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Ruvheneko: Why I left ZiFM

Radio and television personality Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa says her departure from the privately-owned radio station, ZiFM, was largely “political”.

the style interview By Winstone Antonio

Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa
Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa

That, however, will not affect her blooming career as she believes the sky is the limit. The Standard Style reporter Winstone Antonio (WA) caught up with Parirenyatwa (RP) who opened up on her departure from the radio station, among other issues. Below are excerpts from the interview.

WA: A lot of reasons have been proffered regarding your departure from ZiFM. Can you give us the reason why you left the radio station?

RP: I left ZiFM Stereo for two reasons — it was time for me to move on to the next phase of my life and the second one is that I proposed to move to Mighty Movies as part of my migration to television. However, my decision to leave the entire AB Communications group was a result of a series of issues, but ultimately it was politics. Both internal and external politics which revealed that I was now part of something that had become too obscure to understand, let alone support. If I do not know what my company stands for, then what am I falling for?

WA: Did your misunderstanding with Tafadzwa Musarara have anything to do with your departure?
RP: No. The last time I checked, he was not on the organogram of AB Communications. Unless you know something I do not know?

WA: How did Musarara end up on the Platform programme that night?

RP: Since there is a case at the High Court [on this matter], I am not in a position to comment. I was the presenter of the show and I had some editorial control over all the shows that I hosted, although I reported to the editor-in-chief of news and current affairs as well as the station manager.

WA: There are claims that you have been fighting with your bosses at ZiFM for a long time. How far true is this?
RP: I am not sure and I don’t understand how or why a subordinate would fight their superior. It is an odd concept. What I did challenge was the system and policies — or lack thereof — within the organisation. ZiFM Stereo is only four years old, so there are still many cracks in our canvas, but we figured it out as we went along. No company is perfect and neither are the people within it. However, once the glue that once kept everything and everyone together loses purpose, then yes, people like myself and the many others who have also left in the past year will make the decision to move on. What many do not know about me is the number of battles I have to fight daily. One day I will share more. It is also important to know that I do not fight people, but I challenge actions and the forces behind those actions. I do not challenge these things to “win” but I challenge them so that I understand them and once I understand them and do not agree, I can peacefully separate myself from them.

WA: I understand you were offered a senior position at Mighty Movies. Why did you reject the offer?

RP: Reject is a harsh word. I merely reconsidered a mutually agreed upon decision. The ZiFM Stereo we started in 2012 was on its way to greatness as a commercial and private entity, but politics seem to have changed the fundamental principles we stood for and consequently blurred our original vision and mission so much so that personalities like myself can no longer fit, let alone grow, or even call it “home.” When my passion is reduced to a “job”, that I show up for and get paid for at the end of the month, then it is time to pull back because it is no longer worth it. In our industry, in order to excel, one needs to be driven and surrounded by sharp, brilliant and adaptable minds as well as superiors who inspire, motivate and teach. If that’s not there then the creative product you all expect to see, read and hear from us as the fourth pillar, dies.

WA: What made you tick at ZiFM?

RP: What I fell in love with about ZiFM from day one, was that it was “something new”. We were so fresh, so young, so bold and we were simply unstoppable. It was exciting to be part of this new sound, this new lifestyle of ZiFM radio and we were beaming all across the globe. I remembered during the early days when I was getting messages from listeners in Hong Kong, England, the United States and all over the world saying they are listening from where they were. It was so hard to believe. I thought our bosses were playing a sick joke on us and had a dubious system that sent messages from foreign lands, but the reality was how big the brand ZiFM was. Then the people I worked with since 2012 [including those who have sadly left] were the magic. I am so grateful to ZiFM Stereo because it has undoubtedly been my springboard on the local media space. There is so much beauty in me leaving so let’s look ahead to what is to come and do not touch that dial. There is some amazing talent at that station both on air and especially off air and I am so honoured to have worked with them all. The media space is so small here so I do not doubt that we will continue to work together.

WA: What are your views on the running of radio stations as commercial entities. Do you think producers have independence to produce their programmes?

RP: In a functioning media house, no one person ever has independent or executive powers over the production of a programme. That being said, the Zimbabwe we live in today means that even the media house does not have the “independence” to produce their own programmes. The creative capacity of any media house depends on the environment in which it exists.

WA: Are you going to take a break from the media?

RP: I may need to take a break from life in general. I remember a time I was hosting five to six talk shows per week. On some nights I would host three shows back-to-back and consequently three topics back-to-back like this for example, the Y-Zone [kombi drivers] then straight after that The Platform [a debate about the “new” Constitution] then finally Health Matters [Halitosis]. You can imagine having to switch from topic to topic without a break in between and the amount of preparation required as your own producer. Tawanda, Anesu, Sean, Pascal, Thembi and Mona-Lisa were my strength at work. I would get home at about 10pm on average and then I would be invited as a master of ceremonies over weekends. As a young woman, I have the energy for all that and I love it, but you know what, the productive year is nearly over so a “break” would not hurt.

WA: What is your next destination and what is the next thing Zimbabweans can expect from Ruvheneko?

RP: “Destination” is too final because I am still on a journey. Scary as it is to leave a comfort zone, it is necessary. I like the fear actually because it is driving me. It will take a while for people to stop saying, “Kuri sei ko ku ZiFM? [How is it at ZiFM]”, but I understand. I was indeed Ruvheneko from ZiFM Stereo; My Station, Your Station. As attached as some of my listeners were to me, I was equally attached to them and I was attached to the premises. The premises I lived on for 14 hours per day for years, the premises that realised so many of my dreams, the premises on which I met dream-makers and dream shakers. The premises that I owe a lot to. I speak of the premises because during this time, I have learned that the premise is the only thing that is constant, people come and go but it remains. It is an emotional time, but a refreshing time and as the wise keep telling me, “it is just a job.” So the job is there for those who want a job, but I am not a worker, I am a doer. So, I am moving on to do what I love and love what I do. Leaving ZiFM Stereo is not the end of my world or my career. God cannot be done with me yet. The station itself will never be the same without the many of us who have left, but who is to say that “change” does not come with “better!” It is positive and wise to know when to move on and let go. Timing is everything!

WA: Thank you for your time Ruvheneko

RP: My pleasure Widzo.

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