Napoleon is one of the leading men of the media industry. Youthvillage caught up with him on Zimbabwe Defence Force’s Day in an interview. Here is what he had to say.
Q. Tell us about how your journey in media began?
A. My Journey in media began
In Television, I was doing production at Celebration Media I was part of the leadership team that helped set up Celebration Media. I was involved in all the sectors of the media, presenting, voice-overs, editing, directing and Mc’ing. Then fate would have it I ended up at a wedding where I was MC’ing the first half of the wedding with Tich Mataz as soon as I was done we spoke after and he said,” You are really good! Take my number we talk after.” Tich Mataz is the one who encouraged me to audition for Starfm at its inception.
Q. Tell us what have been the highs and the lows in working in media?
A. Some of the Highs were
When your learning and your growing. You can see it in the compliments in the team the support from the more senior members at the radio station. Reaching your goals, I set a big target for myself to one day reach the breakfast or drive time show. I set a goal that in 5 years I will get to my goal of reaching the breakfast or drive time show. The biggest shows on radio. By GOD’s grace, I made it in 3 years which was such a big achievement. I was now doing the breakfast show with Nikki. Then obviously the fans, there is nothing better than the feeling of having actual fans who love and listen to you all because of your work.
In terms of Lows
After I made to my goal, I went around the world to visit other top radio stations. When I saw the level of sponsorship and support systems and income that these DJs were making it felt so discouraging. That in top countries DJs have entire teams to back them up in terms of sound engineering and set up. Plus, the level of funding they get, the sponsorship is on another level, the way they take media seriously in the rest of the world made me wish Zimbabwe would do the same.
Q. You spoke highly of the importance of Church and family to you. We wanted to know more about your values and what values make you who you are?
A. MY Values are
Fear of God. Definitely. Putting GOD first
Family. I make it very clear on my platforms that I’m a family man but I try not to expose them unnecessarily. I protect my family no matter what.
In terms of work ethic. These are a lot of the things I learnt at Celebration.
Excellence and Dedication- when we began building Capitalk FM. I would put my all into my work to achieve excellence whether its training working production. I was there day and night.
Time always be timeous – I believe all broadcasters and professionals must be early for everything they do. My slogan is A broadcaster is never late.
Relationships – I have always said whether its to friends or mentee or colleagues at work that, Never Despise Anybody. Never look down on someone and say I don’t need you. Regardless of your position or theirs, you will always need people and in all my success I have learnt that relationships are key. Be good to people on your way up you will need them on your way down
Q. You have MC’d some of the biggest gigs in Zimbabwe including both presidents what’s it like being such an iconic MC?
A. It’s Been Surreal
I have been MCing since 2007 over 10 years now. I have MCd over 100 weddings. Plenty of corporate events and about 10 top government events. It’s been magnifying. I can’t believe that these events have become normal for me to do. I remember starting my first presidential events under former president Mugabe up until now where I MC’d with the current president Mnangagwa as recently as April. It’s been very special to me and I have learnt to always be myself and bring the same humour and lightheartedness to all the events I MC regardless of the guests. So even when in hosting head of states, I try to be unique by bringing in humour to the events. Respectfully, of course, we follow all protocol and titles but it’s a joy to be able to share a joke or ask the President to show us his signature dance, which most people won’t do. The amazing thing is they always find the humour in my comments.
Q. Tell us about your tree planting project what inspired that and how is that going?
A. To be honest…
I always wanted to plant a tree. As a child, we never did birthday parties, and when I was younger I wanted one but as I grew up the passion for planting trees took precedence. I imagined planting trees at all the places that made me who I am today my old school and different communities that raised me. I said if you could leave a legacy then why not? So the project was meant to just be a personal thing but it caught the wind to so many people and now I am hoping to start a culture of planting one tree every year for your birthday. Imagine if everyone planted one tree for their birthday every year for a year we could make a huge impact in our country and contribute to the climate change fight.
So I plan to plant 35 trees this year starting in September until the end of the year. Then from there on in, I will plant a tree every year for my birthday. The forestry commission is supporting me with this project and I appreciate the support this project is getting.
Q. The masterclass program you have started please tell us more about it how its been going the challenges you have faced the success and highlights so far?
A. MasterClass has been
Brilliant it has been astounding, in terms of our radio goals and objectives we have surpassed all our goals and the programme isn’t even done yet. However, in terms of financing, it has been very difficult with all that’s going on in the economy. The reason being is because this project was supposed to be a social entrepreneurship project it needed the funding of corporates. But with the situation in the country, our corporate partners who have done so much for us were unable to provide the finances needed to execute the project the way it was planned. That has been the major challenge pushing through the situation
When we had to go to South Africa to show the students the big radio stations in SA that was initially very difficult for us because we aimed to provide for everyone but we had to change that. We managed to cover the costs of planning the South African tours but needed our radio presenters to cover their transport to South Africa.
In South Africa, we had a great time tho we went to all the major radio stations and media houses in South Africa, including SABC radio and metro FM, Jozzy FM and so much more. We took our team on to the set of generations and got to watch the live filming of Muvhango. It was such an experience.
We were grateful to companies like Zimpapers, AB Communications, ZLG, Avion, Air Zimbabwe and TMC Academy in South Africa for supporting us through the course.
Q. In terms of reaching the levels of South Africa media or UK media what does Zimbabwe need to do?
A. Zimbabwe needs
A coming together of minds, a complete sense of unity will help us move our media industry. There is a lot of distrust between Zimbabwean people and the government-backed media projects, that needs to change we need each other. Then private media groups are also doing wonders but they tend to end up being individualistic, which slows down the potential of the organisation.
I remember I became a trustee for the Zimbabwe Association of broadcaster while in Zimpapers and we need more organisations of this nature that bring the industry together but it can’t be done separately from the government because legislative support is key.
Until the meetings of minds and unison of people, Zimbabwe media will struggle to grow. We need the people and the government to work together towards a united and growing media industry.
S. Thank you so much for your time we enjoyed speaking with you
A. It was a pleasure speaking to you