Yesterday- 13 February – it was World Radio Day and one of Zimbabwe’s most celebrated radio presenters Ezra Sibanda went back to base – ZBC Montrose Studios – in Bulawayo to go down memory lane with current personnel and retrace his broadcasting roots to the analogue era with a lot of nostalgia.

The date was proclaimed by Unesco to celebrate radio broadcasting, improve international cooperation among radio broadcasters and encourage decision-makers to create and provide access to information through radio, including community stations.

This year’s theme, A century of informing, entertaining, and educating, reflects a remarkable journey from radio’s early days as a tool for safety and maritime applications to its enduring status as the largest and most versatile platform of mass communication.

The first radio was introduced in 1901 by Italian innovator Guglielmo Marconi, hence 12 December 1901 is considered radio invention date or day.

But radio only came to Zimbabwe in 1933 and television in 1960; the first such service in Southern Africa and only the second in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria. South Africa only introduced television 16 years later after Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) – in 1976.

But South Africa had radio 10 years earlier than Rhodesia in 1923.
Now South Africa’s media, particularly radio and television, is far more sophisticated than that of Zimbabwe.

Sibanda dominated ZBC Radio 2 airwaves in the 1990s with the likes of Eric Knight, Brenda Moyo, Simon Pashoma Ncube, Regina Nyirenda, Pina Mwemba and Gift Msipa, while Radio 3 had high-fliers like Kudzi Marudza and Peter Jones.

Other famous ZBC presenters included Admire Taderera, Tich Mataz, James Maridadi, Simon Parkinson, Hosea Singende, Eunice Goto, Otis Fraser, Joe Panganai, Kelvin Sifelani and Sam Sibanda.