The ordinarily tranquil town of Chiredzi erupted in traditional Shangani music and dance when Zimbabwe’s first licensed community radio station, Avuxeni, debuted on the air.
For the people of the Lowveld, who had been receiving radio broadcasts from neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Mozambique for over four decades, the emergence of the new station out of the 14 licensed community radio stations marked the beginning of a new era.
After years of waiting, the Second Republic finally granted licenses to 14 community radio stations, a welcome development aligned with Africa’s desire to bring information to the people.
Zimbabwe is implementing its promise to improve access to information for the benefit of its citizens by supporting a robust rollout of community radio station licensing.
Community radio stations in Zimbabwe and throughout Africa remain the only accessible and affordable medium within the rural community and play an essential role in rural development for everyone—particularly women.
Because of its ability to reach millions of people in a short amount of time, radio has long been a dominating source of news and information for the vast majority of people, not only in Zimbabwe but across the African continent.
Because of the importance of radio, governments throughout Africa have sought to expand information dissemination by establishing community-based stations.
These have since evolved into critical support systems for information dissemination in a world increasingly becoming hostile due to conflict, natural disasters, and disease outbreaks.
Like the rest of the developing world, Africa grapples with mounting social, economic, political, and cultural difficulties. Solutions that leverage media and communications to engage communities in policy design and execution activities are required to address these.
While new media and an avalanche of social media platforms have made it easier for everyone to receive news—albeit with consequences—marginalised communities continue to struggle to access online channels due to data costs and internet access.