Who is Mthombeni?
My full name is Catherine Mthombeni and was born in Harare on the 29th of August 1984 in a family of three girls and a boy. I'm the first-born and have to set a pace for those who come after me.
Can you give me your detailed academic background?
Well ah! Yeah! I started my primary education in Harare at Thomlson Primary School from Grade One to Seven. I then proceeded to Form One up to Form Six at Daramombe "Christ" the King that was 1996-2000. Currently I am at Midlands State University completing my Degree in Media and Society Studies.
What is art and how do you relate it to media?
Art is a form of communication that can be literary, visual, dramatic and musical. It can be performed in an open space where the community members can celebrate with the artist. Art is a vehicle that perpetuates the culture of the society that is the totality of the people in a given space. It is a social cement that keeps the society in solidarity and bound together. It enhances language and transmits the norms and values. Media are used as the means to perpetuate and promote arts. It enables a multiplicity of views to circulate among the community members.
In your family who do you emulate and why?
Not any one in particular!, but had to achieve what had not been achieved by anyone in the family. Through zeal and determination together with the global atmosphere that we are living in, I had to develop the attitude of hard working and the result have been achieved. What contribution do media give to art discipline?Both the print and electronic media give wide coverage of stories, acts, artistic shows and columns that disseminate culture to the entire society. Such programs help the artists to realize their weaknesses and improve them. Media also makes artists to be popular celebrities. Media assist artistic products to be marketed at a broader scale. Media help in the wrapping of the message in a manner that will make the audience to like it.
What does it take to meet NAMA qualities?
Ah! That is a coaxing question, anywhere talking from experience there are a lot of things that have to be improved. Craftiness in writing the stories, competence in handling language, effectiveness in putting ideas across and having the taste of arts, l suppose is all what it takes for someone to emerge as the NAMA nominee. Criticizing artist, albeit that at times it sours relations and helps the artist to know their strengths and weakness.
Do you think Midlands State University (MSU) is an institution which contributes to arts, if so how?
Yes it does extensively. Programs like musicology, African languages and Culture, and Media studies are the programs offered at MSU and impart skills and knowledge that are artistic in form. Many MSU products have started recording studio in most urban centers and have recruited many intern students for attachment.
What do you think is lacking in Zimbabwe in promoting artistic talent?
Currently, in Zimbabwe there are a lot of problems that the arts industry is encountering. Lack of money to purchase instruments a major challenge. Funding is another problem that this industry is facing, unlike in other developed countries where such disciplines can be state funded or sponsored by big companies. In Zimbabwe it seems that it will never happen. Only if we can get more programs like the "Chibuku Road to Fame.
Who inspired you to pursue the arts?
Well l cannot tell where exactly l got the inspiration from, but what l can say is that l like listening to music and reading novels. At The Sunday News, l got lured to the entertainment desk.
Do you think the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) needs to be hailed for facilitating NAMA, and why?
Yes! Like in my case the award is my first achievement time to be recognized by NACZ. I am happy that l was the first person to attain that award as a woman. Secondly, it encourages journalists writing stories to work hard by rewarding them accordingly, depend on their abilities. NAMA Award encourages journalist to write arts stories. Respecting media as a discipline and giving recognition is something that needs to be hailed.
Whom do you want to thank In the Media studies department and why?
General l would like to thank all my lecturers who contributed immensely by nurturing my skills and writing talent. However, special thanks goes to Mandava the Media Chairperson for the message that he gave us when we were going to an attachment. Not forgetting Oga Ndoro who taught me the craftiness of writing the stories.
Any words of encouragement to the NAMA Award aspiring individuals?
Yes! They should not write expecting to win the NAMA Award, but all the same have to write competently and effectively to whet the appetite of the reader. Determination, zeal and hard work is all what it takes to scoop an award. Craftiness and good handling of language is a prerequisite. Anywhere in journalism if you cannot handle language properly you automatically do not qualify to be there.