Harare – Every other weekend on Zimbabwean Twitter – Zwitter, as it is colloquially known – the hashtag “Madhorofiya FM” trends.
An average of 5,000 tweets focus on Madhorofiya FM, it is one of the more creative outcomes of the COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe.
Dominated by urban grooves and yesteryear hits, the online radio show has become a veritable community where young Zimbabweans from across the world convene weekly for a taste of home.
The brains behind the project, award-winning comedian Mukudzei “King Kandoro” Majoni told The Southern Times Arts that he did not anticipate such growth when he conceptualised the platform.
“Madhorofiya FM has grown to become an online community station but it was really born as a result of my love for Zimbabwean radio and all the free time I found myself having since the pandemic started,” he said of the seven-month journey he has walked with the station.
The radio focuses more on past hits, especially the urban grooves era which was the soundtrack to the post millennial era in Zimbabwe.
It was a time in which the flow of information was becoming better in the world and our musicians started reimagining our music blending local stories with Western sonic influences.
For Zimbabweans in their 20s, like Majoni and his listeners, urban grooves remains a significant part of their history, it reflects in their playlists.
“At first the bias was unconscious, naturally I was going to play my favourite music, and I was raised on urban grooves. When I realised what I was doing, I understood that it was an important thing to do as a way of paying homage to all the incredible artists from previous eras.
We have such a deep musical history, but most of it has been poorly documented,” said King Kandoro.
According to him, their philosophy is giving people their flowers while they can still smell them and ensuring that the emerging breed of Zimbabwean musicians are aware of the people who laid the foundation for them.
With him already owning studio equipment through a podcast he co-hosts, the decision for Majoni to venture into online broadcasting was a case of fruitful playfulness.
The little idea he started on his home office desk, now has audiences across the globe.
“We have strong numbers in South Africa and Namibia, they follow closely after Zimbabwe. Mozambique features with decent numbers too,” said Majoni.
With growth came a scary realisation for him and the team he roped in to assist with the production as well as marketing.
“As the broadcasts became more frequent, my thinking around the Madhorofiya Fm started evolving. I realised that the radio was becoming a connector, a safe space of sorts for young Zimbabweans to connect, look back at what was and look forward to what might be.
We are most interested in giving people their flowers while they can still smell them,” he said.
Madhorofiya Fm, which runs three sessions a week, is like the contemporary echo of youth emotions.
Its most popular show to date was when they ran a Soul Jah Love tribute, the week Zimbabwe woke up to the terrible news of the death of one of its foremost dancehall acts.
For diasporan youths who miss that taste of home-cooked food, that scent of the soil of home, Madhorofiya Fm the audio incarnation of home.