By Simbarashe Musaki
‘Radio is the theater of the mind’, some orthodox would say.
The advent of radio presented the whole wide world with a cure for entertainment deficiency syndrome in yesteryears, giving relief to pains of the disease’s common symptoms, such as, boredom and stress among others, as people would closely follow their favorite radio programs, occasionally switching from one station to another.
Television was uncommon and owning one symbolized wealth, raising reservations on the old saying ‘good old days’.
Small radios, such as ‘People’s Radio’ were common acquisitions and people customarily charged batteries using solar energy by simply putting them on sun to evade missing their beloved programs that attracted the whole family and neighbours in some instances.
Afro Pop Sounds was a popular program on Power FM, formerly ‘Radio 3′, presented by jovial presenter Kudzi ‘Mr Cool’ Marudza. ‘Welcome to Afro Pop Sounds, Chirongwa che Good living’, were his introductory words on the program.
Radio 3 had talented broadcasters, who dominated the local radio during those days, the likes of Hosea ‘Hitman’ Singende, Bridget ‘Bubbling B’ Gavanga, Joe Hussein,Peter Johns (‘P.J’ or Radio Driver), Simon Parkinson and Tichafa ‘Tich Mataz’ Matambanadzo among others.
Must not miss shows included, Hits Ville Top 20, Afternoon Request Show not forgetting, James Maridadi’s Junior 3.
Simon Pashoma Ncube ‘Cde Kunakirwa’ was a regular voice on Radio 2 (Radio Zimbabwe) presenting Kuverengwa Kwemabhuku. He would beautifully imitate voices of women, old people and children.
The program was magnetic and youngsters would quietly and attentively listen to the educative program were the presenter read set books for the benefit of Ordinary level (‘O’ level) and now defunct Zimbabwe Junior Certificate (ZJC) students.
Radio Zimbabwe, formerly Radio 2 had a myriad of entertaining and educative programs presented by popular disc jockeys like, Eric ‘The General’ Knight, Ezra ‘Tshisa’ Sibanda, Temba ‘Chana Chatete’ Mukanda, Brenda Moyo, the late ‘Mushamarari’ Joe Panganai Mukaronda, Itai Godfrey Muchada (IGM) and Sam ‘Sammy Boy’ Sibanda among others.
Radio Zimbabwe’s history is half baked if a blind eye is given to the afternoon dramas, that were introduced by an accapela song with the lyrics, ‘Handei kumombe vakomana, kwatinoswera tichitamba murukova…’as well as, Chakafukidza Dzimba Matenga which was then presented by Grey Gambiza Moyo who used to remind people of his pint-size height, whenever he presented himself (Zita rangu ndinonzi Grey Gambiza Moyo murume mupfupi kwete nekuda asi nekuzvarwa).
Soccer commentary used to attract a huge audience Sunday afternoon on Radio 1 (Spot FM), with veteran broadcaster Charles ‘CNN’ Mabika and the late Evans Mambara, showcasing their talent.
Prior to football commentary, Terrence Mapurisana would entertain Reggae lovers with his reggae show. ‘Good old days when music was still music and mature music for mature people’ were his utterances after playing an old school song.
Radio lessons attracted listeners to tune to Radio 4 (National FM) in past years. The station was a storage tower of educative programs fused with a jiff of entertainment programs.
Notable voices then were Nhamo ‘Great Chief” Saunyama and Munyaradzi ‘Bad News’ Maposa. Later on, the late Wonderful Xavier Kamundaya (Wandy) rocked the station and was the man who coined words such as ‘turu’ used till today on the station.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s Ztv aired programs, such as Wrestling, Mvengemvenge, The A-Team, McGyver, local dramas like Mukadota and Paraffin, which kept people glued to their seats during the prime time viewing, while dust coated children were asked to wash their legs prior to gaining entry into the house to watch television.
Radio listening will never be the same again with the advent of technology, while radio presenters are no longer popular like yesteryear broadcasters, despite competitive and professional efforts being portrayed by current crop of presenters, such as, Kanyemba Bhonzo, Season Ndundu Chikara, Hazvinei Sakarombe, Phatisani Sibanda and Donald Mukota among others.