Original Research

Approaches to “Xenophobia” interventions in Africa: Common narratives through community radio in South Africa

Thabiso Muswede
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 11, No 4 | a55 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v11i4.55 | © 2015 Thabiso Muswede | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2016 | Published: 31 December 2015

About the author(s)

Thabiso Muswede, Department of Languages & Communication, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa

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The article explores the prospects of community radio programming in providing organic interventions against xenophobia in South Africa. In the context of mounting migration- related complexities globally, the media have increasingly become a fundamental communication infrastructure through which citizens come to understand realities that affect their daily lives. This observation is particularly applicable to the majority of South Africans who currently face multiple socio-economic challenges, cited as the “ignition spark” to recent xenophobic attacks on immigrants in the media. Numerous public institutions including government and civic society have used mainstream media to champion condemnations of these attacks, however through optimistic top-down projections such as national electronic and print publications, with limited success. Although the latter forms of communication do reach large audiences, they lack heterogeneous appeal and are usually carriers of dominant discourses embedded in structural biases that are slanted towards the elite. This approach often marginalises the lower stratum of the population who usually bear the brunt of the xenophobic scourge as either perpetrators or victims thereof. The article uses participatory communication models to explicate how, as a typical product and reflection of the dynamics of the communities it serves, community radio could be used to promote a grassroots common narrative context for reflective anti-xenophobia communication discourse. The article concludes that, as part of the broader multimedia intervention strategy, community radio can provide an effective local perspective to the anti-xenophobia discourse through sustainable mainstreaming of migration issues in its programming.


community radio; xenophobia; migration; participatory communication models; mainstreaming


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