Stay true to who you are: Candice

HARARE - ZiFM Stereo newscaster Candice Mwakalyelye has overcome all obstacles including albinism to stake a claim in Zimbabwe’s media industry.

Daily News on Sunday’s Sharon Muguwu (SM) caught up with the vivacious Mwakalyelye (CM) to understand how her career at ZiFM is unfolding. Below are excerpts of the wide-ranging interview:

SM: First tell us who is Candice? How old are you?

CM: Describing myself is always difficult ...let’s just say I am a strong-willed 28-year-old who believes that all good things come to those who work hard for them.

SM: How did you get into radio?

CM: Radio found me, it really did... (Laughing). I was in Tanzania when an opportunity happened to come up with a station there. I tried it out and the rest is history...

SM: What exactly do you do at ZiFM?

CM: Ok...newscaster that is. I read the news with the help of a journalist and I manage the social media platforms more on the monitoring side. I leave the actual posts to Captain Awesome and Dan that Guy. I also give out the daily hug rations ... (laughing).

SM: Can you describe your first time on radio? How was the feeling?

CM: It was a thrill....but I was also petrified for almost that whole week. I think I said, “I beg your pardon,” almost 20 times during readings.

SM: Where else have you worked besides ZiFM?

CM: East Africa Television Limited under IPP media in Tanzania.

SM: How many are you in your family?

CM: Let’s just say I have a football team at my disposal should I ever need one.

SM: Do you have any other family member that is in the media industry?

CM: Actually yes, my aunt is in the media industry in the United States of America. She does both radio and TV.

SM: How do you handle the fame?

CM: I don’t know about being famous. Maybe I am a little bit popular. It is awkward at times; I never know how to react.

SM: What do you like to do in your spare time, when you are off work?

CM: I like to read and love to sleep. There is this fantastic family-friendly event called Unplugged (@unpluggedzim on twitter / fb.com/unpluggedzimbabwe) that I am involved in so that is fun too, and I try to catch up with friends and family.

SM: What do you need to know in order for you to qualify for this job?

CM: I suppose you should be able to read well first and foremost. You need to speak well and have good command of the language you would use. It is also important to keep up with what’s going on around you; so reading and watching current affairs-oriented material is also important. For radio I guess a pleasant voice is a bonus.

SM: What’s the best part about working on radio?

CM: I used to think it was not being seen but with social media these days everyone kind of “sees” you anyway, so I’ll have to go with the fact that it’s not as high-pressure as TV ...we’re pretty relaxed when we are in the studio.

SM: In what ways do you think someone aiming for a creative, media-based career can get noticed ahead of their competitors?

CM: The thing with trying to get noticed is that when you focus on that you run the risk of burning yourself out. Just do what you love and do it really well. Throw hard work and dedication into that mix and you will find that things will fall into place.

SM: You are an active user of social media platforms and the web in general for self-promotional purposes. Any tips?

CM: Self-promotional? Me? I actually try to use my social media platforms to boost other people’s brands and initiatives. But the one thing I can say is: stay true to who you are ...as long as people can identify with you and your honesty you will have the right doors opening for you via social media.

SM: Let’s talk about albinism, did it affect you in anyway when you were trying to break into the media industry. If it did, how did you prevail all the same?

CM: My lack of pigmentation (which is all albinism) has never affected my efforts to do anything in life so far, and for that I am grateful.

SM: Do people treat you differently in any setup or they treat you normally?

CM: I would like to believe that I am treated the way I treat others. No one has treated me any differently and I have never expected to be treated any differently.

SM: What is your reaction when you notice that people are treating you differently?

CM: I will let you know as soon as I notice anyone doing that.

SM: Is there any particular piece of advice you would like to impart to aspiring media professionals?

CM: All I can say is no matter what it is you want to do in life be ready to put in the hours. There are no shortcuts to meaningful achievements in life; you have to work really hard. If you want to get into Media because you think it’s easy or just fun, I can honestly tell you that it is not the industry for you at all.

SM: Anything else you would like to tell our readers?

CM: I feel it is important to point out that we live in a society obsessed with social media. Everyone is competing for attention on one level or another. As you do what you do please remember to respect an individual’s right to privacy and also realise that not everything you read about someone is true, do not judge them based on what you have not witnessed personally.

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