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Book launch: Radio soundings - South Africa and the black modern

When: Monday, 26 August 2019 - Monday, 26 August 2019
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
WiSER Seminar Room, 6th Floor, Richard Ward Building
Start time:17:30

Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) will host the launch of Professor Liz Gunner’s book.

Gunner will be discussing her book with Dina Ligaga (Media Studies, Wits). The discussion will be chaired by Professor Hlonipha Mokoena from WiSER.

The radio in Africa has shaped culture by allowing listeners to negotiate modern identities and sometimes fast-changing lifestyles. Through the medium of voice and mediated sound, listeners on the station – known as Radio Bantu, then Radio Zulu, and finally Ukhozi FM – shaped new understandings of the self, family and social roles. Through particular genres such as radio drama, fuelled by the skills of radio actors and listeners, an array of debates, choices and mistakes were unpacked daily for decades. This was the unseen literature of the auditory, the drama of the airwaves, which at its height shaped the lives of millions of listeners in urban and rural places in South Africa. Radio became a conduit for many talents squeezed aside by apartheid repression.

Radio Soundings is a fascinating study that shows how, throughout its history, Zulu radio has made a major impact on community, everyday life and South African popular culture, voicing a range of subjectivities, which gave its listeners a place in the modern world. 

Liz Gunner is visiting Research Professor in the School of Languages, University of Johannesburg. Her most recent books include the co-edited Radio in Africa: Publics, cultures, communities (2011) and Power, Marginality and African Oral Literature (with Graham Furniss) (2008).

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