MISA-Swaziland e-Forum article
Myles Mumford is a radio producer working at Lusweti, a health communications NGO in Swaziland. Myles recently helped a Swazi community radio campaign by recording local artists and producing a CD. All proceeds from the sale of CDs will go toward the campaign for community radio in Swaziland. Read on for Myles’ take on the project…
I am currently volunteering in Swaziland, a landlocked country in Southern Africa. I’m here working on a variety of projects but mostly working in radio.
Imagine if you will that there was no community radio, no radio based on local community issues, very little broadcast of local musical content; no free broadcast discussing political issues and no alternate view of local or international news. That is the situation in Swaziland.
Swaziland has no community radio network. The nation’s communications are tightly controlled by the government. The national broadcaster is essentially a propaganda mouth for those in power. For the past 13 years the Lubombo Community Radio (LCR) initiative has been lobbying for a community radio licensing scheme so that they could secure a permanent community radio license. In the last 13 years they have been granted 4 one-day licenses to broadcast the kings birthday celebrations, that is all — a definition of persistence if you ask me. But all that looks set to change.
Earlier this year the parliament finally passed legislation allowing for the licensing of community radio, and when this legislation has been approved by King Mswati III there will be a legal framework for the issuing of non-government radio licenses. The goal of LCR, therefore, is within reach. But as with many things in developing countries they now they need funding for equipment and training.
The LCR, led by veteran community radio campaigner Ambrose Zwane, is a network of four community stations covering each of the four regions of Swaziland and will broadcast local content, local community discussions, locally created music and begin open discussions of local politics. However without the much-needed equipment and training this will not happen.
Earlier this year I worked with the LCR and members of the Lubombo region to record 9 local bands, so that during their fourth kings birthday broadcast the LCR could broadcast local musicians playing local music in the Swazi vernacular, siSwati.
We have now made this album available for sale on bandcamp to raise funds for LCR. It was a real hoot to record. It’s full of great local music and it’s for a great cause. I really hope you can support this program and I hope you can share this campaign with your friends, family and colleagues…
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org and go to www.mylesmumford.tumblr.com