Gwizi – a broadcaster with a difference

She’s a poet, a broadcaster and a motivational speaker – and Soneni Thandeka Gwizi has achieved what many able-bodied people have failed to. Because of her unwavering fight for peace, justice and equality among men and women across the globe, Gwizi is among the 44 Zimbabwean celebrities who are the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) brand ambassadors.

“This business of seeking official comments from disabled experts really boggles my mind. Journalists should consult the affected people.” – Soneni Thandeka Gwizi
“This business of seeking official comments from disabled experts really boggles my mind. Journalists should consult the affected people.” – Soneni Thandeka Gwizi

Gwizi is now in the same league as legendary and influential Zimbabweans such as musician Oliver Mutukudzi, footballer Peter Ndlovu and artist Cont Mhlanga.

“As a UNWTO brand ambassador representing people with disability, my role is to influence change in the tourism sector,” said Gwizi. “For example, we want people with disabilities to also go for holidays with their families. My role is to raise issues such as tourism facilities that aren’t suitable for disabled people. I am also the voice of non-disabled people.”

Gwizi decided to pursue a journalism career after realising that most disabled people had no outlet to air their views and concerns.

“When I decided to pursue broadcasting, I wanted to prove to the world that we are all equal despite the physical challenges which we have. To me, everyone has his or her own form of disability. By becoming a broadcaster, I am now able to provide some solutions and voices not only to disabled people alone, but to other minority groups as well,” she said.

Gwizi’s weekly disability issues programmes on Spot FM have had a positive impact on people’s lives.

“Women and disabled people need a bigger and an amplified voice. In most of my programmes, I concentrate on these issues. I have realised that women, particularly those with disabilities, hold back their stories and yet these stories can change lives,” said Gwizi.

She said her wish was to see the local media approaching people with disability to source stories.

“You hardly hear the voices of disabled women in the media, yet they are the ones who are the biggest victims of social injustice. They toil all day long trying to make ends meet but you hardly hear their stories.

“This business of seeking official comments from disabled experts really boggles my mind. Journalists should consult the affected people,” she advised.

The gender activist also expressed concern over the number of senators appointed to represent disabled people in the upper house. “Of the 66 senators, only two represent people with disability. I am not convinced that these two people will be able to influence much. They are just ornaments,” she said.

Gwizi‘s passion and determination have not gone unnoticed. In 2010, she received the Federation of African Media Women in Zimbabwe (FAMWZ) award on reporting on gender, children and young people. In 2012, she was recognised by Junior Chamber International (Zimbabwe) as one of the ten outstanding young people in the country. In the same year, the National Aids Council of Zimbabwe recognised her for reporting on HIV/AIDS issues for people living with disabilities.

Post published in: News

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