By Byron Mutingwende
In the first of its kind, Good Care Pre School pupils observed World Radio Day in style when they were invited to Capitalk studio with children from five other selected pre-schools in Zimbabwe.
The six schools that participated at the World Radio Day educational trip at Capitalk 100.4FM include Tiny Tots, Golaby Infant School, Aayah’s Play Centre, Graycee Prep school, Mansion Infant School and Good Care Preschool.
“Our children learnt a lot from the trip. The leadership of KinderCare made the proposal on behalf of top-drawer pre-schools in the country and Good Care Pre-school accepted the offer. We want to heartily thank Capitalk for accepting our proposal and the event became a first of its kind with children in the studio for such a programme,” said Gertrude Mandizvidza, the Founder and Director of Good Care Pre School.
World Radio Day is celebrated annually on the 13th of February and this year’s commemorations were being held under the theme: Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace.
This year’s theme acknowledged the role played by radio in facilitating dialogue and building tolerance through respectful sharing of divergent views, thus fostering peace within communities and nations.
According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe Chapter, the theme was indeed timeous for Zimbabwe as it coincided with the repeated calls for meaningful national dialogue to address the country’s deteriorating socio-economic and political environment in the wake of the disputed outcome of the 2018 presidential elections.
Former member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Publicity, James Maridadi said radio is an important platform of learning for children.
“During my time at Radio 3, I had a programme for children. Apart from entertaining the children, we could ask them educational questions and real life issues spanning history, geography, environmental studies and home economics. Thus radio is very relevant for children. Some of these children may actually have talents as radio presenters and it is good for them to be acquainted with what it takes to have a career in broadcasting when they grow up,” Maridadi said.
Radio also plays a fundamental role in facilitating national dialogue in Zimbabwe. Radio serves as a convenient information-sharing platform that is more popular and easily accessible than television because of its wide reach.
However, communities in outlying, rural areas, especially those along Zimbabwe’s national borders, have to rely on radio broadcasts from Zimbabwe’s neighbouring countries. These marginalised communities are thus effectively excluded from participating in national conversations that take place on national publicly owned radio stations such as Radio Zimbabwe, Classic FM, Power FM, and National FM.
According to MISA Zimbabwe, this makes a strong case for the licensing of community radio stations as provided for in terms of the Broadcasting Services Act. The Act provides for the three-tier broadcasting system comprising, public, commercial, and community broadcasting in Zimbabwe. Currently, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has only licensed national and commercial radio stations. Community radio stations are still to be licensed and legally recognised in Zimbabwe, 18 years after enactment of the BSA in 2001.
“By their nature, commercial and national radio stations usually offer generic one-size fits all content broadcast in Zimbabwe’s major languages. Such programming is at times not relevant to specific community needs and issues. Community radio stations can easily fill this gap. Other countries with robust community radio initiatives, define communities to include members that live together within a specific geographical area, as well as groups of people who share a common set of beliefs or interests even though residing in different geographical areas,” MISA Zimbabwe added.