In 1902 the Cape Parliament introduced the first radio legislation in the world: “Electric Telegraph shall be interpreted as including any system or means of conveying signs, signals or communication by electricity, magnetism, electro-magnetism or other like agencies, whether with or without the aid of wires, and including the system commonly known as Wireless Telegraphy or Aetheric Signalling and any improvement and development of such system.” The first wireless licences in the world were also introduced in South Africa (1902), and by 1910 the country was producing its own radio equipment.
In 1920 the first public broadcasting demonstrations were held at shows in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and in that same year the first news bulletins were broadcasted (Anne Manthey was the first announcer).
A succession of “firsts” followed: the first official concert broadcasted from Johannesburg (1923), the start of scheduled broadcasting (Johannesburg, 1924), the first church service broadcasted from Cape Town (1925), and in that same year the first-ever commentary in South Africa on a rugby match was made from Newlands, Cape Town. This was followed, in 1927, by commentaries on cricket, motor cycle racing and boxing.
An exhibition chock full of radios is currently on display at the National Museum – the oldest radio being a Thermodyne which dates back to 1928! The exhibition will run until May 2019. Make sure not to miss it!
Photo 1: Girl listening to radio; photo credit: https://www.grandchallenges.ca/grantee-stars/1811-21100
Photo 2: Boy listening to radio; photo credit: https://familyincluded.com