The government has assured communities in Matobo district that they will soon be receiving broadcasting services to enable them to be part of the national discourse as the country heads for watershed elections in July.

This came out during a ZimDigital broadcast content creators meeting held in Maphisa, Matobo district yesterday.

The ZimDigital team was in Maphisa to motivate content creators and artists to be part of the revolution ushered by the digitalisation programme through producing films and documentaries about themselves.

The traditional leadership that was represented by Chief Malaba and Chief Bakwayi hailed the programme, but expressed concern over the lack of broadcasting services particularly at a time when the country is heading for elections.

“We do not know what is happening in our own country. As it is we are heading for elections and we can’t say we have a clear picture of what exactly is happening. We are really appealing for broadcasting services in our area,” said Chief Malaba.

Responding to the concerns, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Mr George Charamba said, while Maphisa is one of the areas earmarked for the construction of a new tower, transmission equipment will in the interim be installed on existing telecommunication infrastructure to enable communities here to receive signals by mid July.

“If you are not part of the national conversation, we have denied you of your citizenship. We need to ensure that broadcasting infrastructure is there and before long you will see a tower being constructed, but the elections are upon us and we need a quick solution. We will get a transmitter to be hosted by the guys in telecoms so that by July you get some sort of service,” he said.

To the content creators, the message by the ZimDigital team was the need for the creative industry to take advantage of the digitalisation programme that provides funding, training and equipment to produce as much content as possible to feed the coming 12 channels.

“We are here to motivate content creators to say this is where the money is, this is where the future is, we do not want a situation where we have invested millions of dollars in this infrastructure and fail to produce content,” said ZBC CEO Mr Patrick Mavhura.

Zimbabwe Film and Television School of Southern Africa (ZIFTESSA) Director, Mr Rino Zhuwarara told the content creators that if they fail to produce content then they will be imported.

“The money that would have benefited you will be taken outside the country, so please turn your ideas into something, tell us your stories,” he said.

The content creation awareness workshops that began in provincial capitals are now being taken to speech communities like Maphisa where artists and independent producers are encouraged to promote their languages and culture so that the national screen will reflect the diverse communities in Zimbabwe.