THIS week we buried one of Zimbabwe’s most illustrious sons, Ephraim Wise Chamba Kadyamatimba.
At his funeral Webster Shamu, Minister of Policy Implementation in the President’s Office, movingly narrated how Chamba h
ad helped to shape Zimbabwe by training broadcasters, musicians and dramatists at the then Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation, including the minister himself.
We all know how the minister’s smooth voice, as Charles Ndlovhu, moved this nation to greater sacrifices during the liberation war as he broadcast from Mozambique. Chamba trained that voice.
Isn’t it tragic that this same Ephraim Chamba who we all recognise as a hero, died a disappointed and frustrated man? For well over six years he, leading a small band of dedicated Christian men and women, had worked hard to establish a radio station called Community Radio Harare. Everything was in place, except government permission to start broadcasting.
Our intransigent and misguided government firmly refuses to open the airwaves to private Zimbabweans. It jealously guards its monopoly over the airwaves even to the most patriotic Zimbabweans who could really help to educate, entertain and inform the people.
Chamba was deeply disappointed because he believed that for any nation to develop and prosper, a free press and media are indispensable. I know this because he had roped me into working with him as a member of the Board of Trustees of Community Radio Harare.
I could not refuse because I believe in a free press as he did. Also he was my advisor as a writer. He encouraged me a lot when, after being arrested, I wanted to give up. He said to me: “Pius keep writing. Don’t be afraid. As long as you are telling the truth the Lord will protect you.”
An example of the unfairness of a monopoly press is that at Chamba’s funeral I spoke together with Shamu and his words were reported verbatim on ZTV in the evening. When my turn came, people just saw me gesticulating, my mouth opening and closing like a mad person. They could not hear what I said because it was blocked out. Is it fair that Zimbabweans are not allowed to hear the truth?
Hazvinei. Famba zvakanaka yahwe. Fambai zvakanaka Maongera (It doesn’t matter. Go well pal). Go well Ephraim Chamba of the great Maongera clan of Zimbabwe. The Lord will surely give you your deserved rest.
Those with ears to hear, let them hear!