Kanyi Pamukwendengwe a Rusitu villager in Zimbabwe writes in the South Africa Mail & Guradian about the brief run of Pachindau People’s Radio, an unlicensed shortwave station that broadcast from Chimanimani in Eastern Zimbabwe. As Pamukwendengwe explains, the inspiration for the station came from the fact that the state-run stations in Harare could not be received in Chimanimani, a fact that government officials were indifferent to:
“Your village is mountainous, this hinders radio transmission signals,” a cheeky-mouthed government administrator found joy in saying.
“There is too much mist and rain, this clouds short-wave signals,” said one self-appointed “communication expert”, glorifying the government’s decision to cut off our village from the rest of the country for 30 years.
A village elder suggested raising the $12,000 necessary to buy a proper shortwave and FM transmitter by selling off live stock and having villagers pool funds. However, instead Pamukwendengwe’s cousin studying in South Korea was able to procure a second-hand Chinese-made shortwave transmitter for $2500 and smuggle it into the country telling border officials that it was a generator.
After some bickering, the station was set up on a mountaintop and went on the air, broadcasting until government authorities caught wind of the station.
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