News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday February 17th 2019

Pan African Space Station tunes the continent from Cape Town

Driving force behind the Pan African Space Station, musician Neo Muyanga, directs participants at the PASS studio on Cape Town’s Long Street. Photo: Kent Lingeveldt/WCN

The Pan African Space Station, a 30 day internet radio show featuring an eclectic mix of the music, culture and politics of Africa, is tuning the continent from Cape Town for the third year running.An initiative of musicians Neo Muyanga and Ntone Edjabe, and the Cape Town based Africa Centre, the freeform radio station features live concerts, readings and interviews centred on African culture. A 24-hour stream of music and interviews is broadcast live on the internet.

Sowetan-born Muyanga, who makes up one half of the band Blk Sonshine, said the idea evolved from a desire to inspire people to dream and because there was a need for a space where people could share music, politics and culture.

Additionally, “radio is an exciting medium and it’s difficult to find freeform radio (radio with an unstructured programme) in South Africa”.

The initiative is based on the concept of a space station blasting rockets of information into cyberspace.

“It’s the idea of throwing information into cyberspace, but working with an altered mind space. It is about Africans going into exploration,” said Muyanga.

“Exploration on a literal level is the music of Africa and the diaspora, but it’s also a mind space, what binds us.”

Having started this year on September 12 – the anniversary of Steve Biko’s death – the Pan African Space Station (P.A.S.S) will continue until October 12, broadcasting from the main studio on Cape Town’s Long Street, and, for the first time, from a satellite studio Limbe, Cameroon.

Five days out of the 30 will see live performances by big name bands from Africa and the African diaspora, with the performances taking place in iconic Cape Town venues such as St. Georges Cathedral, the Slave Church, City Hall, the Albert Hall in Woodstock and Guga S’Thebe in Langa.

The band lineup includes the Democratic Republic of Congo based dance collective Studio Kabako, South African singer-songwriter, Thandiswe Mazwai, South African jazz composer and pianist, Kyle Shepherd, American funk fusion artists Georgia Muldrom and Declaime, and Cameroonian drummer and percussionist Brice Wassy and his trio.

Canadian DJ, Andy Williams, who specializes in playing music from Africa, is also featured in this year’s radio line up.

The September 12 launch day was, timed to be on the anniversary of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko’s death, with the show featuring a ‘Songs for Biko’ session. Participants stayed awake for 24 hours in remembrance of the anti-apartheid activist’s death, discussing politics and playing Biko’s last recorded interview.

A tribute to late singer Busi Mhlongo, called Songs for Busi, closes the broadcast on October 12.

To listen to the Pan African Space Station live stream, log onto: – Fadela Slamdien, West Cape News

Tags: africa, african diaspora, art, broadcasting, democratic republic of congo, freeform radio station, pan african, steve biko

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