COMMENT: Fostering development via community radio Dr Jenfan Muswere

In the heart of Zimbabwe, where vibrant cultures intersect and stories echo through valleys, a powerful tool for development has emerged: community radio stations. These stations, fuelled by the spirit of freedom of expression, are transforming local narratives, empowering communities, and bridging gaps.

In 2001, Zimbabwe took a significant step by recognising the need for community radio. The legal framework allowed for licensing, but progress remained sluggish. The Government’s reluctance to issue licenses to independent community stations raised concerns. These concerns were allayed by the coming in of the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa in 2017.

President Mnangagwa

Community radio stations are rooted in their local context. They speak the language of the people, celebrating cultural diversity and addressing specific needs. 

Community members become storytellers. They share experiences, challenges, and triumphs, creating a rich tapestry of narratives. The recently commissioned Twasumpuka FM in Binga, for example, engages listeners in discussions on health, education, and sustainable livelihoods.

Twasumpuka FM presenter Happiness Kanka, known as Kasokwe Kanini on air in the refurbished studios.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, on  Thursday officially commissioned Twasumpuka FM, as part of the broader ongoing drive to foster inclusive development through promoting freedom of expression and enhancing access to information. 

The new radio station is situated in Binga Town and broadcasts 75 percent in Tonga and 25 percent in other languages within a 40km radius. It is one of 14 community radio stations nationally and one of seven licensed by the Government in Matabeleland provinces.

Dr Muswere, who was guest of honour at the colourful event, said heritage-based broadcasting was being promoted through community radio stations to preserve  culture and indigenous languages.

The stations ensure that communities are not left behind by keeping them up-to-date on Government projects and the national economy.

 “As I am in Binga today this should reflect on heritage-based broadcasting services, as we seek to ensure that we protect our languages in terms of broadcasting. So, heritage broadcasting is part and parcel of the New Dispensation in terms of our achievements as a Government to protect our local languages,” said Dr Muswere. 

“But at the same time, this is part of the communication strategy for us as a Government to educate the nation and inform the nation and also to entertain all people from Binga District. This is part of the achievements of media reforms as we have licensed currently 14 community radio stations.

“This is also an opportunity for problem-solving as we work together in all tiers of Government. It’s also part of an opportunity for entrepreneurs to provide solutions.” 

As the sun rises over Zimbabwe’s rolling hills, community radio stations broadcast hope. They empower voices, ignite conversations, and pave the way for development. The  Government’s commitment to licensing is a promise—a promise that freedom of expression will flourish, and communities will rise together.

So, let the airwaves resonate with stories of resilience, innovation, and unity. Let community radio stations be the architects of Zimbabwe’s brighter future.

In the harmonious frequencies of community radio, Zimbabwe finds its rhythm of progress.

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