Tonga.OnAir: Sinazongwe Community Radio Station established

A milestone in the development of Sinazongwe district was marked at the end of July by the establishment of the first community radio station in the Gwembe Valley by a team of Austrian ‘open access’ radio activists, Sandra Hochholzer, Ingo Leindecker, Hannelore Leindecker and Marcus Diess, who are reporting on their website

"..the new Sinazongwe Community Radio is ready to go on air!"

More information including a detailed project documentation is promised to come up soon,

read also their blog TRAVELOGUE (in German) on 

The radio station, based at Sinazongwe Basic School adjacent to the ITC, has the capacity to cover a radius of 20 kilometres and reach out to 11,000 people but plans are under way to use a transmitter at Sinazongwe Boma which would expand the range to a 60-kilometre radius covering the whole Sinazongwe community as far as Mamba and Kanchindu. An application for the relevant licences is in the pipeline with fund raising still in progress to cover the costs. The relevant frequency will be announced as soon as the licence is granted and broadcasting starts.

Alongside the construction of a VHF-transmitter, mast and a fully fledged radio-studio, the Austrian team conducted a training programme to capacitate the local community to run the studio and radio station. The training covered studio and transmitting techniques, analogue-audio-cut, recording and microphone- techniques and the editorial and technical preparation of some radio-transmissions. The community has already established a committee to manage the station.

The Radio Station was officially handed over to the Sinazongwe community by the Austrian ‘Tonga.OnAir’ Team on the afternoon of 28th July, following the traditional Lwiindi ceremony. The occasion was graced by the Zambian Minister for the Southern Province, the DC and by Chief Sinazongwe. The school choir of Sinazongwe Basic School provided enjoyable entertainment to the guests, teachers and pupils attending, including a special ‘Radio Song’ for the occasion.

The ‘Tonga.OnAir’ project was developed and implemented in close collaboration with AZFA in Linz and the Tonga.Online team in Binga. In fact, the two projects perfectly complement each other since they share the same goals: to capacitate and equip the Tonga community to use modern technology for their information and communication needs, to promote freedom of expression; self-representation and self esteem; and to promote a sense of cultural identity.

Both projects emphasise an open-access approach in order to empower the community at large. There is also a shared vision that modern IT technology will eventually contribute to the healing of the split in the community caused by its relocation and resettlement resulting from the building of Kariba dam.

see pictures of the construction and hand over ceremony