Zimwaves scores another penalty for Zimbabwe protest music
When scientists transmitted long-wave radio signals across the world, I don’t think they knew that their efforts would benefit so many people today. Their work today has been very instrumental in seeing to it that the communication industry is up to date with internet radio stations playing a very big role in various sectors of society.
Officially launched on 01 January 2009,a Zimbabwean internet radio station, Zimwaves has joined in unison the past and present of Zimbabwe music supporting a strong base for the future of democracy and unity in the crisis soaked country. Owned by Michael Masanga who is based in South Africa, the promising internet radio station is a base of Zimbabwean music that also embraces banned protest music and airs Zimbabwe news feeds from the voice of America. This is a great step forward in which the internet age continues to benefit Zimbabwe protest singers whose music is deemed unfit for the state radio in Zimbabwe.
Many people and organizations have contributed positively to the crisis in Zimbabwe in various online activism mechanisms, and Zimwaves deserves a huge pat on the back for giving banned protest music valuable airplay slots. The station is a great addition to the list of two or three internet radios that promote Zimbabwe protest music. The other internet radio station Voto (Voices of the oppressed) set up with the support of protest musician Viomak, is also in the league and it specifically airs Zimbabwe protest music and related issues.
The music played on Zimwaves radio is varied .It’s a rainbow station. Drawing on the present, Michael Masanga is giving Zimbabweans and other listeners a forum for musical treatsand like many other contributors he has opened avenues for social and political effects on the internet. The possibilities that Zimwaves has created are valuable as the station inspires Zimbabweans to be involved in the shaping of their country. With many people increasingly relying on the internet for information, the use of internet radio keeps growing and it is good to note that some citizens of undemocratic countries are revolutionizing the internet for worthy causes. As the dependence on internet radio grows, the safe flow of prohibited protest music is guaranteed which is a great score for them.
Despite the good outlook, airing this protest music has its risks. Mugabe and Zanu pf are convinced that this type of music has the ability to transform society thus becoming a powerful force for change, so it is a criminal offence to be involved directly and indirectly. Since the music is not good to undemocratic governments like Zimbabwe they put into place laws like POSA that ban freedom of expression. In the case of Zimbabwe where broadcasting is controlled by the state, the use of the internet radio is helping to raise awareness about information that would otherwise not be available in the public sector. Online freedom is the best way out.
Eversince Zanupf adopted repressive laws in dealing with opposition voices the use of the internet is getting more popular to many Zimbabweans who are resorting to networking politically in cyber space as it is safer for them. Listening to and playing protest music is very risky in Zimbabwe and when people like Masanga bear the burden of supporting protest singers they are indirectly fighting the dreadful battle that has seen many opposition voices silenced, arrested ,tortured and killed. Since stringent media laws are denying citizens the right to freedom of expression and opinion internet radio is in many ways playing a very big role in assuring that the masses are informed away from the government’s critical eyes.
Whilst many Zimbabwe internet radios play the usual non protest songs, when I listened to Zimwaves radio I realized that the station was up to something extra ordinary as it plays all Zimbabwe music including zanu pf praise singers songs like Cde Chinx Chingaira .Cde Chinx was very popular before and after chimurenga war when he was on top with the production of chimurenga songs that promoted zanupf propaganda .Other protest singers’ music played include Thomas Mapfumo ,Viomak and Leornard Zhakata. As Zimwaves allows protest music to break the boundaries of Zanupf’s repressive laws, many progressive Zimbabweans are hoping that with the government of national unity in place the state radio will soon open the airwaves to allow all banned singers airplay.
Considering the media environment in Zimbabwe it is impossible without the internet to hear and know the real truth. Zimbabweans continue to use the internet as a tunnel to free themselves from their county’s terrible censorship operationsand it is becoming the most ever powerful communication tool for them. It’s not only Zimbabweans who rely on the internet as the primary marketplace for political expression. Skirting censors through the internet is a very common game for many nationalities around the world. The freedom of listening to whatever they like, whenever they want, and wherever they are, on the internet remains an honour to all oppressed citizens and artists.