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Inside/Out with Precious Shumba, Harare Residents' Trust
July 08, 2011

Full interview with Precious Shumba - Read and listen

Describe yourself in five words?
I'm an honest and controversial person.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
That I need to stay out of trouble.

What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever done?
I've done a lot of very silly things, but I guess one was to go out with a woman who was six years older than me. I enjoyed it.

What is your most treasured possession?
My God.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
To be without friends is something that I consider to be the lowest, not knowing where you'll get your next meal, not having clothes.

Do you have any strange hobbies?
Sometimes I want to be alone and do nothing.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I like the way I look.

What is your greatest extravagance?
I love action, investigative books.

What have you got in your fridge?
Water and beef.

What is your greatest fear?
I fear losing what I treasure most, my faith. I'm also afraid of losing myself in trivial issues.

What have you got in your pockets right now?
My flash stick.

What is your favourite journey?
My journey toward becoming a journalist. I had always wanted to know and understand how or why things happen. It started a long time ago while I was still in school and I would write a few lines about what I had observed about people or my surroundings. After school I asked myself what I wanted to do, and I realised the only thing that would satisfy me would be to train as a journalist. I started working as a journalist without any qualifications. In my career I worked for Sandawana News and the Manica Post and was trained by the editors I worked under. It has been exciting. I only got my qualifications in 2000, so I consider myself as a very successful journalist because I started writing without the necessary papers and I earned my papers because I was working.

Who are your heroes in real life?
I have always admired the late Edgar Tekere. I had time to get to know him in Mutare and I found him very exciting. He shared a lot of stories about the real politics of this country. I also admire Dr Sebastian Bakare, the former Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland. He has given me guidance and acted as a sort of rudder in my life. The other person who is my hero is my wife, Constance. She has stood by me throughout my trials. Initially she was afraid, but I'm encouraged by her transformation into someone who is courageous, that has also helped me find my feet and my direction in life.

When and where were you happiest?
On my wedding day. We had organised a very small thing. I didn't know there were so many people in my community who were following up on me. I really enjoyed myself; most of what we had at the wedding came from people in the community who felt that I deserved happiness.

What's your biggest vice?
I can't keep my opinion to myself, when I see things and they are not right I will always want to look beyond that and speak out. I don't hesitate to share my views. I don't believe in trying to please people, I believe in being honest.

What were you like at school?
I was very mischievous. I grew up to want to defend myself and what I believed in.

What are you doing next?
I am working toward building the institutional capacity of the Harare Residents Trust. And expanding its capacity to become a national residents body.

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