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Ezra Tshisa Sibanda uses fame to drive philanthropy

by Staff reporter
22 Aug 2020 at 08:27hrs | Views
VETERAN broadcaster Ezra Tshisa Sibanda has used his international standing to positively impact on people and communities around him.

From being a radio presenter on Radio 2 now Radio Zimbabwe in the 1990s to early 2000s, Sibanda who now resides in the United Kingdom has maintained a firm attachment to his roots.

Hardly a day passes by without him commenting on various topical issues in the country on social media platforms despite being miles away.

Sibanda even break news that mainstream media can follow up.

Just like during time as radio presenter where his voice was part of every house hold, he remains a credible source of news connecting Zimbabweans abroad and locally. Sibanda, describes himself as a supreme humanitarian, as his philanthropy, has seen him touch many lives in the country and in the diaspora.

From sponsoring educational needs for orphaned children to raising Covid-19 funds for Bulawayo's hospitals, Sibanda, believes that he has a duty to be his brother's keeper, assisting the less privileged in society.

With a broadcasting career spanning over decades, he continues to work with various international radio stations and describes broadcasting as his life.

Sibanda attributes being up to date with current affairs in Zimbabwe, South Africa and UK to skills in the broadcasting sector.

"The skills l acquired from Broadcasting for various radio stations and meeting many talented people around the world were very helpful to me. Things just happened because I already had clear projects in my head but I did not know what the proper first steps were, and I had no idea of the number of things to take in consideration before starting anything," he said.

Sibanda has since established a foundation, the Ezra Tshisa Initiative, that addresses education and issues of disadvantaged people in Zimbabwe. Prior to setting up a foundation, he was already involved in humanitarian work, producing three university graduates. He states that his agenda includes helping out on short-term and long-term until other institutions take over.

"I've managed to sponsor 26 orphaned children with their school fees in the last 15 years and three have since graduated from the National University of Science and Technology (Nust). I adopted them while they were doing their primary school. I've also managed to help counsel and take off the streets some girls who were into child prostitution in the red-light district of Bulawayo and they are now in full time education," said Sibanda.

"I engage in humanitarian work, not only for the purposes of natural disasters, but for man-made disasters as well. My primary objective of humanitarian help is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity."

In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, Sibanda, thought of the dire situation in the country's hospitals find and got involved in crowd funding initiatives to capacitate local hospitals. Through his crowd funding initiative he managed to raise £18 000 for Bulawayo's Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital.

"After witnessing people dying like flies in the USA and Europe, countries with state-of-the-art health facilities, it brought so much fear and anxiety as I realised that it would have devastating effects on our country. Watching news here was depressing seeing all the deaths around," said Sibanda.

"I felt obliged to do something for our people back home that don't have facilities like those in the western countries. I thought if we don't do it ourselves, nobody would do it for us and took to social media to help raise the funds to buy Personal Protective Equipment for our health care workers."

He said he also helps the homeless, refugees, victims of rights abuses and famines. When United Kingdom hosted the 2012 Summer Olympics Games, Sibanda, worked for the Olympics Organising Committee which gave him a broader understanding of how global institutions work. He used the experience to his advantage.

I'm also involved in an organisation called Zimbabwe Diaspora Focus Group (ZDFG) which has helped thousands of Zimbabweans based in UK to get legal right to stay in that country. The ZDFG also works with UK and Zimbabwean Government in areas of investments and development in Zimbabwe," said Sibanda.

He also works to promote the Zimbabwean music at a global platform through the Music Promotions Company Icons of Africa which promotes artists from Zimbabwe and Africa to perform in the UK.

Sibanda however bemoaned the level of intolerance of divergent views by social media users in the country, describing himself as apolitical, independent but very opinionated on political matters.

"The level of political intolerance in social media is sickening, you have people who come out guns blazing and attack me once l express my opinions on political parties they support especially the opposition, they just want everybody to support and say thumbs up to any nonsense from their leaders. I have learnt a lot from dealing with Zimbabweans on social media," said Sibanda, adding that when it's said and done people will be remembered for their contributions to the country as opposed to their political persuasions.

"Lastly I am certain that after the dust of anger and resentment has passed over our beautiful country, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit."

Source - chronicle