Our site will be undergoing maintenance from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 20. During this time, Bookshop, checkout, and other features will be unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Cookies must be enabled to use this website.
Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available

See inside

Book details
  • SubGenre:Editors, Journalists, Publishers
  • Language:English
  • Pages:350
  • eBook ISBN:9781483597669

Radio Okapi Kindu

The Station That Helped Bring Peace to the Congo

by Jennifer Bakody

Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available

See inside


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 how the spectrum between war and peace is more nuanced than people think.

In early 2004, Jennifer, a young journalist from Nova Scotia, Canada, arrives in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa with rose-colored prejudice abounding. After seven years of brutal warfare involving eight neighboring countries and several million deaths, hostile factions have just agreed to a ceasefire. A new transitional government is in place.

Jennifer travels 1,500 miles up the Congo River to the small city of Kindu to manage a regional station of Radio Okapi, a year-old station funded by the U.N. and a Swiss NGO. 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 have 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 rigor of Radio Okapi’s editorial line suddenly seems like a matter of life or 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 broadcasting record bears lessons for media consumers everywhere. 


“Here, at last, is a book about the Congo that evokes not anger and pity, but admiration and hope. In the country's remote interior at the heart of the continent, journalist Jennifer Bakody worked alongside local reporters to broadcast the truth. Their station, Radio Okapi Kindu, overcame obstacles -- including soldiers and shortages, funding and food -- to report on events in a post-conflict Congo reeling in the transition: everyone in Kindu, Bakody writes, seemed to be fleeing for the coast, even the Lualaba River's crocodiles. She and her colleagues stay, creating a sort of national archives in the airwaves, found on the radio dial's "frequency of peace." Radio Okapi Kindu is a heartfelt memoir of an Africa that few correspondents or visitors ever get to see.” – Michael Meyer, author of In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China; and The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed

“I have visited the Congo as a journalist, observing in action the largest United Nations mission on earth. But I always wondered: what would it be like to be one of those UN workers, in the country not for weeks, but years? This book answers that question in a way that is nitty-gritty, vivid, funny, up close and personal--and has compassion for what the Congolese have suffered for so many years.” Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost: a Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa and Bury the Chains: Prophet’s and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves

“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

About the author

Jennifer Bakody is a journalist who’s spent the last twenty years working for the United Nations, CNN, Radio France Internationale, the CBC and BBC, in Canada, the Congo, Haiti, Hong Kong, London, Paris, and the Philippines. She grew up in Nova Scotia and studied journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax and later, International Affairs and Chinese at the University of Hong Kong. She currently lives in Singapore with her husband and daughter.

Book Reviews

to submit a book review