Biotech-graduate on radio?

Tafadzwa Peter-Clever Tichawangana

What would an Applied Science in Biotechnology graduate want on radio? How would one find his or her way to a radio station? You have not heard anything at all until you hear Tich’s story; brilliant at sciences at school, aspiring author, originally wanted to study Literature and Medicine . . . has a mad passion for Sport but is now a sports presenter at Diamond FM. He studied in Australia, worked in Cape Town, South Africa and is now at your one and only radio station!

By Morris Mtisi

How does all this knit into one story? Read on.

MM: Welcome into my space Tich. This programme is Know Them Better. It’s my honour and privilege to host you on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.

TICH: Thanks Morris. Thanks for hosting me.

MM: Straight into business. Full names Mr Sportsman! I only know you as Tich and that was enough until today.

TICH: I was born Tafadzwa Peter-Clever Tichawangana 34 years ago. I am happily married to Ellen and we have recently been blessed with a bouncing baby boy, Kayden Chashe.

MM: Chashe, meaning ‘. . . God’s?’

TICH:  Exactly! I was born in Harare-26 January 1984. My father worked for Rainbow Hotels and was there when Monomotapa Hotel, now Crown Plaza, was opened. We thus globe trotted around Zimbabwe from hotel to hotel. From Monomotapa he was transferred to Troutbeck Hotel-Nyanga . . . then Mutare to Manica Hotel. Then it was from Mutare to Bulawayo where I briefly attended school at Milton Primary School. We were in Mutare again and I went to Chancellor Primary School and Border Hills. Before that I was at Lynette’s Creche.

MM: Oh dear me! A roller-coaster of voyages of discovery! You must have been to every school in Zim. How did your mom take these Vasco-da-Gama voyages of exploration? She must have been a woman of amazing understanding. Most women would have cried to be settled in one place.

TICH: Looking at it now, I appreciate my mom’s amazing understanding and love for my father and family. She wanted to be with dad and us obviously at the expense of personal ambitions to pursue career paths of her interest.

MM: More school-boy history?

TICH: Yes. I attended Marist Brothers . . . Nyanga Boys High School from Form 1 to 6 between 1997 and 2002.

MM: Marist Brothers . . . one of the best in Manicaland!

TICH: The best is the country those days with Mr Peter Muzawazi as school head. We competed with the real best . . . the likes of St Ignatius and Goromonzi. St Faith’s did not even say good morning to us then.

MM: Before we talk about your greatest passion . . . sporting, let us wrap up the school bit Tich.

TICH: Yes. I left the country for Australia where I studied Applied Sciences (Biotechnology) at La Trobe University in Melbourne. I graduated in 2008. I worked in Melbourne from 2008 to 2011. Then I left Australia for South Africa, Cape Town, where I worked till 2013.

MM: Now you are at Diamond FM. And I’m sure you landed on safe turf . . . sports presenter-analyst?

TICH: Absolutely. I could not have found my way here except via sporting.

MM: What do we find at the top of your sporting shelf?

TICH: Of course the most beautiful game in the world . . . football.

MM: Exactly where I wanted you? What’s so beautiful about this world’s most beautiful game Tich? I have done all I could to love it. . . I didn’t and still haven’t seen the beauty in or about this game that causes so much euphoria and hysteria.

TICH: You have no idea what you are missing Morris. The artistry, the charm and grace of digital foot-works and sheer magic in every player’s pair of legs! That makes it the world’s most beautiful game. The rush you know . . . the adrenalin that flows all over the system when watching a good game. Its real life you know . . . unlike a blockbuster movie whose thrill comes after many rehearsals. Football is real magic.

MM: Now I understand why maniacs get to the extent of committing suicide when favourite teams are beaten. But I guess that level of fanaticism . . . hero-worshipping . . . adrenalin-flow is the lowest point the human brain can go. There are much nobler things to die for than football Tich. In fact nothing is worth dying for in this world. Jesus only and only Jesus died for humanity . . .  died for us so that we live. No one else can or must die for another, for any reason, let alone for football. Is such weird excitement or emotion not demonic in a way?

TICH: Flushes of adrenalin flowing in violent gushes to the brain can block sense MM.  Remember top-flight football is big business in every sense. Enormous sums of money exchange hands in football deals and football barons are in it hook, line and sinker. Some sell cars – even houses, mansions and bungalows to service football lottos. A lot happens in football and other sports too. If you are not in it, true MM, it is unbelievable. People own these deals and its big business; no wonder the noise, sometimes violence and even suicides.

MM:  Let’s talk about some of the public salutes players make in the field of play, especially goal-scorers after doing what they are paid to do, namely slotting or banging that round thing between the posts and at the back of the net. Some kiss the ground, others point to heaven . . .  yet others make the sign of the cross. Any connection with some spiritual power somewhere? And why in football?

TICH: Football has become a strong religion to many players. And when they point to heaven or make the sign of the cross after scoring a goal, they are saying, ‘This is bigger than me. God is in it. And thank you for the graceful talent!’

MM: I am not sure any of the ‘miracles’ men or women can do with their bodies is God’s business in any way. But I have no problem believing that is what they believe . . . that it can be God’s business to enable Ronaldo or Ronaldino, Lionel Messi or Suarez to mercurially brilliant in his darting, dribbling and clinical finishing.

 TICH: We think like fans and supporters. I’m sure the players at that level feel different. They easily connect with something or somebody we cannot see or fathom. They can transform games into something bigger than games I believe. Sports persons can easily transcend into huge psychological realms that are not easily comprehended by the normal human mind. They assume attitudes and aptitudes that are un-understandable, mystical, perhaps bringing us back to the word ‘religious.’

MM: Well, I would not want to be dragged that far. Perhaps that also explains why football does not raise my adrenalin-flow or make a single strand of my hair stand on end. But there is one and only one thing I know I love around football. . . the soccer commentaries by the likes of Peter Drury, Martin Tyler and Jon Champion. Terrific commentators! I can’t resist that beautiful language. I enjoy that more than the game itself.

TICH: They call Peter Drury the football poet. Brilliant soccer commentator! When the world’s most beautiful game is in play, Drury is busy playing the game in beautiful words.

MM: Time to go time Tich. Your impression about being here on Diamond FM as a sports presenter-analyst? Where to from here?

TICH: I’M now living my dream. I’m not monolithic. I can do a lot with myself, but I’m glad am quickly finding myself. I love radio and my hope and aspirations are to be the best I can in this domain. I have learnt so much from Steve Vickers, our sports boss on radio and one day I want to be a Steve Vickers or Farai Mungazi of sorts on some international television or radio platform.

MM: Tich, this is the only space you can enjoy to say hello to your wife and family…one minute.

TICH: Hi Ellen my wife! I love you like there is no tomorrow. You have been my rock especially on this journey to radio. You walked with me. And what with the bouncing baby boy with which you recently blessed me! No words. Finally, my parents! I would not be who I am today and would not be here if it were not for you . . . Mr and Mrs Tichawangana. You have been my pillars in life. Dad, if I am half the man you are I would be the happiest.

MM: All that begins well ends well Tich! Awesome discussion! Scintillating interview! With your permission you will find this interview in The Manica Post next week-Friday.

TICH: Permission granted.

Please note that Tich played a lot of rugby, tennis, hockey and cricket as a young(er) man. He still loves these games and understands them with a wild passion to this day.  Until next week when I give you a chronicle of another Diamond FM celebrity, Enjoy radio!

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