A Tale of Failure: Indigenous Language Radio Broadcasting in Zimbabwe

Memory Mabika, Abiodun Salawu

Abstract


Using the electronic colonialism theory and globalisation approach, the study reflects on the distinctive features of indigenous language radio broadcasting stations in Zimbabwe. This is done in an effort to establish how the prevailing radio broadcasting landscape is limiting the use of minority languages in this multilingual nation. Studies reveal the importance of indigenous languages and expound on how radio broadcasting can effectively enhance indigenous languages revitalisation processes. However, due to the previous and current political contexts in Zimbabwe, indigenous language radio broadcasting has continued to create an atmosphere where minority languages are not given necessary recognition, leading to their exclusion from most of the existing radio stations. Qualitative data were collected using three instruments, namely interviews, focus groups discussions and document analysis. Findings reveal that most indigenous languages in Zimbabwe have never been developed beyond their oral use by speakers in their confined locations. This makes any effort to use these languages for broadcasting a serious challenge since speakers and non-speakers do not value these languages. The government’s stringent Broadcasting Services Act of 2001 (BSA) has also made the usage of radio broadcasting in preserving minority languages an almost impossible task. It is the contention of this paper that no positive change is possible to radio broadcasting if the existing BSA is not revisited, in order to broaden the broadcasting landscape so as to introduce community stations which can broadcast to specific communities in indigenous languages spoken in those areas.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p2391


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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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