The Delmas Community Radio Project seeks to establish a local community radio station for the previously disadvantaged groups specifically in the Botleng area. The project is still on the initial stage; the phase of organising locals, and raising awareness for the need of establishing a community radio station.
This first phase of the project has seen the local community managing to setup a Facebook page, ‘Delmas Radio’, as part of raising awareness and building support for the project. The project has also setup a Whats-App group to identify local community project leaders for the radio station. The town of Delmas was established in 1907 by Frank Dumat as a farm community services centre. The name ‘Delmas’ is French and it means small town. The town is also known as the ‘Western Gateway to Mpumalanga Province’ because of its location which is strategically situated on the borderline of Mpumalanga and Gauteng Provinces. The town has since grown to what it is right now with many different communities composed of different ethnic groups. The town does not have a radio station to services the daily needs of the people and the local communities in this area. Locals still make-use of radio and television stations outside Delmas as sources of information which in many instances report and cover issues happening locally.
Community radio has been described as the expression of a small population, and a third voice between the state and private commercial radio. This voice is essential and important in local communities in Mpumalanga as locals get an opportunity to design their own programmes and also produce them unlike in a public broadcaster were programmes are imposed.
Community radio attempts to redefine relations between informer and the informed and to enhance, through the acquisition of simple technology, the feasibility of people intervening in the process of information production. Community radio stations have the ability to correct the distortions inherent in the majority controlled media by acting as the alternative media. It is ironic that local news is reported or covered by external broadcasters who do not even know what it means to be living in a local community and usually lack the context and background of what they report or cover.
Community radio stations have the alternative element associated with its potential to challenge the ‘establishment’, and in giving people an independent voice which is often perceived as alternative and free speech and promote; independence, equality, community participation, and representation.
The Delmas Radio Project is development centred as it a process of change the local community has set in motion governed by the principles whose objectives are to eradicate poverty, injustice and exploitation. This project is a pursuit of development with the participation of the local community; the central pillar upon which policies are built.
The community radio project comes at the appropriate time as it will provide information and knowledge and creating spaces for participatory involvement in local development. This further compounds the fact that genuine dialogue(s) with locals in a community through a radio station can be compatible with extending to ‘listeners’ technical expertise making it easy for the local government and other organisations to communicate appropriately with people.
Community radio is often viewed by way of the role it can play as an agent and medium of development, many development practitioners and communications specialists have tended to consider radio to be the most useful medium for development, the reason being that when compared to television, community radio can be accessed by a large section of the population.
We want to establish an all inclusive free space for all communities in Delmas to interact, exchange information and learn in the form of a Community Radio, and also the Local Government's support to this project through.
The Delmas Community Radio Project petition to Victor Khanye Local Municipality was written by Tulani Ngwenya and is in the category Miscellaneous at GoPetition.