The Herald, 29 March 1980
RHODESIA’S national broadcasting corporation yesterday changed its name from the Zimbabwe Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation to simply the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
The decision to drop the Rhodesia from the State-run corporation’s name was made at a meeting of the board, sources said in Salisbury.
No immediate confirmation could be obtained from members of the board, as they were involved in discussions with a four-man BBC advisory team, led by Mr Austin Kark, head of the BBC Overseas Service, who is in Rhodesia at the request of the Prime Minister, Mr Mugabe, to help with the revamping of the radio and television networks.
A spokesman for the corporation said no members of the board would be available for comment last night, reports Iana.
However, in line with the board’s decision to change the corporation’s name, the 4pm bulletin yesterday announced itself as The Voice of Zimbabwe, for the first time.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
Change of names of major colonial vestiges was one of the first things done by the democratically-elected Government in early 1980, in order to assert the country’s new identity.
This was an extension of the just-ended revolutionary war, with notable names used to replace colonial ones. The changes were the first steps to pronounce that the attainment of Independence was irreversible.
Commonly referred to as the Fourth Estate, the media is an important component in the power matrix involving the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature. The game changer is on who controls it, even the State-owned media, since it sets the country’s socio-political, economic and cultural agenda. Inasmuch as the Rhodesians had used it to best advantage, the Zimbabwean Government flexed its muscles at an early stage.
Before the Zimbabwe Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation changed its name to Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, another State-owned media entity — the Rhodesia Herald had already changed its name to The Herald.
The involvement of external and internal experts shows how the new Government managed change, and was willing to learn from the people it had been fighting.
Searches on the Internet show that some of the State-owned radio material might have been taken out by some unscrupulous elements. According to the website, http://thenewrbc.com/, they have archived “original Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation, transmitted and recorded in the 1970s”. This is Zimbabwean history that should be reclaimed.
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