Chiredzi hosts Avuxeni radio


the herald

Georges Maponga Masvingo desk

The new Avuxeni FM community radio station in Chiredzi has taken the Lowveld by storm, with locals hailing the birth of the station which marks a new era in broadcasting.

Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa, inaugurated the newcomer on Sunday, leaving the Chiredzi community spellbound on the day the nation joined the rest of the world in marking the World Day of the radio.

For the Lowveld community, the birth of Avuxeni FM was long overdue, with the handover of the station to the Shangani people, a huge statement of intent from the Second Republic who acted as a midwife to the station of community radio.

Avuxeni, which is short for “Go the vuxeni”, means people of the east and was adopted as a greeting slogan by the Vatsonga (Shangani) people, who dominate the Lowveld region from Mwenezi in the east to at Malipati on the edge of the Limpopo Valley.

Communities there were completely cut off from the rest of the country with no radio and television connectivity, leaving them to make do with radio services from neighboring counties such as Mozambique and South Africa.

Under the administration of President Mnangagwa, 14 community radio stations, most located in remote and border regions of the country and broadcasting in minority languages, received licenses to broadcast.

Avuxeni FM became the first of the batch to air, a move that sparked echoes of joy and hope within the Lowveld community.

The chairman of the station’s board of directors, Mr. Hebert Pikela, paid tribute to the Second Republic, saying that the station was essential in promoting and maintaining the culture and values ​​of the Shangani people.

“This is a long overdue development and Avuxeni FM will bridge the information gap across the Lowveld for the socio-economic benefit of the Lowveld where the majority of the population is Shangani,” said Mr. Pikela.

“As Avuxeni FM, we thank the government through the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services and agencies such as BAZ and Transmedia, as well as local stakeholders for ensuring May this community radio station be a dream come true.”

Mr. Pikela noted that going forward, the sustainability of the project was key.

He called on the authorities to allow advertising so that the community radio can sustain itself.

A series of challenges faced by the new community radio had to be overcome to ensure its survival in the future.

“Connectivity is a major challenge and currently we only rely on two transmitters, one in Chiredzi town and another in Chikombedzi, leaving out key Limpopo Valley communities like Malipati and N’wanedzi.

According to Mr Pikela, the lack of outdoor broadcasting equipment means the station cannot operate live outside the town of Chiredzi where the majority of the population is located.

The new station also needed a solar system or a backup generator to avoid power outages.

Member of the National Assembly for Chiredzi West, Cde Farai Musikavanhu, hailed the opening of the community radio, describing it as a “powerful statement from the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa that no one and no place will be left for account” in the country’s development agenda.

The legislator noted that the largely Shangani people who predominate Chiredzi and the Lowveld can now access and broadcast information in their own language, thanks to Avuxeni FM.

“Radio is a powerful tool to reach communities and Avuxeni FM is a strategic tool in the quest to engender socio-economic development in Chiredzi and the Lowveld in line with Vision 2030,” said Cde Musikavanhu.

The president of the Lowveld Business Development Association, Mr. Kurauone Venancio, echoed the same sentiments, saying that it was now easy to relay information relevant to the Lowveld community on the radio thanks to Avuxeni FM.

Venancio hailed President Mnangagwa and his government for leading projects that directly impact people’s lives.

A young Tshovani, Leninist Dumela, said the radio station would be a platform to discuss relevant issues affecting young people, especially illegal border crossing into South Africa by school dropouts.

Traditional leaders said the radio station was key in promoting Shangani cultural values ​​such as initiation and circumcision.

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