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Community Radio Research Paper

Rural women in South Africa are important role players in community development; to withhold information from them is to hold back the potential for rural development. However, obstacles such as poverty, illiteracy, fear, poor access to public agencies, and lack of knowledge about the right to information and how or where to ask for it has deprived women of access to information. Since post-apartheid South Africa, government has made progress toward empowering women. Community radio is the only accessible and readily affordable medium within the rural community and can play a significant role in rural development of women. This article adopts the case study research approach through the use of document analysis and interviews to investigate the role of two community radio stations in selected areas of the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa with regard to rural development and the dissemination of information to women listeners. It also suggests ways by which these radios may be used to enhance access to information by rural women in South Africa. The findings reveal that although community radio stations are recognised as support systems for information dissemination in rural communities, their role in information dissemination and the community development of women has not been fully explored. This article suggests ways in which the services of community radios may be enhanced by the provision of information to women for rural development.

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