Human Rights Radio

Episode 10: Radio Africa, part 1 (58 min. 26 sec.)

*This episode originally aired on the Robin Hood Radio Network on Friday, February 27th*

This episode features the works of several Bard students who participated in Professor Drew Thompson’s Radio Africa class in fall 2014. Students were tasked with making audio essays that examine the role that radio has played in contemporary African history. The result is a four-part radio series called “Radio Africa: Broadcast History,” featuring essays on a broad range of topics, places and styles, some radio-related, some not as much, grouped under the themes of: Speaking and listening, or narratives in sound; Agitating Radio; Media and Identity; and Profiles in advocacy.

Part I: Jessica Zaccagnino- Truth Commission Radio

In her podcast, Jessica Zaccagnino ’17 examines the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (as well as it’s counterpart in Argentina) and explores how truth and national imaginings can be broadcast by political figures.


Cole, Catherine M. Performing South Africa’s Truth Commission: Stages of Transition. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2010. Print.

Krog, Antjie. Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa. New York: Times, 1999. Print.

Makeba, Miriam. Jikele Maweni. Miriam Makeba. N.d. MP3.

Roht-Arriaza, Naomi. The Pinochet Effect: Transnational Justice in the Age of Human Rights. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania, 2005. Print.

“Truth Justice Memory: South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Process [Introduction].” YouTube. The    Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, 04 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.

 Part II: Eimile Joyce- Robben Island: Communication during Incarceration

Eimile Joyce ’15 takes us back in time to the infamous Robben Island Prison in South Africa, where prisoners came up with their own language to communicate in secret.

Allam, Lorena. “Robben Island: A Sound Journey.” Hindsight. Podcast audio. December 8, 2013. robben-island—a-sound-   journey/4785444.

BBC. “1976: Soweto Protest Turns Violent.” BBC On this Day. 2514467.stm.

“Ex Prisoner Stories: Thulani Mabaso.” Audio file. Robben Island Museum.

Mandela, Nelson. Nelson Mandela: The Struggle Is My Life : His Speeches and Writings Brought Together with Historical Documents and Accounts of Mandela in Prison by Fellow-prisoners 1944-1990. 3rd ed. Bellville: Mayibuye Books, 1994.

Music credit: Sam Cooke, “Chain Gang” (excerpt)

 Part III: Jackson Rollings- Neo Muyanga and William Kentridge: Reconstituting History and Language through Artistic Practice 

Jackson Rollings’ ’15 piece features South African musician Neo Muyanga, who shares his thoughts on the arts in Africa. Neo visited Bard College last Fall to talk with Professor Thompson’s class and perform at Bard hall—both conversation and performance are sampled, in part, in Jackson’s podcast.

Visit Neo’s official website for music, concert dates, and more.

Muyanga, Neo, and Masauko Chipembere. Born in a Taxi. BLK Sonshine. 2000. MP3.

Muyanga, Neo. Nalete. Neo Muyanga. The Listening Room, n.d. Neo Muyanga Website. Web.     <>.

Muyanga, Neo. “Neo Muyanga In-Class Talk.” Neo Muyanga in Radio Africa. Olin Building,      Annandale-On-Hudson. Lecture.

Neo Muyana at Bard Hall. By Neo Muyanga. Bard Hall, Annandale-On-Hudson. Performance.

Untitled. Dir. William Kentridge. Perf. William Kentridge. Second Hand Reading. Marian Goodman          Gallery, 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.   09-17_william-kentridge/video/untitled-red-  singer-2013/.

Lecture at the University of Rochester. Dir. William Kentridge. Perf. William Kentridge. Second Hand       Reading. Marian Goodman Gallery, 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

Part IV: Ilana Dodelson – Oral Tradition and the Arts in Africa

In the final quarter of our episode, Ilana Dodelson 15′ examines African oral tradition as a place where historiography and artistry collide and combine. The works of South Africa poet/visual artist Dineo Seshee Bopape and African-American visual artist Kara Walker are featured throughout.

Vansina, Jan. “Once upon a Time: Oral Traditions as History in Africa” in The Historian and the World   of the Twentieth Century Vol. 100, No. 2, (Spring, 1971) pp. 442-468. MIT Press on behalf of American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Accessed Online. Stable URL:

Tonkin, Elizabeth. “Investigating Oral Tradition” in The Journal of African History Vol. 27, No. 2,        (1986) pp. 203-213. Cambridge University Press. Accessed Online. Stable URL:

Oyewumi, Oyeronke. “Making History, Creating Gender: Some Methodological and Interpretive Questions in the Writing of Oyo Oral Traditions” in History in Africa Vol. 25, (1998) pp. 263- 305 African Studies Association. Accessed Online. Stable URL:

Chicago Humanities Festival. “Kara Walker: Rise Up Ye Mighty Race!” N.p., 4 Mar.

  1. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.

The Aspen Institute. “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in conversation with Damian Woetzel”     N.p., 11 Mar. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.  

Seshee Bopape, Dineo. “objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” 2014. Web.            15 Dec. 2014.

Seshee Bopape, Dineo. “But that is not the important part of the story” 2013. Dir. Biennale de Lyon. N.p., 16 Sept. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. .


Mapping Emptiness, by Cosmic Analog Ensemble

“pager (boo) _ tryna be” by electronic artist Snacs (Josh Abromovici ’15). Visit for more music.

Instrumental, by Marc Dtwo.



Nelson Mandela’s sketch depicts a view of Table Mountain through the bars of a prison cell on Robben Island. In fact Table Mountain is not visible from the prison cell window.  This sketch is courtesy of Belgravia Gallery.

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