By Beatific Gumbwanda
CHIKOMBEDZI – Community activists in Chikombedzi have said they fear that the infiltration of Shona dominance in the local economy will extend to the envisaged community radio station, much to the disadvantage of the minority group, TellZim News can report.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services; Ndavaningi Mangwana was in the area for a sensitization workshop ahead of the launch of the radio station.
Government has revealed that it will soon licence 10 language-based community radio stations with a bias to previously marginalised communities especially those of minority groups.
One community leader, Levy Chauke said Shangani language-proficient Shona people were wont to hijack programming and turn the radio station into their own.
“Is this radio for Shangani people in particular or anyone who is proficient in Shangani? We once had a situation whereby non-Shanganis tried to take advantage of us by lobbying for a Shangani community radio station. As you can see, we are at the heart of Shangani-speaking community, but when you look around this room, there no any single Shangani word.
“Shona-speaking people are dominating Shangani developmental projects with the assistance of the government itself,” charged Chauke.
Centre for Cultural Development Initiatives – Gaza Trust director Hebert Phikela also expressed concern over language imbalances at Radio Zimbabwe and National FM where Shona and Ndebele languages are considered the generic mother tongues for all Zimbabweans.
“As government, what are you doing to correct the language imbalance on national radio stations like Radio Zimbabwe and National FM where Shona and Ndebele dominate? I will have to wake up at 06:00hrs to listen to a Shangani news bulletin, and if I miss that, it’s over,” said Phikela.
Mangwana said the initiative to licence community radio stations was to correct the wrongs of the country’s former colonial masters who bundled minority languages into generic languages like Shona, Ndebele and Manyika.
He said Shangani people will have their own radio station to promote their cultural values and it will be owned by the community itself.
“We have 16 official languages but during the colonial era, the Smith regime bundled minority languages under three common languages depending on their geographical positions.
“The radio station belongs to the Shangani community so you will determine the leadership structure of that community radio station, not government. We are only involved in policy issues,” said Mangwana.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) legal adviser, Joice Kupukai and chairperson Charles Sibanda also graced the occasion.