During the darkest days of apartheid,
Radio Freedom, one of the oldest liberation radio stations, was the revolutionary tool that inspired many black South Africans in the fi ght for freedom.
Broadcasting over shortwave radio, its unmistakeable themed opening of the piercing sound of machine-gun fire
and rhythmic marching of soldiers became a rallying point against the apartheid regime.
The station was the voice of millions of disenfranchised South Africans and tuning in brought the latest world news, updates on the liberation struggle and a place for political education.
It guided young black South Africans seeking their space in the fi ght for freedom, particularly after the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960,
when police opened fi re on a crowd of non-violent protestors, killing 69 people.
The station heightened the fi ght for liberation and instilled the hope that one day a united,
non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society which respects human dignity and rights would be created.
Importantly, Radio Freedom offered an alternate view of the socio-political landscape and a different perspective of South African history.
At the time the airwaves were used by the apartheid regime to peddle disinformation and propaganda. It distorted the ideas of freedom and sowed seeds of division.
Furthermore, in response to Radio Freedom’s broadcasts, the apartheid state often tried to jam its transmissions and imposed a maximum penalty of up to eight years in prison for those caught listening to it.
m different radio stations in countries such as Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Ethiopia and Madagascar.
Over time, Zambia became the African National Congress headquarters in exile and home to Radio Freedom.
Following a successful engagement between the governments of South Africa and Madagascar,
Radio Freedom’s equipment that was used in Madagascar, was repatriated to South Africa to the Freedom Park Museum.
The handover ceremony held at the end of April this year was a historic moment and allows us to reflect on the difficulty that our country and people experienced under colonialism and apartheid.
South Africa is free today because of the countless sacrifices of many South Africans who fought tirelessly to overcome the brutal apartheid system.
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