The Nuncio to Zambia and Malawi, Archbishop Julio Murat, recently officially opened Zambia’s eighth Catholic owned radio station, Radio Kabangabanga.
The official opening of the radio station in Zambia came not as a surprise as the country, prior to that, had 7 other thriving Catholic community radio stations.
The licensing of Radio Kabangabanga in the Diocese of Solwezi, Zambia is testimony to how both the Zambian government and the Church have found community radio as a useful tool for development and evangelisation.
The development also dovetails well into the recommendations from the recent Synod on New Evangelisation which challenged the church to make extensive use of digital media for evangelisation.
The developments in Zambia can only draw envy from their neighbours, Zimbabwe who are battling against all odds to have community radios licenced.
The Zimbabwean government has never licenced community radios despite there being enabling legislation for the operation of community radios in the country. There are up to 20 community radio initiatives in Zimbabwe that have been fighting with the government for licences in the last 15 years.
One of the Radio Initiatives strongly pushing for a licence is Radio Chiedza, a Jesuits led initiative in Harare. Chiedza means “light.”
The initiative has been ‘clearing the ground’ since October 2013 and is positioning itself for a broadcasting licence once the government decides to allow community broadcasters on air. So far, a huge number of Catholics mainly in Harare have registered as volunteers to help the station in creating content as well as creating avenues for fundraising.
The volunteers have not been idle in their waiting for a broadcasting licence, and they are on a mobilisation tour of parishes every weekend where they are engaging fellow Catholics on the functions and potential benefits of the Catholic radio station.