YOU can describe her as sparkling, burning, glowing and radiating. She is full of life; she is bubbly, spirited and animated.
She is Prudence Gwitiro. Those who love her on radio call her Prudy or Puru.
She is 33.
“That’s how old I am and nothing changes. And I really don’t care who knows how old I am.”
We begin with the early stage of Puru’s life, the first 10 years.
“I was born at Mutare General Hospital on April 17, 1985. I am told I was very noisy when I arrived and the mid-wife who helped my mother nicknamed me Netsai.”
Puru quickly expresses dismay at the tasteless name. “It is not a nice name.”
MM: And you make a lot of that noise on radio today, don’t you?
PP: I do. Quite a lot of it!
MM: After the noise at Mutare General Hospital say 4 to 6 years . . . what happened?
PP: I attended a ZAOGA pre-school in Sakubva and Zamba Primary School.
MM: Both in Sakubva, right? Where did the American accent come from Prudy? Your accent and English make beautiful music.
PP: I was an active pathfinder in the SDA church in Sakubva where my father was an elder and my mum a deaconess. I gained tremendous courage to speak in public and confidence to say what I want. The cartoons I daily watched like a lifeline on television strongly infused this accent and all you are describing. I didn’t receive it from some elitist early childhood development institution.
MM: Oh dear, pleasant surprise! You ‘were’ SDA? Why past tense?
PP: I fell pregnant. And I’m sure you know how the SDA church is senselessly strict, tough, about such mishaps. My pregnancy was considered a calamity or catastrophe. Both my parents and church considered my mistake an abomination. I knew I had badly erred, but it was only a stupid mistake out of over-excitement that was aggravated by ignorance. But nobody listened to my story. I felt I had badly bruised my parents’ image in church and brought the whole church into irretrievable disrepute. Maybe I had. At least everybody in the church made me feel this way. So I quit the church. I was deeply hurt . . . this time not so much about the sin I had committed, but the holier-than-thau treatment I received from everybody around me. I almost seriously thought of taking my own life. I remember buying pills. I wanted to take an overdose of pills and die.
MM: Prudy let us, with your permission, change the topic and focus on radio.
PP: We can laugh about it now. Here am I now . . . brave and moving on. Life must go on. I love going out and having fun.
MM: How do you make sure you are safe within your fun out there in a world with fangs and teaming with marauding hyenas?
PP: The Ghetto (Sakubva) taught me to be thick-skinned, to be very brave’; to be a no-nonsense kind of girl. If you are weak in Sakubva, you don’t survive, I later on in life learnt. But there is also the saladish side of me, which insulates me with gentle poise and grace, feminine goodness, if you like.
MM: Puru, you present My-Health, My-Wealth on Diamond FM. How does it feel to give listeners medical or health-care remedies?
PP: I feel deeply humbled to know at the end of the day I have given someone who is not feeling well an idea and some kind of hope to recover. I also present sisters-in-charge, where I attempt to make the madam-boss-maid servant relationship healthy and anchored on mutual respect and understanding.
MM: Finally, pretty Puru, where do you think you take your listeners to, all the time you are on radio?
PP: I take them home . . . simple!
MM: Whose home Puru? Is that fair, taking listeners to your home? How do you know they are safe in your home?
PP: I do my best to give them the best, to serve everyone sincerely and compassionately. I easily switch from Ghetto to saladland in my service and give my listeners what they want.
MM: Where do you want to take radio Puru? Can your followers and fans expect the Puru sparkle at Diamond FM for eternity, or you look forward to pursuing a different career path?
PP: Tambotaurirei zve quitting? No, no, no . . . I am at Diamond FM to stay. This is where I belong. Maybe ending up in the background doing something better or different, but certainly not quitting! But, I love acting too. I may end up trying that. I have a strong, almost crazy appetite for film acting. But radio is fascinating. You think on your feet.
What an interview! Go girl go! Go Puru goo! The sky on radio is not even your limit!