Nothing wrong for interviewee to use preferred language
Published On February 1, 2014 » 3838 Views» By Administrator Times » Features
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TV - XavierTHE appearance of Zambia skipper Christopher Katongo on ZNBC Sunday interview last week has sparked further debate on the use of the preferred language of the interviewee during interviews on television.

Last week I discussed the proposed introduction of the use of the local language as a medium of instruction in schools and how it has been received with mixed feelings by teachers, parents, community and the learners themselves.

From the discussions around, away from the political realm which is not my area of specialty, there seems to be an agreement though that our local languages have been thrown through the window all in the name of embracing modernity.

That, as well as the notion that the mastery of the English language, be it orally, is a symbol of status.

Haven’t we seen it on public transport someone conversing with a child in English for the public ears but quickly reverting to vernacular when no one is listening?

Well, that is a topic for another day. Today I strictly want to look at use of a preferred language of the interviewee during an interview considering it is one of the yardsticks of the very basics of journalism training school interviewing techniques.

Most sportsmen and women get caught up on the wrong end of the unfair demand of language proficiency, not least Zambian footballers who are the biggest newsmakers on local television, let alone print media and radio stations.

When Chris was being interviewed on Sunday, social media doomsayers went viral about the few grammatical errors he made and I was left wondering why everyone went abuzz about the negative side of the interview, ignoring the positives.

Make no mistake, Katongo is among only a few Zambian players who can speak the Queen’s language fluently even in front of intimidating television cameras where most people would fail to recite their own names.

As journalists, we ought to be fair to our athletes.

In as much as English is our official language, these comrades do not need to be masters in it to excel on the field of play.

All they need is some form of communication among themselves on the pitch.

Perhaps it is the reason some of us extracted scoops from athletes because we always approached them as sources of news who should be made very comfortable in their preferred language to get a better story, lest they tell you they don’t speak to the media.

While everyone was busy waiting for Chris to make a mistake, nobody noticed the content of the interview which importantly endorsed the appointment of Chintu Kampamba as assistant national team coach.

For me that is a huge statement coming from the team skipper because when everyone was dismissing Chintu due to his lack of qualifications, I was waiting for the reaction of the players, most of whom are his peers and immediate past teammates. So Chintu it is!


Last Saturday I watched ‘Let’s Explore’ presented by veteran broadcaster Caristo Chitamfya who is a refreshing presence on ZNBC. Just the presence of such people on the screen makes me sit up to watch expecting a flawless package.

On that particular programme, however, Caristo, who featured 2014 Ncwala ceremony organising committee chairperson Noel Nkoma, to discuss preparations for this year’s event left a few gaps in his production.

I noticed that while Mr Nkoma was answering questions, file pictures discussing last year’s ceremony kept coming on the screen obviously to put the viewers up to speed on what was being discussed but what the producers neglected to do was to phase out the volume from the file clips.

As a consequence, both Caristo and Mr Nkoma’s voices were drowned in the chanting of the Ngoni people led by Paramount Chief Mpezeni, Chief Madzimawe and others at their coveted Mtenguleni palace.

It felt as if the interview had ended and we were now sampling what the ceremony offers. There I was marveling at the young Impis dancing.

Overall I was awe struck by the wealthy cultural heritage my country boasts of.

Viewers would also have loved Mr Nkoma to discuss, among other things, the actual events at the ceremony like the ceremonial relocation of Chief Mpezeni from his Pindukeni palace to Laweni at Mtenguleni.

It would also be nice to explain why Nkosi ya Mankosi spears a bull and drinks its raw blood, the symbolic meaning of his traditional animal skin attire, why the skin of that particular animal and why the women bare their upper bodies during the cerebrations.

Since I started watching Let’s Explore which is sponsored by the Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB), I have been educated about the fact that Zambia has more tourism sites to showcase than just the traditional Victoria Falls.


There are two times of the day when no one touches the remote in my household; when Manchester United is playing and when Mr Bean is showing.

My children literally stop me from whatever I am doing when my programmes start.

Last week the Thin Blue Line Inspector Raymond (Rowan Atkinson) busted a Bank hold up by delivering pizza to the masked hostage-takers whom he thought were students doing a RAG week prank. You should have seen his face when he took of their masks!

The DSTV platform has been refreshing the last few weeks for us the old school action movies lovers who have been able to catch up with Jean Claude Van Damme’s good old movies.

We were treated to Arnold Schwarznegger’s Terminator Sc Fi series, Denzel Washington doing the rounds too.

That is the hallmark of television catering for us the old, the middle aged, the young and the kids’ stuff too.


From the mailbag, I got the response below from ZNBC Corporate Affairs Manager Masuzyo Ndhlovu;


Hi! this is the first time we are interacting since you came on board.

We now respond to issues raised in last week’s TV Review show.

1. Sorry to the contributor who missed His favaourite On Air programme. On Air is now aired on Thursday’s at 18:00 hours and repeated on Friday’s at 11:45 hours on ZNBC TV1.

2. We have a DVD copy for your contributor who missed the show were we featured our Director General Chibamba Kanyama, furnish us with more details of how we can deliver a copy of the show to him.

3. We have taken note of all areas raised in the previous column on matters relating to ZNBC.

Thanks and continue the hard work.

Masuzyo Ndhlovu

Thanks mate. Let’s keep it interactive on

[Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone provided by Airtel Zambia.]

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