POPULAR radio personality and Master of Ceremonies, Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa took social media by storm at the weekend after gracing YouthConnekt Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
Ruvheneko felt honoured to emcee at an event where every African country was represented in form of ambassadors, youth ministers, business leaders, donors, activists, the unemployed and the employed among others.
Zimbabweans from across the globe joined the rest of the continent in praising Ruvheneko for a job well done at the conference.
On her return to Zimbabwe, Ruvheneko spoke EXCLUSIVELY to H-Metro about her experience:
QUESTION: How did it all begin? Take us through the journey that landed you the MC role
ANSWER: When I was invited to MC and Moderate, I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of the event, as I had never attended before. On arrival in Kigali the day before, I quickly got the message and full picture through the movement and preparations on the ground, and the number of delegates arriving in their thousands. I was honestly in awe.
Q: Having a popular leader like Kagame address the gathering, what role did/does politics play?
A: Politics, as much as some arguments on youth development try to bypass it, politics cannot be fully avoided. Policies can only be changed through politics. Trade or bilateral relations can only be encouraged through politics. Movement between borders is political. Quotas, age restrictions, gender gaps and most opportunities are addressed by politics. So having His Excellency Paul Kagame address the gathering was both relevant and inspiring.
Q: What do u think helped you get the assignment ahead of potential rivals from the continent?
A: I don’t know. I just know it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with God.
Q: How do u describe the experience on the eve of the event?
A: On the eve of the event, we had meetings at the venue, with the organisers and the panellists. They say ‘when in Rome do as they do’ so it was important for us all to be walked through expectations, protocol and a few dos and donts. The respect and adulation for President Kagame is contagious. He is a man of high standards and excellence; this was clear.
Q: How do you describe the experience on the day?
A: I can tell you that I had fun. The crowd was electric. The delegates came hungry for the Summit, the speakers were well-prepped, the President was fully engaged and honestly, I didn’t notice where the 5 hours went. Naturally, as I walked onto the stage, my heart was beating in my hands! But as soon as the mic was on, I was ready.
Q: What were the major highlights from the event?
A: Highlights would be meeting people like Drogba, Patoranking, my first boss ever called Fred Swanker- what a pleasant surprise- the Vice President of NBA Africa Amadou Falle, oh the list could get long. But there is magic in connecting with souls. Even the delegates who came to me to connect further beyond the event; those were my highlights.
Another unexpected highlight was the CEO and Founder of MaraPhone, Ashish Thakkar giving me a brand new MaraPhone for free. That was after President Kagame asked me if the selfie we took together was with a MaraPhone and I said, “no sir.” Mr Thakkar who was in the audience then offered me one. Spontaneous and truly thrilling!
Q: What avenues have been opened by this event?
A: We will see!
Q: Overall, what are the takeaways for you
(a) as a Zimbabwean youth
(b) As a journalist ?
A: What I took away from this event is more on the behind the scenes that I was privy to. The preparation that goes into such a production is nothing quite like I’ve experienced anywhere else. The team works tirelessly – even the communication before I landed in Kigali was frequent, fluid and very clear. I have learned some invaluable lessons on what goes into such a production of that magnitude. We cannot ignore too, their formidable infrastructure; Kigali Arena and Kigali Convention Center Ade simply world class, clean and fully functional. It was easy for Rwanda to shine; vane zvinhu zvavo.
11) Where to from here for Ruvheneko?
A: Wherever God says I must go.