#IAmCreativeForAfrica’s Donovan Faranando (DF) had a chance to speak with Onai Shonhiwa (OS), a podcast presenter,content producer and voice-over artist from Zimbabwe about how he is impacting change through speaking to a large number of youths via podcasting.
DF: Tell us your name and what you do?
OS: My name is Negus Onai Shonhiwa, I am a podcast presenter and producer, voice-over artiste and event MC.
DF: Why do you do what you do?
OS: I do what i do because that’s the one thing I would do without wanting to get paid for “talking”
DF: How vital is the podcast initiative in Zimbabwe?
OS: The podcast initiative is an oldish art in a new market. A lot of people don’t really get the chance to do radio and some who do, feel like it limits them and never really get to be uniquely themselves. Podcasts have made it possible for Zimbabweans to create their own version of radio, talk about what they want to talk about, how they want to talk about it and have fun while they do it. It has allowed previously unheard conversations to be heard with objective dialogue, talent development and promotion and that, “i know riiiiiiggght” moment when someone listens to a familiar talking point in a show. Its “on demand” radio for us,by us.
DF: Given the chance to engage Africa in a conversation, what issues will you talk about?
OS: Africa has got more stories to tell than the world knows. The world thinks of Africa as this really tough place to be (it can be, but so can any other place in the world) but there are stories about growing up African, trying to balance religion, the changing world, finding ones own identity and adulting. The story of Africa has been told about every other topical thing, politics, disease, war but the young African trying to figure out whether they should chase being a musician or pursue a degree in Accounting is staring at us saying, “but when will my story be told”,that’s the story I would want to tell.
DF: As a person impacting change vocally,have you ever faced challenges with the topics you share?
OS: Yes, almost every time! We have to think about being politically correct and being real. It’s a tough balance in a society where self censorship is the safest thing to do but at the same time who wants to be gagged right? One very divisive issue was the issue about Homosexuality, it is very polarising and the arguments on the rightness or wrongness of it can be won using different approaches. Some of the troubling things to talk about have to do with challenging culture but at the same time trying to maintain the “ubuntu” sense of moral fibre. In one instance, we could not put up a whole show because the guest who is a public figure had not cleared the show with their employer. On another, people expectations of what you want to talk about and the reality of what you then talk about are universes apart.
DF: Do you think one day you might have your own educational TV or radio show?
OS: One day we will have a whole radio station! Only God knows how super awesome and value adding those
shows will be.
DF: What does it mean to you to be a creative in Africa?
OS: It means we can tell the story of a new culture! We are the one continent that has been mostly colonised and became independent, which means that out culture is expressed as a hybrid that can be understood across the world because we have a piece of everyone,I can speak my African in any language!
DF: One last word to your fellow Africans who would want to follow in your steps?
OS: God has put that desire in your heart for a reason, a reason bigger than you, now go and be amazing and show the world what’s hiding in that heart!