An existing digital radio station in Johannesburg is branching out into education with several certificate courses. 

Two students from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Rosebank College, are working together to launch a new media college in Johannesburg. The college is expected to run its first workshop on Friday, September 17, 2021. 

According to Mpendulo Sibiya (25), the academy’s chief executive officer and co-founder, the college sets itself apart from other media institutions in the city, by offering a “different learning model”. Sibiya says that the academy’s growing network with media companies such as Power FM, gives its students opportunities to build their own brands at an early stage.  

Situated on 87 Commissioner street, Azania Academy will be offering its students higher certificates and more than 15 short courses that span across three professions: media, information technology, and business. 

Sibiya says that 75% of course credits are made up of practical work, preparing students to immediately enter the job market. Classes blend in-person and online lectures. “We’ve got field [and] qualified facilitators in the respective fields, and will also bring in industry experts.” 

The academy was accredited in March this year by the Media, Information and Communication Technology (MICT) Seta, the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) 

Theko Litsoane (24), the other co-founder of the academy, says that the college aims to be in touch with its community by being open to educating the youth about computer literacy and other skills.  

Reflecting on the academy’s extension from Azania Digital Radio, established in 2018, Litsoane says the college was introduced “to add sustainability to the radio station” and bolster what it earns from advertising revenue. 

Litsoane, who paused his studies in BCom Finance at UJ, says that he “liquidated a substantial amount of his investment portfolios” to bankroll the accreditation for the radio station and the academy.  

Sibiya, a Rosebank College student who quit his diploma in public relations, says he was able to generate capital by saving three years’ worth of allowances, cash from part-time jobs and from hosting events. After meeting Litsoane, Sibiya says they joined forces and started inviting students from UJ, Wits and Rosebank College, to form part of the Azania radio staff in 2018.   

Since then, the station has grown its listenership to 85 000. Sibiya says analytics show that more varsity students listen to the radio station during weekend, when the line-up mixes  talk with music spanning from hip-hop to amapiano.  

Wits honours graduate in BA dramatic arts, Karabo Masemola, a DJ at Azania, wishes the academy was around when she started in the industry.  “I think it’s a great initiative. When I started there [at the radio station], I wish I had that opportunity of the media college because it is really opening doors for many people,” says Masemola. 


FEATURED IMAGE: Milan Mavundla (left), Neo Malaka (middle) and Tshiamo Mobe (right) presenting their show at Azania Digital Radio. Photo: Provided.