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Inside/Out with classical musician and educationist Colbert Mpofu
June 02, 2011

Full interview with Colbert Mpofu - Read here

Describe yourself in five words?
Fun, organised, easy going, relaxed and spiritual.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
To be myself.

What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever done?
I think I've done many ridiculous things. One of them was to go down a mineshaft in Mutorashanga without any safety equipment. It was a disused mine. I wanted to see what chrome ore looks like. So many things could have happened: snakes, I could have been arrested, or it could have caved in. But it was an adventure.

Interviewer: So what does chrome ore look like?

It looks like ordinary white rock.

What is your most treasured possession?
My voice.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being incarcerated. Being taken away from yourself and everything you know. That comes with being rejected and not being tolerated. It's the worst I've ever experienced as well.

Do you have any strange hobbies?
I read a lot. I'm reading a book by Adam Carney, its about organisational and personal development and the emergence of a new world order. It talks about power and love. My last really good read was a book by Frank McCourt, who wrote Angela's Ashes, the sequel to that.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I'm perfect; I'm actually great as I am.

What is your greatest extravagance?
To spend this past HIFA watching shows. This year I saw 26 shows. I saw a lot of good shows. That to me is a great extravagance.

What have you got in your fridge?
The small fridge in the kitchen has got dog food and vegetables, then the ordinary fridge, which has all the food, then there's the deep freeze, which has meat.

What is your greatest fear?
To retire in a society that is very intolerant. I'd rather be dead than be looked after as an old man by a society like that. That's my greatest fear. It's become a strong fear and it's made me want to set myself up so that when I'm old I can look after myself.

What have you got in your pockets right now?
I've got my phone and business cards.

What is your favourite journey?
I boarded a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town, and I boarded at about four in the afternoon. We flew over the Drakensburg Mountains just as the sun was setting . . . that part was beautiful. That was a great journey. One journey I'd like to take is a drive across South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana and back into Zimbabwe. I'd also like to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. I think it would be spiritually fulfilling, reaching the summit then coming back down.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Kofi Annan, through his career in Ghanaian and then international politics. He's never lost touch with being African, and he understands Africa. I think he's a builder of the future of Africa. It would be folly on my part not to mention Nelson Mandela. I've seen him build South Africa right on our doorstep. He left behind a great Constitution, that's his legacy. Another of my heroes is Lady Gaga; she's promoting tolerance through her music.

When and where were you happiest?
I have a lot of happy memories. I think a lot of happy moments are when the music comes together. One of them was at a rehearsal with some primary school children. Just when I was about to give up on teaching the kids the song, one of the little boys said, "Sir you know what, I like this song because it makes me think about how I'm going to sing."

What's your biggest vice?
It can be difficult for me to forgive.

What were you like at school?
I was average. I had a lot of friends, but I was very ordinary. I did what boys do.

What are you doing next?
We can have lunch.

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