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Govt to assist Xhosa community set up radio station

by Staff reporter
30 Mar 2022 at 06:17hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has offered to support the Mbembesi community in Matabeleland North in purchasing equipment for its community radio station as it is struggling to raise the required funds.

Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Kindness Paradza said this during a meeting with community members to assess progress in setting up the community radio station, Ingqanga FM.

According to the predominantly Xhosa community in Mbembesi, the licensed Ingqanga FM is vital in preserving their language, culture and heritage.

Government has so far licensed 14 community radio stations, with Ingqanga FM, being one of seven in Matabeleland region. When operational, Ingqanga FM will operate around a 40km radius.

By supporting a robust roll out of community radio station licensing, Zimbabwe is fulfilling its promise to broaden access to information for the benefit of citizens.

Deputy Minister Paradza, who was accompanied by officials from Transmedia and Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) met the local community at Mbembesi business centre.

After a briefing by the Deputy Minister, the community took him to Fingo Hall from where Ingqanga FM is earmarked to operate.

The three-roomed structure is old and livestock have made it a temporary shelter, perhaps because of inactivity there.

During the tour, the community said it was great that their voices will be heard through their languages and their community radio.

Ms Nelta Hadebe from Sojini Village thanked Government for showing that it wants the community to develop.

"We appreciate this very much. We are hoping that this programme can come to fruition. We want to thank the minister for coming to us as the community and speaking to us. We usually see them from afar," said Ms Hadebe.

Ms Thenjiswa Nyilika from Mantanjeni Village said she was glad the youth will be involved.

"This radio station will help preserve our Xhosa language as there are some words that we no longer speak. We are now mixing the language and the children will not know their heritage and history," she said.

Ingqanga FM chairperson Mr Voti Tshuma said the studio, recording booth and administration office would be housed in the three rooms in the old building after it is refurbished.

Mr Tshuma highlighted the challenges that they are facing in setting up the Ingqanga FM, some of which revolve around funding for studio equipment and transmitters and refurbishing the building.

The community radio station has just a little over a year to start operating with its deadline being April 2023.

Deputy Minister Paradza assured the community that Government will support the Mbembesi community in purchasing equipment for its community radio.

"The Government is going to assist you in setting up this radio station, and is going to acquire studio equipment for you.

This is the message which the Minister (Monica Mutsvangwa) said I must tell you. She said the Government will assist you in setting up this radio station.

In other words, we have already instructed BAZ to look for funding to purchase studio equipment for you," said Deputy Minister Paradza, amid a round of applause.

"We are going to train your people for you. I brought engineers and they are going to train the studio engineers and also, we are going to get people from ZBC to train your radio presenters and the content creators. We want to know what you are doing and people to hear their own voices."

Deputy Minister Paradza said this was in line with President Mnangagwa's mantra that anyone or any community must not be left behind.

He said the community radio station, the culture and language will be preserved.

"No language is superior than the other. Shona, isn't superior, Ndebele isn't superior, they are all equal under the constitution. This is why this Government has decided to give licences to our community radios.

"This radio station will use over 90 percent of your local Xhosa language, your own dialect. And we want other Zimbabweans to know about your culture, the Xhosa culture.

Your programmes must be developmental, you are not going to use this radio station for political programmes, you are going to hear your own voices in Xhosa.

You are going to use your own children to operate this radio station and get content in Xhosa," said Deputy Minister Paradza.

He said all donations that come to the community radio stations, must not have any strings attached.

Earlier in the day yesterday, the deputy minister visited the Gweru Zimpapers office and the Kingston's Limited shop.

"Community radio stations which got licences should quickly start operations so that they push developmental issues from the grassroots level in line with the devolution concept and the National Development Strategy (NDS 1).

NDS 1 must be unpacked to everyone across the country in a language one understands and that is possible through the community radio stations which will be using the language common in their community," he said.

Source - The Chronicle
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