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Lack of alternative television in Zimbabwe

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After the signal blackout by the South African Broadcasting Corporation the free to air decoders acquired by most Zimbabweans are now symbolic and a reminder of what used to be an alternative source of entertainment. Recently I was watching a debate on ZBC’s “Melting Pot” and I expected to see a pot really melting with some lively debate but my expectations were a bit high. The debate turned out to be a rehearsed and a one sided event with in-between citation of a certain political party’s manifesto which I am sure by now viewers can now sing every word by heart. The show anchor actually did not even shy away from showing his party allegiance to an extent that one would have mistook him for a campaign manager of a certain political party. My previous dealing with shows like these would be remote in hand, flipping channels on my free to air decoder or settling my dollar for two movies from the streets.

I am not alone in this fix. The signal cut off by SABC has affected Zimbabwe’s generation of young viewers who had fallen in love with dramas and soaps from down south. Our own local production companies tried to lure young audiences with locally produced dramas and soap operas but the story line ended up getting tired and boring like the actors. The recycling of the usual actors was a big turn off to young viewers especially when our local television is competing with the youth targeted and fast paced programming from SABC and other digital satellite broadcasting stations. The reason why most Zimbabweans preferred to invest in the free to air decoders is they got tired of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s programming and monopoly of the airwaves. Also DSTV subscriptions are just too exorbitant.  How to do you expect to compete for viewers when programs like “Madzinza eZimbabwe” and some Korean documentaries with subtitles are aired during prime time viewing when SABC offers programs like Isidingo and Generations? Neither would one expect to watch a repeat of  ‘Talking Farming” after a long day at work.

But since I’m still searching for an the alternative here is my Friday prime time fix from ZBC-TV & Channel 2:

1730-1830 – NHAU/INDABA
1830-1930 – WOZA FRIDAY
1930-1931 – NEWS HEADLINES
1931-2000 – REVELATIONS
2000-2100 – NEWS HOUR
2115-2145 – MA 1 EP 03
2300-2315 – LATE NIGHT NEWS
2330-0000 – MY WIFE AND KIDS
0000-0100 – DOCUMENTARY
0100-0400 – IN CONCERT
0530-0555 – SINJALO EP 11

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