African Dream: Malawi's Gospel Kazako

Gospel Kazako
Image caption Gospel Kazako's Zodiak Broadcasting Station reaches the whole country

If you live near the wonderful lakes of Malawi, your metaphors of success are likely to include references to the importance of traversing big bodies of water.

At least that is how broadcaster, entrepreneur and poet Gospel Kazako speaks.

"In life you always have to believe in what you want to achieve. It doesn't matter whether there are certain things that will be impeding that vision," he says.

"You have to believe that you can swim across big rivers, big lakes. That's what made me go on, and that was part of my drive."

For many years, Mr Kazako worked for the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation but his goal was to set up his own radio company.

He told the BBC's African Dream series that as soon as he joined the state-run corporation he started enquiring about the price of microphones and transmitting equipment.

"I had the view that one day I would have my own national radio station, probably bigger than the state-controlled radio," he said.

Top budding entrepreneur

He eventually left the security of his employment and, to make his dream come true, created a small production house that recorded - among other things - music, soundtracks, and adverts.

Then he bought his first transmitter and in 2005 he launched the Zodiak Broadcasting Station which now reaches the whole country.

Nearly 75% of its programmes are broadcast in Chichewa, Malawi's main language, which is also spoken in neighbouring Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Mr Kazako is a poet of note in Chichewa.

Zodiak Broadcasting Station has more than 25 transmitting sites.

Five years ago, Mr Kazako was chosen as the top budding male entrepreneur at Malawi's Diversity Leader Awards.

He was commended for setting up "a radio station truly aimed at the whole of Malawi. Where most independent radio stations targeted the urban areas, Gospel's Zodiak Broadcasting aims to educate, inform and entertain those who need it most."

"He continues to revolutionize radio broadcasting through constant introduction of creative and innovative programmes," the award citation continued.

'Don't think of banks'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionGospel Kazako: Little by little, I can assure you, you are going to cross the Pacific

Mr Kazako's own gospel of success is that you have to be disciplined, you must be excited about your vision, you have to be slightly crazy, you have to be strong, and "above all, you also have to believe in God."

But what about the money to start your business with?

"If you want to move forward never think of figures," he told the BBC's Joel Nkhoma in Malawi's capital, Lilongwe.

"Figures will always pull you backward. Someone will say you need a million dollars. Sometimes, you have the vision but you can't figure out how you can get the million dollars."

"And don't think of banks. If you think of banks, they will stifle your idea because banks in Africa are very segregative. They are just interested in the people who already have the resources."

"What you need to do is believe in your idea, work very hard, save the little that you are making within that vision, and start slowly, little by little. I can assure you: you are going to cross the Pacific."

African Dream is broadcast on the BBC Network Africa programme every Monday morning.

Every week, one successful business man or woman will explain how they started off and what others could learn from them.

Around the BBC