If you thought lady radio presenters were too liberal with their fashion tastes, you might have to think again. If every picture tells a story, and if Rod Stewart told the truth, what story does this picture tell? Rumbi is elegant, thoroughly decent, savvy and yet chic.

By Morris Mtisi – (Manica Post)

Indeed dressing is a language. And the language Rumbi chooses here is apt and unmistakable. This column is called Knowing Them Better and Morris Mtisi every week helps you to know one Diamond FM radio presenter well. And this week it is none other than the carefully dressed and beautiful RBM.

Born Rumbidzai Bridget Mashayahanya, the Diamond FM Radio news anchor joined the electronic media in 2010. Her calmness, composure, serenity on radio speaks volumes about her experience on radio. I had the pleasure of going head to head with her this last Sunday.

MM: Welcome to my space Rumbi. We are on Know Them Better and thank you for being my guest.

RBM: Hello listeners! Hi MM.

MM: Diamond FM listeners want to know your better. Let’s begin at your early school life.

RBM: I went to Darwendale Primary School in Mashonaland West.

MM: What year was that Rumbi? The age issue is here again . . .

RBM (laughing) A long, long time ago!

MM: Here we go again. I will not insist. Then?

RBM: I went to Moleli High School where I would be from Form 1 up to Form 6. My father went to Moleli. My brother was at Moleli when I came to the school. It was sort of a family school. I tried to go elsewhere for Form 5, I couldn’t. Family members said no, three times. I remember here I used to be a vibrant public speaker and debater. I was also in the school choir.

MM: I’m not surprised. You have a beautiful staccato voice. You speak well and you ooze confidence.

RBM: Thank you. After Moleli I went to Midlands State University. All of a sudden you smell the coffee here.

MM: I know what you mean . . . free as a bird! And too much freedom can be scary. And colleges and universities are at the end of the rainbow, aren’t they?

RBM: Maiwee. . . Zvakaoma! And then you realise oh my God, I’m grown up!

MM: Responsibility now . . . time to be responsible with irresponsibility all around you?

RBM: Say that again. Yet I was lucky. I’m Salvation Army by birth . . . a strong church member. This helped me a lot to remain sane and focused.

MM: When did you begin serious work?

RBM: in 2010! Yes 2010! 2008-9 I was making fillers into the job market and mostly did free moon-lighting . . .  voluntary work . . . just to be there and make a mark. I had passion for radio and soon I enjoyed the privilege of public and private media. I remember doing gender diaries on ZTV. I was passionate about women’s issues.

MM: Why not passionate about men’s issues too Rumbi?

RBM: (She hesitates to answer this one)

MM: Let us suspend that one if it is too difficult to answer.

RBM: Thank you. Let me proceed, I joined Power FM and SF. I was news anchor on these two stations for a while.

MM: I have listened to boring, you know laconic, horrible news reading on many stations and have wondered, ‘what is this chap doing on radio?’ What does it take to be a lively and intelligent-sounding news reader?

RBM: Of course clarity, confidence, fluency and artistic but commanding voice undulation.

MM: You have been in various media systems and are an expert now. What do people think about radio, perhaps and TV presenters?

RBM: Hanzi ma ‘celebrity’. . . vanodada.

MM: True too, is it not? Some carry useless airs around them, don’t they?

RBM: Yes many want kuti everywhere they are ‘ndifileyi’ you know. Some go to the extent of saying, ‘if we get it on’. . . ukandida I will bring you on air some day. . . pa radio. . .  that kind of thing.

MM: When I grew up society had an attitude against nurses. Today society resents haulage truck drivers. These are known stereo-types, right or wrong. What does society say about radio presenters or TV presenters? 

RBM: I remember my journalism lecturer, one Mr Mandava once said, “Welcome to Journalism! But all ladies here if you contemplated marriage in your life, you can now forget it because media girls never get married.”

MM: Of course that was an unfair amplification of the truth, was it not?

RBM: It depends with one’s partner. Does he or she understand your job, understand you, appreciate your right to work and trust you. For me, it has been easy. My husband works in the same industry.

MM: Is it possible to be famous . . . well known, all for the wrong reasons?

RBM: Of course. Never get to a place and demand or expect people to feel your presence. The problem is so-called celebrities who think they are already there. Celebrity status does not come over night. And always remember not to be a nuisance in public. Integrity is critical wherever you are. Remember you carry the image . . . the brand of a company. It takes years to build a reputation but only a few seconds to lose it. This is critical to remember. We need to be conscious who we are, whom we represent and what we are doing all the time we are in public. To behave, to be role models. . . good role models, on and off air!

MM: Where are you taking radio?

RBM: My dream is to become a leader. In the next few years I want to see myself a leading news anchor in Africa and the world . . . the likes of the late Kumla Dumor, Richard Quest (BBC) and Anele Mdoda (SABC 3).Words have power and I’m going to be that . . . the female version of these greats!

MM: Finally, make a shout-out to three loved ones. Who would these be?

RBM: Of course my son . . . my handsome son, Erik Tinayeshe Mezah, my husband Tichaona Mezah . . . Bring me chocolate darling!

And last but not least, Mr and Mrs Mashayahanya in Harare – my beloved parents, much love and appreciation. Without you I would not be here. You are my strength, my stronghold. I will do my best to keep you happy!

MM: Awesome interview! Thanks Rumbi.

RBM: Thank you.