By Hellen Venganani
23rd woman I celebrate is Tariro Makanga
We started interacting virtually on Facebook as far back as 2015/2016 and she became my dear Facebook sister. However, we only met physically and briefly at the beginning of this year.
Tariro is a Communications Specialist who trained as a Broadcast Journalist and has a private media company. I will call her the Queen of Talk shows. She once worked with Tsitsi Mawarire on the radio show Perspectives.
Tariro then started a Talk Show Titled Youth Connection as a young person. Her first episode, which was sponsored took her at Mashambanzou in the late 90’s, when AIDS was visible in the country.
That was her first encounter with a person with AIDS. She was initially scared and traumatized, but her passion for the field of HIV and AIDS and development work developed off after the Mashambanzou visit.
Over the years, the show has been transforming, from Youth Connection to Perspectives, from Perspectives to Positive Talk (with the last two titles being SAfAIDS shows with Tariro as the face of it). Positive Talk expanded beyond Zimbabwe and started running in Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi and Mozambique with a lot of success.
The show has now transformed to The Talk with Tariro, currently airing on ZTV. Even though the names changed, Tariro continued to cover HIV and AIDS issues, and broadened to include other health and socio-development issues, with a special bias on women and children.
She has interacted with Chikurubi female prison inmates and men who have survived rape. Tariro has also interviewed HIV champions in Zimbabwe who have helped in de-mystifying the stigma attached to HIV through disclosing their status.
Key voices like Tendayi Westerhof, Angeline Chiwetani, the late Lynde Francis and Martha Tholanah.
She was Head of Media, Marketing and Public Relations at SAfAIDS for over a decade.
As a Communications Specialist, she has implemented communication programmes across East and Southern Africa, working with the media to amplify voices around different issues related to HIV, gender, sexual reproductive health rights, comprehensive sexuality education amongst other issues.
Tariro mentors young women and boys and is proud to see some of her mentees now occupying global positions in the development sector.
Her work has been recognised over the years as she is a multiple award winning communications person.
In 2016, Tariro won the Inspirational Woman of the Year award from the Zimbabwe Women’s Awards (ZIWA) in London. She also received an accolade as the Best Human Rights Female Journalist of the year in Zimbabwe in 2015, in recognition of her work in advancing the cause of disadvantaged communities.
Tariro was instrumental in launching the Journalists against Aids, (Ja-Aids (programme in Southern Africa. She has also worked with the Federation of African Media Women of Zimbabwe, Famwz, where she pioneered key gender, human rights and HIV and Aids related advocacy strategies that enabled media practitioners in the country to effectively mainstream these issues in their reportage.
Tariro has also been Director of Ceremonies across Southern Africa. She was also a National AIDS Council Board member. She is a Board Member and Shareholder of the newly licensed Channel D TV.
Tariro holds a BA in Media Studies, MA in Mass Communication, MBA, and is on her final lap of a Doctorate in Business Studies.
I foresee her also contributing to the academic field as Dr Tariro Makanga.
At one time, she was a part-time lecturer with the Zimbabwe Open University under the Media Studies programme.
Tariro is also a lover of fashion which saw her setting up House of Tari, a fashion outing that hires out ball gowns and outfits for special occasions.
So help me appreciate the Queen of talk shows for raising awareness on HIV and AIDs, youth and women issues. I also celebrate her as a businesswoman and professional.
I celebrate her even more for her humility because despite her successes, she is still a down to earth woman. I wish her well in the final lap of her PhD studies.
I appreciate you vakoma Tariro for being a source of inspiration to me and others.