AMHVoices: Community radio remains the missing link


DURING the lockdown, I had time to listen to several local radio stations.

By John T Chirinda,Our Reader

Most presenters are in essence disc jockeys simply because they compete in aping pseudo accents. I also could not pick at home any space available for me to play a role to properly pass on to the younger generation the indigenous languages.

The zero space and the continued absence of community radios perpetuate the dearth of indigenous languages.

I had liked the proposal of having every child learning in their vernacular language at primary and secondary levels during the new curriculum review and revision processes, but the ground proves tokenism.

More, if not everyone choose English as the official language of our nation.

Our churches have also become the best competitors — in rural areas, they preach even to the elderly and children in English. Yes, language disappearance and endangerment are a worldwide phenomenon where every homeland has been affected and infected just like the COVID-19 pandemic.

But we still have options not to miss this.

This is where people like George Charamba and social media aficionado Ndavaningi Mangwana would have been heroic enough to set Zimbabwean media on innovative trends to address the survival of the vernacular languages by enforcing relevant policies.

The national media policy would have opened up indisputable community broadcasting that would recognise and protect minority languages, broadcasting that promotes mother-tongue instruction and creative collaboration between community members and linguists to develop a speaking system and introduce a formal order in the vernacular language.

It is important for our government, especially through the media, to create a social and political environment that encourages multilingualism and revere marginal languages so that speaking such a language is an asset rather than a liability.

I cry for the MaShangwe, the MaKorekore, the Budja, the VaTonga inter-alia as the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has called for licensing of community radio stations without government-guaranteed support, especially on sustainability through any known resources to be given.

An opportunity missed again as fear of the unknown has taken root in our political brethren mentality that if communities were to gain autonomy in media, they could not then be easily manipulated politically.


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