Brilliant Pongo is currently researching the repressive media environment in Zimbabwe for a PhD, after completing a media and communication degree at the University and Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Post Compulsory Education at the University.
In his home country, he worked for the Weekend Tribune, which was shut down by the Government in 2004 for being too negative, and as a producer and presenter for Zimbabwe Broadcast Corporation.
He faced threats for expressing his views and cannot return to Zimbabwe for fear of imprisonment. He now lives with his wife and three-year-old son in Wolverhampton after being granted political asylum.
But he is determined to reach people in Zimbabwe and keep them informed through news updates, which are frequently blocked by the Government.
The 31-year-old has shows on London-based SW Radio Africa, broadcasting to Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean Government is able to jam the signal in certain areas but, determined to get their bulletins out, Brilliant and the rest of the team now text latest news updates to thousands of their listeners.
Brilliant said: “Coming to the UK has me afforded the freedom to report the news. I have also been grateful for the opportunity to learn much more about the media through my studies with the University of Wolverhampton.”
For the lighter side of Zimbabwean life, Brilliant has also founded an online entertainment website - www.thazonet.com - focusing on culture, music and films rather than the political situation.
This is mainly aimed at those who have been forced to leave, to give them a sense of community and remind them of home.
“I wanted to show the positive side of Zimbabwe,” he said. “It is a beautiful country and I hope to return one day. Like so many who have left, I am getting further education which will benefit us all in the future.”
Brilliant is one of over 200 students from Zimbabwe studying at the University of Wolverhampton.
Picture courtesy of the BBC
For media inquiries or to arrange an interview with Brilliant please contact Emma Kilvert in the press office on 01902 322003.