Bishy Mmusi reminisces of yesteryears of Radio
Tucked away in the woods about 10 kilometres from the Game City mall in Gaborone along Lobatse Road is a place called Crocodile Pools. In this place there is modest house, which might look ordinary to many.
But this house is not home to an ordinary man. It is home to a man who has been rocking the country’s airwaves for some four decades and is counted amongst the best broadcasters ever produced in the country.
Where Bishy Mmusi has decided to spend his life after retiring is a clear indication that he has done his part in broadcasting and is done with city life.
The Voice recently spent quality time in the woods with the veteran broadcaster to take us down memory lane and talk us through the road he has travelled as a broadcaster.
How it all began
It was in 1967 while he was studying at Swaneng Hill School in Serowe that young Mmusi got a holiday job at Radio Botswana (RB). Little did he know that this ‘piece’ job was the beginning of his career as a broadcaster. When he finished his secondary two years later he was called by the powers that be to come and join the radio station as a full time employee.
“I was not aware that I had made a positive impact while I was doing the piece job and it never occurred to me that I was to spend my working life on radio,’’ he said.
Mmusi accepted the offer and began his journey as a broadcaster.
When he joined the radio station he was an all rounder – newsreader, announcer and continuity presenter.
Since he had no formal education in broadcasting, in 1971 he was sent to the United States to get more exposure of the field and had a chance to mix and mingle with her peers from all over Africa.
However as a young man who was yearning for more education, he temporarily quit his job and went back to the classroom. He went to the University of Lesotho to study humanities and later went to Canada where he came back with an Honours Degree in Journalism.
Upon arrival back in the country in 1979 he rejoined RB as a programmes producer and News Reader. He also specialized in covering Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) issues, covering almost all presidential visits especially in SADC countries.
“I covered SADC issues for almost 10 years working with the late former presidents Seretse Khama and Sir Ketumile Masire. My job as a broadcaster specializing in the SADC issues was also to educate Batswana about SADC and its mandate. I was also the SADC media coordinator and all the appointments for journalists came through my office,’’ said Mmusi as he rewinded his yesteryears.
After broadcasting for 28 years, in 1997, Mmusi decided to hang his microphone and earphones.
“I had done my part in broadcasting and the job was no longer challenging, thus I decided it was time for me to quit.”
But then Mmusi says he experienced intellectual loneliness, which forced him to back to school. He enrolled with the Rhodes University to do Masters in Journalism and Media studies but before he could finish it, he found his way back into the media world. As they say, ‘you can’t keep a good man down’, the newly establish Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) needed his services. He joined BTA as Director Broadcasting Regulation. He once opted for retirement, and that was in 2006.
Not for long though. Two years later, he was back where he started, though at a posh and hectic Mass Media Complex. It was 2008 when he was appointed adviser for Radio Botswana and Botswana Television, a job that he did for 14 months before he finally decided enough was enough for him in as far as broadcasting is concerned.
“I miss the newsroom, it was a place full of life, a place to work hard and play hard. I miss my days as broadcaster, I long for the time I spent with BTA,’’ says Mmusi quickly adding that he is however happy that for him his days as a broadcaster were well lived.
Life after broadcasting
The 65 -year old veteran broadcaster, who is due for old age pension in December 10, says he is re-inventing himself as a taxi man.
He has bought four 300SE Mercedes Benz cars, which should be hitting Gaborone roads soon as luxury taxis.