Bantu Radio

The South African government positioned a development program for Bantu Radio in 1962 in an effort to achieve separate development and encourage independence for the Bantustans.  Bantu Radio was the name given to apartheid radio programs for Black South Africans. The government anticipated Bantu Radio to play folk music; instead it developed into many different genres such as isicathamiya, African jazz, kwela, and African “jive” which was later known as mbaqanga.  These genres were best suited for the needs of Bantu Radio because it did not interfere with politics and it reinforced “tribal” identity.  Since the  development of radio in apartheid South Africa, the government began monitoring song lyrics and censoring the ones that they considered to be a danger to the public.  The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was a radio service that was ran by the government and used to stop the playing of unwanted songs so that the idea of separate development set into place.  By  the late 1960s Bantu Radio was broadcasting in many different African languages  for twenty-four hours a day and averaged at about 5 million listeners by the late 1970s.



  1. Muller, Carol Ann. Focus: Music of South Africa. New York: Routledge, 2008. Print.
  2. “Timeline: The Developement of Music in South Africa 1600-2004 South African History Online.” South African History Online. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <>.

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