Radio in Guinea

Guinea was recognised as a Portuguese colony at the Berlin Congress (1884-1885). For centuries, it was under Cape Verde's administration, which was reflected, for example, in the creation of the PAIGC liberation movement (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde), founded by Amilcar Cabral. The guerrilla struggle began on 23 January 1963.

Due to its small size and fewer natural resources, Guinea did not have the radio power of other Portuguese colonies, where the radio clubs and commercial radio models (Mozambique and Angola) and official radio (Angola) triumphed. Radio, however, was still a privileged means of contact with the population. The first radio station appeared in 1944 (EPGP, Emissora Provincial), and had a short wave transmitter of 1 kW in power. A few years later, in 1952, the Bissau station broadcast daily recorded music for a total of 90 minutes, with a news service in Portuguese and programmes such as Tribuna Desportiva (Sports Tribune), hosted by announcer Soares Duarte.

The governor and commander-in-chief of the troops of the colony António Spínola (1968-1973) would give much importance to communication as an element of counter-subversion, such as the radio station, with broadcasts in Portuguese and local languages, the so-called PLN (Programas de Línguas Nativas - Native Language Programmes), and the newspaper A Voz da Guiné. According to him, the war was not against communism, but of a psychological order and against the injustices and violence practised throughout history. Here, he seemed to follow cultural and philosophical principles of thinkers such as Benjamin Pinto Bull (1989), including the rapprochement with Leopold Senghor, the leader of Senegal.

As a result of the direct order of General António Spínola, the local station in Bissau went from private status to being integrated into Emissora Nacional (1969), taking the name Emissora Oficial da Guiné, which was implemented in 1972. At that time, the Bissau transmitter, located in Nhacra, had 100 kW medium wave power, making it one of the most powerful on Africa’s West coast, with broadcasts reaching hundreds of kilometres. At the same time, a small FM transmitter served Bissau and the surrounding area. In 1968, the eleven hours of broadcasts per day were made up of music programmes (Onda Musical, Fim de Semana), almost all of them sent by Emissora Nacional (Lisbon) and also a few hours produced in Bissau, besides the two weekly hours of record requests. In 1971, it operated between 8:00am and 00:00am, in medium and short waves and with advertising in the programmes.

Of note in the broadcasts by the Emissor Regional da Guiné Portuguesa station was Programa das Forças Armadas (Armed Forces Programme), known by the acronym PFA and the popular name Pifas, similar to the American Good Morning Vietnam programme, with music and light texts, and aimed at the military and the civilian population. It had three daily editions (12:00pm-1:00pm, 6:30pm-7:30pm and 11:00pm-00:00am). João Paulo Diniz, Júlio Montenegro and Armando Carvalhêda were three of the professional announcers who worked there, while serving in the armed forces at that time.

When we study radio in Portuguese Guinea, we also have to bear in mind the propaganda and counter-propaganda run by the Guineans. In the distant 1959, Belarmino Gomes animated a radio programme from Conakry, with information on the revolution in Guinea-Conakry and the forthcoming independence of Guinea. In 1960, the Sunday broadcasts of that station, in Portuguese, Creole and the Guinean languages, called for the fight for independence. From 1960, China, Egypt, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union would install radio stations broadcasting programmes against Portugal. Radio Liberation (PAIGC) broadcasts began in July 1967, with programmes in Portuguese, French and Creole, the latter being widely spoken by Guineans. The radio was led by José Eduardo Araújo, and his wife Amélia Araújo, known on the Portuguese side as Maria Turra, who urged Portuguese soldiers to leave the army. The range of Guinean and Cape Verdean music had songs by Valdemar Lopes da Silva, Abílio Duarte (1931-1996) and others, recorded on magnetic tape. Abílio Duarte would also become an artist and politician, namely Cape Verde's Minister of Foreign Affairs (1975-1981).

Original text with images, at

Author: Rogério Santos, 2021.

#radioguine #guine #biliografia

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