozo FM.
Deputy Minister Siweya says the MDDA seeks to enable everyone in South Africa to have a voice and express themselves in their own language and through their cultural heritage.
“This is done by promoting media diversity, by encouraging and assisting the growth of local newspapers, community radio stations and even community television,” she says.
She adds that by giving a voice to communities through these platforms, government hopes to assist citizens highlight issues that affect them, so that they can be addressed and resolved.
Several community radio stations around the country have received new studios from the MDDA over the past months.
Intokozo FM broadcasts 24 hours, seven days a week. The broadcast format is 55% talk and 45% music. The broadcast languages are 60% isiZulu, 35% English and 5% isiXhosa.
Station Manager Mxolisi Ntanzi says the future of South Africa is in young people’s hands. Intokozo FM’s payoff line is ‘Young people’s choice’.
“We tackle social issues by inviting different people to come and speak on air about ways to combat them. We also invite graduates and experts who can advise young people on the paths to follow to get into fields such as entrepreneurship, agriculture, etc,” he says.
Ntanzi adds that the station has had highly successful road campaigns in Umlazi, which provide the youth with access to people who can assist them.
To find out more about getting funding from MDDA, call 011 643 1100 or email email@example.com