Zimbabwe: Another Amakhosi Production Censored

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Before he could recover from the decision by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to suspend the screening of his popular soap Amakorokoza, Mhlanga has had another of his big ideas put on ice again.

The project dubbed Amakhosi Good Morning was scheduled to hit the airwaves in September this year on Spot FM but it has been put off indefinitely after ZBC allegedly reneged on the agreement.

"The show was meant to encourage and train young artists in Zimbabwe and we had already recorded the first 26 episodes and paid for time slots. "But what does your only broadcaster do . . . at the last minute they ban us for no reason!"

Mhlanga said the ZBC management told him that they would not allow his programme to be aired even if he had paid in advance."Imagine being told that we do not want your work even if you pay," he lamented. "ZBC has had problems with me because I have demanded professionalism in the way we have been doing business as partners."

Mhlanga said 26 episodes constituted what was supposed to be the programme's first season. The fiery Kusile Rural District councillor said they would have proceeded to record another set of programmes had ZBC started airing the initial episodes.

The talented playwright said it was meaningless for the government and ZBC to complain about pirate radio stations when they threw out programming they deemed to be politically incorrect.

"This is so because some state and non-state players have closed the industry by rubbishing programmes on political lines and producers have had no option but to service those stations that are ready to accept such programmes," he added.

Mhlanga said the Ministry of Information should expedite the opening of airwaves so that more players would participate. For now, he said, he would concentrate on recording his plays on DVD and is currently working on a piece called Salakhe.

"Despite the fact that they (ZBC) don't want me on air I will not give up producing and we are currently rehearsing Salakhe which will be on DVD soon, Mhlanga said.

ZBC spokesperson said they did not know anything about the banned programme.

"ZBC will not run its affairs in the media," he said. "If Cont (Mhlanga) has a problem with ZBC he should not rush to the media especially private media to announce he has a problem. He should come to ZBC and have a meeting where the problem will eventually be addressed."

He said Walter Mupfanochiya, who is responsible for programming and procurement, said he did not know anything about the Amakhosi programme. Amakorokoza has been on and off air as a result of disagreements between Mhlanga and ZBC.

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