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Shortwave Radio Boss Weighing Options on Closed Station

  • Ndimyake Mwakalyelye

FILE - Zimbabweans listen to a radio for an announcement of election results in Umguza, April, 2008.

FILE - Zimbabweans listen to a radio for an announcement of election results in Umguza, April, 2008.

Shortwave Radio Africa founder, Gerry Jackson of Zimbabwe is exploring her options, following the closure of her broadcast, seven months ago.

The London-based, veteran Zimbabwean broadcaster, says since the closure, she’s active mostly only on social media, but is hoping to find a way to continue speaking on developments in Zimbabwe.

“I’m looking around, hoping to find another cause or someway to get involved with Zimbabwe again, so who knows, I’ll keep on trying.”

It won’t be the first time Jackson, who won a Supreme Court case in 2000 to set up the country’s first independent radio station, will have to figure out how to reconnect with her audience.

She speaks openly about being fired during a live broadcast from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation in 1997, for allowing callers to vent their frustration over the government’s inability to curtail a spiraling food shortage crisis.

She says her love for radio, which she describes as one of the most important mediums, will keep her searching for ways to speak on developments in Zimbabwe, from which she says she currently feels silenced.

“It’s been a bit of a personal mission for so long, because you know I used to work for the state broadcaster, but I was fired in 1997 for my broadcasts. So I have tried, and it is disappointing to be silenced, but these things happen and you just have to pick up the pieces.”

Jackson says she’s disappointed that western donors stopped funding SW Radio Africa, as they sought to re-engage with Zimbabwe.

She says the efforts are a mistake as she does not believe ZANU-PF, Zimbabwe’s ruling party, has changed enough to warrant normalization of relations with the West.

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