Finding your Africanness in Zimbabwe

We need to categorically deny the rumour that Shiraaz Ismail from the Breakfast Show and our administrator Brenda Leonard eloped together and are having their honeymoon at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe as Victor joked this morning.

The truth is Brenda and Shiraaz are hard at work helping get another community radio on air in Zimbabwe.

As one of Bush Radio’s aims is to help develop the community radio sector a longtime supporter of our station, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) asked if we could assist Radio Dialogue in Zimbabwe.

Shiraaz and Brenda have been in Bulawayo for almost two weeks now and are currently busy with programme production, psa production and news training.

Brenda Leonard evaluating programmes with Radio Dialogue staff and volunteers

Brenda Leonard evaluating programmes with Radio Dialogue staff and volunteers

As everyone was very interested to know what the Shaz has been up to we asked him to send us some info on his Zimbabwe experience.

This is what he sent:

29/09/2009 Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

A plane just bigger than a mini bus taxi should be pretty safe right?
Well I’m telling you that it is.
Except for one thing. The darn thing shakes more than hamster on heat.
The only thing that kept me in my seat was the polite smile of the friendly air hostess.
The view from up high is amazing. It’s summer time here in Zimbabwe at the moment so the colours are fading into grey.
There are trees everywhere and they come in two different colours.
Green and purple.
The people are much friendlier than the average South African even though they have more reason not to be.

Radio Dialogue is a community radio station in Bulawayo which is in the process of getting a broadcasting license.
They are currently broadcasting for an hour a day and will hopefully be live 24 hours a day pretty soon.
The staff has an incredible amount of knowledge about local and world issues as can be heard in the radio programmes that they produce.

Lunch time is pretty interesting here in Zimbabwe.
Firstly you are not really spoiled for choice when it comes to food which is understandable considering the economic situation.

Secondly, they are currently using foreign exchange as their currency as they have phased out their national currency i.e. the Zim Dollar.
So get this. When you buy something to and pay for it, you could get your change in one of four different currencies!
It’s kind of like a lucky packet with the US dollar being the best prize.

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to sit in on the Intwasa which in translation means spring time.
The Intwasa festival is an art festival celebrating local Zimbabwean art…
I had the honour of meeting a few artists, musicians, poets and crazy people who call themselves artists.
Poetry is huge here which is understandable.
Everyone has a story to tell here in Zim.

So being a young South African male, when Saturday night arrived I was overcome by the sudden need to shake what my momma gave me.
So plans were made to visit a local jazz bar called Cape to Cairo.
The music was amazing and I was lucky enough to be able to sing along to a few songs. Some of the songs were South African which was really cool.

Sundays are really mellow up here much like SA.
Most of the people are in church and don’t really walk around.
As they say, Sundays are known as the day of recovery LOL

One week left here in Zim and I’m really looking forward to it.
Jingle and PSA workshops are my specialty as I am the sound guy at Bush Radio and that is what lies ahead for the training. The staff are fast learners and are teaching me a few things as we go along.

Things in Zim seem really bad from the outside looking in and is mostly because of the negative images that we are exposed to via the media.
I am glad to tell you that during my stay here I haven’t once felt like my life was in danger.
I am glad to tell you that during my stay here I have made a few friends that I know will make me a better person.
I am glad to say that during my stay here my my views on Zimbabwe, and the people of this beautiful country have changed.

And most of all, I am glad to say that I AM AN AFRICAN! HEAR ME ROAR!

Shiraaz “Shaz” Ismail currently co-hosts the breakfast programme on Bush Radio 89.5 FM with Victor J and is interning in the Logistics Department and is also part of the music group Shaz & B.

One Response to “Finding your Africanness in Zimbabwe”

  1. Zimbabweans invade the airwaves « Bushradio 89.5 FM Says:

    […] visit comes after we conducted station based training in Bulawayo. (see story here) The five interns have been placed in different departments in order to enhance the skills they […]

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