The “Iron Lady of Radio”, as Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa had grown to be known during her days on the airwaves at AB Communications’ ZiFM Stereo, is down but not out.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
Parirenyatwa was last year pulled off air after a debacle with the station’s management months after a politically charged show which she hosted.
She was later appointed head of the organisation’s subsidiary television production wing, but she quickly tendered a resignation letter.
A couple of weeks ago, the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media, Writing and Political Science holder resurfaced with her own show which airs online. But will she manage to maintain the same influence she had while under the wings of AB Communications?
“It is far too soon to say how this transition will affect followers and support of Ruvheneko,” she said.
“This is where you learn how much support you have as an individual versus how much support you had because you were part of a particular media house.”
The show, which airs live on Facebook and bears her name Ruvheneko (Shona word which means the light) aims at tackling current affairs through interviews with influential people not only in Zimbabwe but around the continent.
Famed for her strong character when interviewing prominent figures, especially politicians, the vivacious host says she is on course to carving her forte on a different front.
“I’ve only hosted two shows online so far and the first one had over 300 000 views,” she said.
“It has opened me up to a different market altogether. I have new followers who had never heard me on radio and this is good, but it’s even better if I know that the people who followed my radio show will follow me on my online show.”
Ruvheneko conceded that her influence could have dipped a bit as a result of the shift, but revealed that she was “excited” and her mission was to create value on cyberspace to attract more followers.
“What we need to keep fighting for are affordable rates for all because it does not take long for people to catch on to a new wave and they will ride that wave if they like it and if they see value,” she said.
Faced with internet connection hiccups, high costs for broadcasting equipment and still trying to come up with a flawless team, she believes her quest to defy all odds is history in the making.
“It feels like God’s grace has seen me through what still is in a lot of ways one of the most frightening career moments of my life so far,” she said.
“I’m in a position where I cannot see the whole staircase, so I am walking in His Light and trusting that I am exactly where I should be. The online TV show is only the beginning. This, I know.”
With the lack of plurality in local airwaves, it might be a while before she returns to mainstream radio but she is “very open to that” idea if anything comes up.
Similar to what brought her into the spotlight, her future prospects are clearly an attempt to trigger debate on pertinent issues and bringing leaders to account.
“In a public light, we know that journalists are supposed to shed light, reveal the truth, show the gaps, dig deep, expose, elevate and highlight life as we go through it, so what better name for a current affairs show than Ruvheneko?” she said.
“Tichajekesa nekuvheneka kunge chiedza, sekubuda kwezuva [We will continue to shine and lighten like sunrise].”