Interview : Susan Makore

part one

MT: How do you handle having to make decisions that conflict with your faith and belief system?
SM: The first admission I will make is that I am a human being therefore if you are a human being you are a sinner (chuckles). I am very clear that I am a sinner and I know that I will be challenged by the things of the world.
In the industry that we work in, you cannot have a black and white view about things although religion is really black and white, it is either you believe in certain principles or you do not. Because of the industry I am in, perhaps I tend to consciously compromise a lot more than I should. Let us say that it is a Friday and the Sabbath is supposed to be kicking in –it is not always possible for me to say that I cannot attend a crucial meeting even if it is after six o’clock. However my Saturdays are rarely compromised because once I am in church I am in church, whatever will find me will find me after church. The greatest thing about where I am right now is that there are so many structures in place such that if I am to do anything on a Saturday it is probably an appearance.
MT: Who mentors you and who do you listen to?
SM: Mentorship is a broad process and I think sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that it is all about a name. It can be a name but you can be mentored by a lot of people who may never know that they are mentoring you. I know a lot of people who were mentored by Oprah Winfrey but obviously she doesn’t know that she is mentoring them. There is a thinking that the mentorship process means having someone that sits you down and you talk about challenges etcetera.
I have been mentored by different people (chuckles) including Oprah Winfrey. The time we started watching TV it was more for entertainment content, there was no depth and there weren’t that many women who would sit and ask deep sensible questions. There was a time when I would say that if I could sit and ask questions like Oprah Winfrey then I would make a difference in women’s live. Growing up in a society where the voice was where it was, you would not think that a woman would have an authoritative voice.
The women I grew up watching were women like Noreen Welsh and Dorcas Chibanda, they were news readers and it was very rare to see them doing discussion programs. When I was growing up it was your Godfrey Majonga’s and Joseph Matimba’s.

“Kudzidza hakupere”

One of my greatest mentors post education whom I met when I started work and she was coming to the then College of Distance Education as a Pro-vice Chancellor was Dr Primrose Kurasha. We welcomed her into was then later to be Z.O.U. and throughout my life she would always remind me to do more “Kudzidza hakupere”.
As an open university there was always this thing that you are always supposed to be studying and she kept urging me because knowledge is power. If I am to mention anyone, I will mention her because when I left the academic world going to work as ZBC I said my passion is education and sharing knowledge at higher level like at a university and she would say “Kana uchida kudzidzisa pa university unofanira kudzidza ka”
MT: What is the key to turning promising individuals into brilliant individuals?
SM: Identifying a great talent is easy, sometimes it is doing the right things with that person so that that talent does not become wasted. The challenge is in finding ways to fine tune, horn in and preserve the talent so that it has meaning to the world.
Because talented people are difficult to manage , it is rare to find a talented person who is easy going, one who is not stubborn, arrogant and full of themselves –who believe they know everything. It because of that challenge, the fact that they are brilliant and there is always this belief that brilliant people are crazy somehow, you can’t be brilliant not have something that does not quite conform.

Brilliance does not conform.

For you to be brilliant you have to be operating outside certain constraints that put brakes on you. By definition itself, brilliance is operating outside the box. At the end of the day, even brilliant people will realise perhaps if they had done things in a certain way they would have been better.

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