[LISTEN] The Story of the Bacher and Kirsh families and the formation of 702

African Outliers: The Story of the Bacher and Kirsh families by Mushe Kirsh and David Saks launches on Wednesday evening in Johannesburg.

The book traces the story of the families who immigrated from Lithuania in Europe to South Africa at the start of 19th century and pursued a number of business ventures. These businesses included a malt manufacturing business in Bloemhof and later in Potschestroom, started by 702 founder Issie Kirsh's father.

The Bachers are better known for their influence in the sporting world, especially cricket.

This is a very talented family sporting-wise. I think about five members of the family either played provincial cricket or in two cases international cricket but they were good at everything - hockey, golf...

David Saks, Co-author of African Outliers: The Story of the Bacher and Kirsh families

Explaining how the Kirsh family's various business ventures led to the start of 702, Saks says when Swaziland became independent, Natie (Issie's brother) was asked to start a radio station for the country.

Natie got Issie to set up Swazi music radio.

David Saks, Co-author of African Outliers: The Story of the Bacher and Kirsh families

The Swazi Music Radio didn't work because of the poor signal, but Issie was bitten by the radio bug so he started to set up little local stations firstly for the Indian community, the Portuguese, Jewish community and then the Soweto market... Soweto actually did well.

David Saks, Co-author of African Outliers: The Story of the Bacher and Kirsh families

Then he (Issie Kirsch) needed a good signal but state broadcasting was a monopoly but he saw a loophole, you had to broadcast outside the country, so outside the country was Bophuthatswana, that is when the idea for 702 came and it started off broadcasting from Bop.

David Saks, Co-author of African Outliers: The Story of the Bacher and Kirsh families

The book Launch is at 18:00 for 18.30 at Exclusive Books, Hyde Park, Wednesday 6th November.

Click on the link below to hear more about the book...


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