Figure 1 Publishing

Menu

Non-Fiction

Radio Okapi Kindu

The Station That Helped Bring Peace to the Congo

Jennifer Bakody

A touching memoir of a young journalist’s coming of age and a love song to a poor but astonishingly beautiful country.

Can one small station known as the “frequency of peace” stand the strain of maintaining its editorial rigour when so much is at stake?

Book Description

One of Africa’s largest radio stations operating in one of the continent’s most politically unstable countries sets the stage for a touching and thought-provoking story that illustrates how peace is a process, and that the spectrum between war and peace is much more nuanced than common narratives allow.

In early 2004, as a joint U.N.- and Swiss NGO-financed Congolese radio network called Radio Okapi was marking its second year, Jennifer, a young journalist from Nova Scotia, Canada arrived in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa with rose-colored prejudice abounding. After seven years of brutal warfare involving eight neighboring countries and several million deaths, hostile factions had just agreed a ceasefire. A new transitional government was in place.

A week later Jennifer finds herself 1,500 miles up the Congo River in the heart of the country’s jungle, managing Radio Okapi’s regional station in the small city of Kindu. She joins a hard-working team of local reporters―six men and one woman who are determined to cover their country’s rapid march towards elections. Armed only with facts, they set about to tirelessly, unceremoniously chip away at the rampant rumors, misinformation and conjecture that has long polarized the Congo.

When a public lynching is followed by an outbreak of violence, Jennifer realizes how little she understands Congolese politics―and how little she has at stake compared to her Congolese colleagues. Maintaining the rigour of Radio Okapi’s editorial line suddenly seems like a matter of life and death. Can one small station known as the “frequency of peace” stand the strain?

Radio Okapi Kindu is an honest, unvarnished account of a young journalist’s steep learning curve and a love song to a poor but astonishingly beautiful country whose notable broadcasting record bears lessons for media consumers everywhere.

PRAISE

“It is my hope that the humanity portrayed by Radio Okapi Kindu will help to rally the world around the many forces for positive change in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” —Dr. Denis Mukwege, world-renowned gynecological surgeon & founder & medical director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

“[Jennifer Bakody] has written a deeply affecting memoir […], one that details the enormous difficulties faced by journalists in poor, war-torn regions with great empathy.” —Foreign Affairs Magazine

  • paperback
  • 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • 352 pages
  • 978-1-927958-97-1
  • $22.95