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SKYz Metro FM sets tone through disability inclusive programming

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By Nkosana Dlamini

In every struggle, a step taken that advances an individual or a group of people is worth cherishing and calls for a moment of celebration as it shows that efforts undertaken are not in vain.

The same can be noted when it comes to persons with disabilities (PWDs) who have continued to reel behind in as far as their recognition and that of their rights is concerned.

It is not every day that one would see a PWD influencing change at a larger spectrum through media back in the days. To date, not many are journalists, news reporters, editors let alone presenters both on television and radio, however all that is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Of late, the government has taken a positive stance to issue radio licences to regional, provincial and community radio stations.

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Currently, there are 6 national radio stations, 10 regional and provincial stations, 14 community stations and 7 campus stations.

Despite efforts to ensure that information dissemination is increased while also promoting the use of indigenous languages, radio stations covering disability related content are still very few. This includes employment or inclusion of such people.

Some of the stations that have taken an inclusive approach include Radio Zimbabwe, Classic 263, Hevoi FM, Khulumani FM and many other.

Joining them is Skyz Metro FM, Bulawayo’s first ever commercial radio station which introduced a disability programme beginning of this month.

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Tsepang T. Nare, the initiator of the programme, told Zimstar News in an interview that “the introduction of a disability programme was long overdue taking note of the fact that the station has been in existence for close to 6 years now”.

He congratulated the Skyz Metro team for taking a bold and decisive decision following its move to take radio to the people through its advert flighted earlier during the year calling for interested independent content creators to submit proposals.

This has given birth to a programme known as ‘Classical Moments’ Talk show which runs under the theme, “Smart conversations on disability”.

Nare further noted that his voice is an instrument for change and media leads to effective utilization of this instrument.

Nare’s programme primarily focuses on raising awareness on the National Disability Policy launched last year June by the president. Therefore, it focuses on unpacking the document through scrutinizing each and every article in the policy.

Guests are invited to come and share insights and this happens within the first 2 weeks of the month.

To add a twist to the programme and make it more interesting, the remaining 2 weeks are all about addressing some of those long and outstanding societal issues with the hope to break the yoke of stigma, discrimination, stereotype and harmful practices and behaviours. #ClassicalQuestion affords listeners both those with and without disabilities a platform to share views on the subject matter discussed based on the question for the day.

Nare works with a vibrant team of presenters namely ‘Vee Toots’ and Brian B who are all disabled. Based on the interview we had with them, it became apparent that their ultimate goal was to create a gender nonconforming society in which PWDs are at the center of initiating and leading development.

To achieve this, they remain steadfast in their mission to change the narrative, drive the agenda and set the tone. Unlike some disability programmes that air at night or at an odd time, ‘Classical Moments’ Talk show is part of the Friday morning prime time as it airs every Friday between 9.30-10.00am.

When asked what informs the name classical moments, Nare said “often at times disability programmes are associated with so much sympathy and sorrow resulting in discussions being characterised by a sombre mood but that’s not the case when it comes to this one as the desire is to create a fun packed and relaxed environment to foster robust, factual and eye opening discussions on everything concerning PWDs making it a programme to remember even 10 years down the line”.

They called on all those who may want to sponsor the programme through advertising or a sponsored programme to get in touch with Skyz Metro fm. Through sponsorship it guarantees the continuation of their programme.

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