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Senegal, Giorgio Lolli and Community Radio

Senegal, Giorgio Lolli e la Radiofonia Comunitaria
Senegal, Giorgio Lolli e la Radiofonia Comunitaria

On Wednesday 7 May, the Italian Cultural Institute in Dakar will welcome the team of Materiali Sonori Cinema to tell the story of community radio in Senegal through the experience of Giorgio Lolli, the technician from Bologna who contributed to the FM revolution in Africa.

In over forty years spent in Africa, Giorgio Lolli, a former factory worker and trade unionist, as well as a technician trained in the golden age of free radio, has installed over 500 stations from Senegal to Burkina Faso, including in Togo, Mali, Mozambique, Benin and Eritrea. His company, Solaire, has brought radio to local communities, from Berber camps without electricity to farming communities in the Sahel. Lolli was also instrumental in the spread of “rural radio” in Africa, which played a major role in promoting literacy and the free exchange of ideas and thoughts in that part of the continent. Lolli was not only a technician and entrepreneur, but a man with a broader vision of an independent Africa. He set up schools for radio technicians in Togo and Mali, contributing to the growth and independence of local communities.

In memory of Giorgio Lolli, who passed away in April 2023, some of his students and collaborators have taken up his legacy. Abdrahamane Cissokho, from the Board of Directors of Radio XFM in Dakar, has launched the construction of a new FM radio station in Kidira, on the border with Mali and Mauritania, dedicated to contemporary young African migrants. This radio station, as per Lolli’s wish, will carry on his spirit of equality and democracy.

During the meeting, which will seek to show how community radios have been the most effective means of putting the principles of equality and democracy into practice in Africa, the trailer of the documentary “Radio Solaire” – currently in production – will be presented. In addition, photos and videos taken by Lolli himself during his stay in Africa will be shown.

Finally, Federico Bacci and Francesco Eppesteingher, authors and directors of the documentary, will talk about why they are in Senegal: to deliver a transmitter, which is crucial to start Radio Lolli’s broadcasts in Kidira. The birth of this new radio station will be documented, thus becoming the natural conclusion of “Radio Solaire”.

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