Kofifi FM 97.2

Kofifi (“Let’s go to Sophiatown”) is the uprising spirit of the people in Sophiatown – one of the most exciting places of Johannesburg where all races could be found together peacefully before Apartheid destroyed the place and its culture. The Westbury Community Development Centre Trust has established KOFIFI FM 97.2 as one of the major projects to revive this old heritage of Sophiatown and its surrounding areas. This has not been an easy undertaking; the station painstakingly started 15 years ago in 1998 with endless negotiations with ICASA and finally received its community radio station license in September 2011; in March 2011 embarked on on-air tests and went completely operational in October of the same year. This in spite of Sentech informing the founders of the station that the prospect of going on air was zero as they would experience transmission interference from established stations with established transmitters. Consequently, as one of the only radio stations in South Africa, KOFIFI FM 97.2 had to completely depend on its own and install its self-operated transmitter system. By undertaking this exercise, the team could even gain significant knowledge and skills of broadcast signal distribution and now successfully operates its own transmission equipment. To their credit the station transmits as far afield as Potchefstroom, Roodepoort, Edenvale and Pretoria on an FM signal.

Kofifi FM 97.2 has its own Broadcast license, Spectrum license, Board of Directors, Management and Constitution. The Constitution was agreed and published on 27 August, 2013. Kofifi FM 97.2 is one of the few radio stations in South Africa which is proudly self-provisioning its signal distribution operations and not utilizing the services of SENTECH.

All of this due in most part to the founder and driver of the stations’ resilience and also his expertise and technical experience which he gained from MNet where he worked for ten years. A job he gave up with one clear objective in mind: to negotiate for the community radio station license to among other train and uplift young people in his community who were losing their way to drugs and all sorts of criminal activities. And to produce compelling media in the community radio station environment of high standard aimed specifically at the local Westbury coloured market that also represents the rich diversity of a multi-cultural South Africa.

But Kofifi always has been and still is a great place of innovation. In 2014 we have started a project spreading our wings into the digital dual broadcasting of radio and television with the aim of developing a provider-independent distribution platform for digital terrestrial television. After getting a trial license from ICASA, KOFIFI-SOPHIA-TV was born and became the world's first community television project that operated its own DTT signal multiplex with its self-operated transmitter in the L-Band using DVB-T2 technology. The television signal could be received with a generic DTT Set-Top-Box, a simple frequency-downconverter and a self-made coffee tin antenna within a remarkable area and could have become a great opportunity for the country and the continent to empower the community television sector. Even though for whatever political reason the technology was not adopted, Kofifi kept fighting for better technologies that would serve the underprivileged people and communities.

Eventually, in 2016 WECODEC initiated Africa's first DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) trial in the FM-Band which was very successfully implemented and performed and resulted in nothing less than an ITU-endorsed report which is now part of Digital Broadcasting standard literature and in the end led to the fact that South Africa has made DRM+ (DRM in the FM-Band) part of its National Digital Sound Broadcasting Standard. So please have a look at the report here.

For current information about the radio station visit the WEBSITE of Kofifi FM 97.2.