Skyz Metro FM is currently engaging content providers to promote business opportunities that come with the establishment of this new radio station in Bulawayo.
This was said by one of the senior officials of the new commercial radio station Cont. Mhlanga.
He said in simple business language they want content suppliers for station programming and he was not impressed with some of the lessons learned from this process and they just have to share.
“Yesterday through the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe provincial office we called for a meeting with music studio owners, recording label owners, music publishers and music producers within Bulawayo Province. Guess who turned up; 55 men 2 women! I am not impressed with this gender composition of content production owners in the Province!,” he said.
He said the Content is education and it is intellectual knowledge.
“It is information. It is communication and it is the backbone of empowerment. It shapes society and it develops individuals, families and country,” said Mhlanga.
“Those who have companies that produce content in any form are more important than all of us in the matrix of social development. Those that distribute it through various platforms come secondary. Imagine what this means; Skyz Metro FM a family station located in the country’s second largest city can only buy its local content from 55 men and 2 women in this age and time. This is national nonsense in a country that is a continental leader in people education.”
Mhlanga said he will be meeting creative writers on Thursday morning, followed by news and current affairs writers next week and he was already worried that this unfair balance will be the same.
“I cannot think of a situation in Bulawayo where Skyz Metro FM will buy all its local music content from men alone. I will not accept this and it must be corrected by those that work with gender and women empowerment programs urgently,” he said.
“People get out of your luxurious high offices in Harare and fly down to Bulawayo after reading this article and help fix this marginalisation curse of our women to justify your employment in gender development.”
“What I learned in yesterday’s meeting is that your organisations are not getting the required results on the ground in this sector in Bulawayo.”
Mhlanga said Culture Fund Trust of Zimbabwe as a leading donor in arts, culture and entertainment in this country, how much money with your donors have you been throwing in the sector in Bulawayo and look at these results?
“Or does this reflect and confirm that you are putting all your development funds in Harare and only funding men in Bulawayo? Please director of Culture Fund and your Chairman, together with your donors fly to Bulawayo as soon as possible and fix these figures. It’s your jobs,” he said.
“I will be a happy person if our Station Management is able to buy 50/50 content from companies owned by both men and women in Bulawayo when Skyz Metro FM goes on air in September. We have no time ladies and gentlemen. You have the money, skill, knowledge and all you have to do is to do the right thing the right way.”
He said to the Hon Ambassador of the EU, he represent countries that speak so well of promoting gender equality and women empowerment in Zimbabwe and his financial investment figures to date speaks to that.
“Your countries combined invest a lot of your citizen’s tax money in the name of promoting and empowering women in this country,” he said.
“It does not reflect good results for your efforts in Bulawayo; or you are spending all your women development and empowerment money in Harare as EU policy? If it is not EU policy to spend all your arts, culture, communication and entertainment money together with women empowerment money in Harare, then call your countries Hon Ambassadors and discuss this gentlemen and ladies.”
He said these figures he got from this engagement meeting make the ambassador’s efforts in women capacity building questionable in Bulawayo.
“Dear Honourable Ambassadors get all your development partners that you fund to get to Bulawayo on the next flight and fix this gender imbalance in the content production sector as mandated by your governments and citizens. You should all be embarrassed by these results in Bulawayo given your level of investment and commitment to women empowerment,” he said.
“To the Hon Minister of Arts Sports and Culture with your permanent secretary and your director of Arts and Culture you are the team that is mandated by Cabinet and the national constitution to lead and support those that are in the business of producing content that is true to Zimbabweans. These figures on the ground in Bulawayo call for your urgent attention and action.”
He asked the minister to get out of nice luxurious offices and run to every other government department, agency and parastatals that have a mandate to promote content and women empowerment and coordinate them to fly down to Bulawayo and face this reality on the ground and find urgent intervention measures to address this national embarrassment.
“You are Government for goodness sake. What is the problem with you people that you are serious with being elected to public offices and yet once there you fail to fix such sensitive matters within your mandates?” he said.
“Zimbabwe is awash with women organisations some who are more than 30 years old. They call themselves national organisations promoting women across the country. To leaders of these organisations the situation of content producers in Bulawayo speaks to all of you as you drive your comfortable donor donated cars in the streets of Harare.”
Mhlanga said a 55 to 2 content supply situation in favour of men in the broadcasting media or any other media platform is something all of you should not be proud of and should work urgently in all your offices to come down to Bulawayo and fix.
“No blame games people as those will not urgently give capacity to women in Bulawayo to profitably supply content to Skyz Metro FM by September this year,” he said. “Stop this intellectual habit of worshiping proposals and get down to where the challenges are and create interventions that work for the people if you claim that to be your jobs.”
“All of us working together should avoid promoting a situation where all radio content at Skyz Metro FM comes from male owned production companies effectively marginalizing women. You can easily promote this glaring marginalisation of women by your inaction.”
Mhlanga said Skyz Metro FM is a unique family radio station focusing on 12 to 55 year olds within a family context. He said a family is composed of men, women, boys, girls, children and domestic animals of all kinds and all these have a right to own companies that produce content from independent environments that does not hinder self-expression to be enjoyed by the whole family.
“In Ndebele culture and tradition a family is not permitted to listen to; and or consume content produced only by men. Everyone has a right to produce content and at Skyz Metro FM we must promote positive African cultural and traditional elements while shooting down and eliminating those that are negative to some members of the family unit as one of our primary objectives is to promote happy united successful family wood in Zimbabwe,” he said.