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Radio station fights drug abuse


By Liberty Mutamba

NTEPE-MANAMA Community Radio is diversifying its programming by setting the tone in fighting drug and substance abuse among Gwanda rural communities.

The radio station, which is punching above weight is engaging audiences in Selonga, Gwanda South ensuring that it reports any case of drug and substance abuse.

Last week, the station programmes’ officer, Siphathisiwe Ncube, said they were ready to air all cases related to drug substance abuse.

“We are diversifying our programming to quench people’s thirst. Villagers have flagged-out drug and substance abuse as a big menace. We are keen to broadcast any substance abuse that is taking place in this area. All issues that are affecting the community are set to be broadcast on our radio, our motive is to build and unite communities through information dissemination.

She also said they were readily available to air any issues that are promoting or hindering development in rural communities.

“Issues of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) that are predominant in rural areas are set to be aired-out as well as stock theft, which is also set to be broadcast on our community radio. Some issues are already being done on our social media pages, since our transmitter covers a small space,” Ncube explained.

For Nester Dube, the initiative will go a long way in ensuring that the future of youths is preserved and conserved for future generations.

“Youths in our jurisdiction usually abuse drug and substances, especially during the festive season where their colleagues from neighbouring countries bring drugs of any kind and intoxicate our youths.

“We are also concerned about how our youth abuse Njengu/Ntshenku. This menace is unbearable and it has negatively affected a number of youths in our area.

“This radio initiative will go a long way in helping our youths. I think the major problem is that a number of youths are unemployed. It is my wish that both private and public organisations advertise their job vacancies on this radio.

“We are happy this community radio will broadcast our concerns from village level up to provincial level and nationally. People in our area have been left behind, and access to current affairs was a major challenge,” Dube said.

The local leadership is convinced the stride taken by Ntepe-Manama Radio will uplift the status of women and ensure that culture is conserved.

Bonang Ncube the senior village head said the initiative would uplift villagers in Selonga and surrounding communities.

“For years, women have been deprived of some right due to some gap in information flow. Our tradition is being eroded on a daily basis due to lack of information. Now, this radio will revive all the customs and ensure that people get first-hand information,” explained Ncube.

Villagers in Selonga currently rely on foreign media outlets like South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and Phalaphala FM because the area has poor network coverage.

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) last year licensed eight more community radio stations, three of them based in Matabeleland provinces, bringing to seven the radio stations in the western region.

BAZ provides the licensed community radio stations with studio equipment.

The three radio stations from Matabeleland region are: Radio Bukalanga (Bulilima), Matobo Community Radio Trust (Maphisa, Mangwe, Brunapeg) and Twasumbuka Community Radio Trust (Binga, Kamativi, Siabuwa).

Other stations already licensed from the Matabeleland region include: Mbembesi Development Trust, trading as Ingqanga FM; Ntepe-Manama Community Radio Trust; Shashe Community Radio Broadcasting Association: and Lyeja-Nyayi Development Trust.

Tertiary institutions were also awarded broadcasting licences and those that received the licences include: National University of Science and Technology, Great Zimbabwe University, Lupane State University, Midlands State University and Harare Polytechnic.

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