AB Communications chief executive officer, Susan Makore, who was last week sworn in as a commissioner of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), bemoans polarisation in the Zimbabwe media space.
Other members who were sworn in are Professor Ruby Magosvongwe, who chairs the Commission, Dumisani Mashingaidze, Miriam Tose Majome, Rtd Major Edward Mbewe, Tanaka Muganyi, Phillip Pasirayi, Jasper Maphosa and Alec Ncube.
Speaking to Business Times after being sworn in by President Emmerson Mnangagwa as a commissioner, Makore said polarisation of the media in Zimbabwe was negatively affecting the country’s image and the profitability of the media business.
She said she was looking forward to the engagement with media players through ZMC to address the issue.
“The media environment in Zimbabwe has been extremely polarised and I really believe that when you now bring media players together under a common understanding of what they want then it means that you have a better function in media,” Makore said.
She added: “The one thing that I know will give impetus to a better operating environment is that ZMC will engage all players.”
AB Communications, is a diversified media group, which operates Business Times, the only national privately owned commercial radio station ZiFM Stereo, regional radio stations Hevoi FM in Masvingo and 98.4FM in Gweru, TruckAds Media and Mighty Movies (Private) Limited.
AB Communications was founded by broadcaster, politician and former Cabinet Minister Supa Collins Mandiwanzira, one of post-independent Zimbabwe’s gifted entrepreneurs.
Prior to becoming CEO of AB Communications in 2008, Makore was the managing director of Mighty Movies.
She was part of the team that set-up ZiFM Stereo, which began broadcasting on August 15, 2012.
Within two years of its establishment, ZiFM Stereo grew from being a small and unknown radio station to being named one of Africa’s Top 20 – a feat that can only be described as outstanding.
Makore has won several awards including the second runner up for the Superbrand Marketing Oriented CEO of the year in 2014, the 2016 Megafest Businesswoman of the year, and in 2017 she was awarded the Zimbabwe Business Awards’ Businesswoman of the year for the Broadcasting Services industry.
She has a solid academic grounding, with degrees from the University of Zimbabwe and South Africa’s University of Kwazulu Natal.
She has spent time lecturing at the Zimbabwe Open University, as well as at the University of Zimbabwe within its Post Graduate Media and Communications programme.
She is also a published writer and recognised editor.
Prior to joining the private sector, Makore worked for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
She joined the state broadcaster in 2001, spearheading the local production of children’s programming with Kidznet.
She then rose through the ranks to become Zimbabwe Television’s first female CEO from 2003 until 2006.
As a strategist in broadcasting sector who has consulted for Namibia Broadcasting Corporation Makore says the Zimbabwean media sector is now opening up and will definitely grow in the coming years.
“ It’s very clear now that the media space is really opening up and there is need to ensure that the players in the media space meet the expectations of the viewers and the listeners because Zimbabweans have been waiting for a long time for more players to come on board,” she said.
“I see the media industry growing so it’s an exciting time in the media space in Zimbabwe despite the past 6 months being tough for media houses due the covid-19 pandemic and we hope that 2021 will be kinder not only as a country but as a globe because that will ensure that the media sector will prosper.”
Apart from steering the affairs at AB Communications, Makore has served as a board member for organisations that include Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, the Financial Gazette and the Zimbabwe Aids Prevention and Support Organisation.
She is former chairperson of Council for the Women’s University in Africa, former board member for National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, board member for Graca Machel Trust’s Women in Media Cluster, the second vice President of Proweb and is a trustee of Proweb, an organisation that groups professional business women in Zimbabwe. – Business Times ■