One on one with Robbie Rob
He is one of the people who put up a solid foundation for the Botswana’s first commercial radio station.
He moved up the ladder at Yarona Fm and later Duma Fm until he bowed out of radio.
Today, Robin Chivazve runs a successful company. In this interview, he opens up to The Voice reporter, Daniel Kenosi about his life in entertainment business and his family.
Q: Long time Robin, how is life on your side?
Life is good and I am the happiest man in Botswana, well that was until Liverpool lost yesterday but I am ok.
Q: What makes you to be the happiest man?
It’s all about having a sense of fulfilment and waking up every day to do what I feel like doing. I set myself targets on everything I want to achieve so that’s where the happiness comes from
Q: We last heard of you when you were still on radio and you just vanished from our speakers. What are you doing now?
I actually take pride in treating myself as a street hustler. We all have phases in life and there is that time you want to put your destiny in your own hands and stop relying so much on others.
Relying on others in this case I am referring to people who employ you. In 2009 I took the decision not to queue up for pay slips and since then I have been trying to develop my business and myself as an entrepreneur.
Q: I understand you are one of the people who started Yarona FM. Please share more with us
It was one of my first jobs and my primary job was to lead the team given that I had experience because I had worked on an on-campus radio whilst at school.
I had been an on air presenter for about four years whilst in Cape Town and most of the guys who were aspiring to go on air were rookies so I had to be there and monitor all.
One of the things I remember is that when we started that radio station a lot of people were used to the government radio and it was a taboo to take a microphone and air your views as you pleased.
Yarona FM came in and we wrote history books because that is when people started noticing that there is freedom of expression.
Q: What are your views on radio today?
I have to be honest. I feel slightly disappointed because I feel we have not groomed enough talent.
We need to start making that a priority. We have listened to a lot of talented radio presenters who are now legends; but now it seems no one is concerned about maintaining the same standard.
We can’t call Luzboy from retirement to come and revive radio.
We have to have someone better or matching his talent,always.
Surely there is someone who is more talented than me and many other guys who have been here before so we need to standup and unearth talent.
Q: What exactly do you do now that you don’t queue for pay slips?
I now run an event management company called Ventura. I run it with my lovely wife.
It has been on for about ten years now but for about five years it was just a part time company until we decided to give it all our attention.
We do what we call event based promotion and management.
Q: You were involved in many controversies whilst you were still at Duma FM. Were you dying for attention?
I think I am a guy who has accepted that if you are in the media then you must take all the publicity either good or bad. I had a job to do as a consultant at Duma FM.
My main focus was to rescue a sinking ship and I believe we managed to get the business afloat.
They had no direction as a radio station and with no direction you obviously wouldn’t know who you are talking to.
Now getting to your controversy question, I wasn’t seeking any attention and like I said, I was rebuilding that station so my hands were bound to become greasy and oily.
You can’t rebuild a car engine and just come out still clean.
Q: Are you confident that the radio station you built will stay afloat after your departure?
That’s a tricky question but all I can say is that with right management it will surely stay up.
I just hope the management will have the same ideas that I had but all I can say is that for radio to be successful you need to have a radio person behind it.
Someone who is experienced in it has to be there.
Q: What does it really take for one to be in the promotions business you are in?
Promoting goes way beyond booking venue and an artist.
There are so many elements that people underestimate tremendously because they are not thinking about how you need to protect your reputation as a promoter as well as anyone’s reputation who is aligned to your business.
People tend to think that it’s about setting up an event and once done you take back your money and fold your arms.
This is a lifelong commitment with very little money so what’s missing is attention to detail.
COSBOTS is busy charging promoters for organizing festivals.
Q: What’s your reaction to that?
I will be honest. When COSBOTS first came out, I was not happy because it was too sudden.
The COSBOTS levy was so huge and shocking compared to the business we do which is of playing with numbers.
At the end of the day we had to absorb all that and even engaged COSBOTS.
Now we have a very good relationship with them. Compliance is the only route to take.
Q: Have you extended the family?
Yes. We have a small girl called Samantha.
We are expecting another one in September and that will be my last child.
Q: Why does it have to be the last child?
I have an interesting view on this and my mother is not impressed at all.
I think the modern family has problems with time unlike when our parents were raising us back then.
We are a very busy generation. Children need so much time for one to nurture and build a relationship with them.
I think its very unfair to bring children on earth and have no time for them.
With all challenges of being hustlers you will be lying to yourself if you could tell me that you can raise more than two children.
Q: You have retraced your steps to Yarona FM please share more
Yarona FM is my home and as you said, I was one of the first people who saw it growing so I was bound to go back home at one point.
Any child can leave home to hustle but they will always come back to daddy’s house.
I also had so many requests from fans who said they missed me.
I do a Thursday night show called RR&D which stands for Robi-Rob and Dollar Mac.
It’s for guys who miss the old days when we used to have fun and clubbing was tops.
On that show I just focus on taking you back to the days.
Q: You have so much in your plate. Are you greedy?
If I was greedy I’d be on prime time slot.
I feel like if I had to go back on prime time shows tomorrow youngsters would have hard time dealing with me.
The reason I took a Thursday night show after all shows are done is because I absolutely believe that guys deserve their chance.
I have done it all, from being a presenter up to being a manager.
I am greedy for success because I am hungry.
The day I lose my greediness I would have lost my motivation.
Q: When are you going back to Zimbabwe?
I am here to stay. My family is here and I think it’s time I apply for citizenship.
I want to be a Motswana and I know some people may be angry that I am here, well too bad I am here to stay but I will always be proud of my Zim roots but time has come for me to settle here.
Q: Thanks for your time Baba. What’s good for the weekend?
I am in love with my little girl so most of the time I am just home with her.
If you have a child Dan always ensure that the little time you have away from work is for him or her.
Enjoy your weekend buddy.