What remains to be such a significant (and dare I say unmatched in this province) contribution Radio 786 makes to community development, is at the level of enhancing critical understanding, debate, politics, economics and education.” ‘At the level of community development, there can be no doubt about the incredible intellectual, spiritual and emotional impact this radio station made on the hearts and minds of people, in particular Muslims in the Western Cape.
Prof. Yusef Waghid PhD (Dean: Education Department, Stellenbosch University)
Little else needs to be said about the impact that Radio 786 has made on the lives of ordinary citizens who have for years, been denied one of many key human rights– free speech. It can be said that the denial of any such rights, may lead an individual to believe that indeed he/she is not deserving of that right and so result in the person finding it a challenge to face his fears and even his own sense of justice/integrity.
Radio 786 heralds the view that human rights to education, speech, spirituality, integrity, justice etc are God –given entities and qualities to be used with respect and integrity. It is with this spirit that the station focuses on conscientising and empowering the community to both their rights and responsibilities; in their daily social, political, economic and educational struggle. In this way, 786 envisages and encourages social transformation where necessary.
Objectives and goals of the Radio Station
General History And Development Strategy
Radio 786 was borne out of the Islamic Unity Convention’s ideal to unite the Muslims of South Africa. The Islamic Unity Convention (IUC) is a national voluntary association whose constituent members are Muslim social welfare organizations, primarily from the Western Cape The IUC was formed in March 1994 at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Bellville, Cape Town.
Formation of Radio 786
One of the major issues at the Convention was the lack of access by the Muslim community to the electronic media. In November 1994 the National Council of the IUC applied to the IBA for a temporary community radio broadcasting licence for the Muslim community in the Western Cape. This application was successful and as a result, the IUC established the Radio 786 Committee.
The members of this Committee were recommended and nominated by the community organizations and eventually appointed to constitute the Radio 786 Committee. This Committee established Radio 786 and was charged with the management of the Station at an excecutive level. This committee is the highest decision making body of the Radio Station.
After Apartheid, a period of extreme prejudice and discrimination, the Islamic Unity Convention recognized the time and opportunity for all disadvantaged communities to be given a voice. Muslims within their own environment have in fact, been seen to be marginalized and disempowered over the centuries.– Radio 786 would be the vehicle to create the occasion for it’s communities to articulate their views as well as to assist with the recognition and establishment of the Muslim identity.
Need For a Radio Station
There is an additional concern that both the print and electronic media tend to represent Muslims in stereotypical fashion - ignoring the major contribution Muslims have made to South Africa and its liberation. Hence the need to let the community talk for itself.
With the increased ownership of the electronic media by corporations, coupled with the historic near complete ownership of the print media by corporations in South Africa, there is an even greater need for South Africans to increase and substantially expand the community radio sector. In reality this sector is one of the few ways through which Xolile Citizen and the community has direct access to the electronic media. Unlike corporate ownership of the electronic and print media which is fundamentally driven purely by profit, the community radio sector is driven by the interest and well being of the community.
It is not possible in fifteen years to eradicate 70 years of deliberate discrimination against blacks in the electronic media. The community’s self reliance skills have been enormously strengthened, and this need must be further developed.
If one considers the pace at which the electronic media is developing internationally and the impact of globalization, one realises the dire need for the expansion of the community broadcasting sector. For example, it cannot be the sole responsibility of the public sector to train journalists and to provide employment for them.
Community broadcasting is an alternative source for producing broadcast skills and journalists. This development also accords and gives effect to the demographics of South Africa and will produce an electronic media which is more representative of South Africans.
Radio 786 has not only upheld these objectives, but continues to set the pace in addressing and tackling grassroots issues that concern South Africans today – through information, education and the upliftment of the very community that they serve….
Radio 786 began broadcasting on the 1st September 1995 for three hours per day. The 25th of September of the same year, marks the official launch of Radio Station, from which date it broadcast a full day’s (19 – 20 hours) programme. Radio 786 has been broadcasting for 18 years.
Radio 786 is suitably located within close proximity to a densely- populated area known as Rylands; at the same time being easily accessible to the disadvantaged communities of the Cape Flats.
The Station's management has adopted an administrative approach to the organization since its inception, placing the station in a position to facillitate the running of the programmes, the capacity- building within the station as well as further staff training and empowerment.