Spotlight on … Zambian broadcaster, Raphael Banda, Breeze FM

| June 29, 2015

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This week, Barza Wire highlights one of our dedicated Zambian readers, Raphael Banda of Breeze FM.

Mr. Banda’s sole purpose in pursuing a career in the media and becoming a radio journalist was to become the “voice of the voiceless” in the community. He says: “I saw that farmers [in] Katete District in eastern Zambia were in dire need of information on farming … as a business. I was motivated by the way [broadcasters] like Golden Mkelabai of Zambia National Broadcasting Services come across on the radio.”

In 2009, Mr. Banda moved to Petauke, in Zambia’s Eastern Province. He started working for a community radio station called Petauke Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, or PASME.

After a couple of years with PASME, he decided to further his career by applying to the Evely Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. With funding from his farmer father, he completed a Diploma in Journalism and Public Relations.

Mr. Banda now works at Breeze FM, which is based in Chipata, the provincial headquarters of the Eastern Province. He produces and presents a farmer radio program called Ulimi Ndi Malonda, or “Farming as a business,” which is broadcast in the Nyanja language.

He says: “When I joined Breeze FM in May, 2014, Martin Mwape, one of the producers at the station, saw that I was interested in farming. He introduced me to [Barza Wire], which I now read weekly for regular updates in farming.”

Mr. Banda knows his program is popular because farmers send letters and phone the radio station to say how much they enjoy hearing the information he broadcasts over the airwaves.

About Barza Wire, Mr. Banda says: “When the materials come to my inbox, I read and understand them. Then I translate them into Nyanja. Having done that, I then go into the field to record the program. Barza Wire is very useful to me in that I am always abreast [of] … farming information from other countries.”

Like many broadcasters on community stations, Mr. Banda faces challenges related to finances and transport. It is sometimes difficult to reach farmers because the program is not sponsored. But he is sure that he will be able to attract sponsors to the program in the very near future!