By Nicolina Simoes
Talk show host Arthur C Evans describes himself as having been a placid young man, guarded and reserved when he was younger. Now he’s one of Zimbabwe’s most celebrated television and radio show personalities. As he sat unfolding his story, his gestures grew bolder and his expressions more animated. It’s no wonder audience are so captivated by him. Fastjet sat down with Evans to find out where his love for entertaining began.
It all began with his involvement in high-school sport, where he noticed the camaraderie between team members. “Irrespective of ability or level of contribution to the team, the team spirit was infectious and provided a solid support structure for every player,” Evans explains.
This foundation of encouragement motivated him to do the same, until he became, as he put it “a cheerleader” himself and whether it was to announce an award or represent his school in the community, Evans became the chosen face and head boy of his school.
After finishing high school, he took a gap year to gain clarity on what his career path would be. One day, while perched on a chair and flipping through a newspaper, a headline caught his eye: “Become Zimbabwe’s next male supermodel”, and for the first time he considered a life of modelling.
He discussed the idea with his mother, who said, “If it’s what you really want, then give it your all.” With his mother’s support, Evans did indeed give it his all, resulting in a place in the finals. Even though he didn’t win, the momentum carried him right through into the world of entertainment.
Evans became an MC and host for events around the country, until faced with the question of ‘what next?’ Like many, he was growing tired of the unrewarding nature of the events industry in terms of remuneration and unvalued time, until his friends persuaded him to deviate from the commercial industry and take on a more fulfilling role within entertainment media.
As chance would have it, South Africa’s Top Billing TV show was holding a competition for a new host, which set Evans’ sights on South Africa. Throughout the competition, his alluring voice and debonair manner charmed the judges and, again, he made the finals and again, this opened doors for him.
Evans wanted his own TV show and the search for a co-producer brought him into contact with Trevor Ncube, Zimbabwean entrepreneur and newspaper publisher. When asked by Ncube what he would do if given a blank cheque, Evans replied, “I would be the medium of expression for all Zimbabweans.”
With his TV show on the grid, the momentum of being a regional figure and prominent star in the country facilitated his entry into the world of radio. When approached by a station, Evans was “both pleased and honoured to be a part of this team” and the Friday night slot from 7.30 – 9.00 pm, aimed at acknowledging Zimbabweans worldwide, was his.
It was an immediate success and subsequently led to the idea of a more casual Saturday morning show, ‘Breakfast with Arthur C Evans’. The show’s focus on trending topics sparked massive interest and reaction from the audience, making Arthur C Evans a Zimbabwean household name.
Asked how this impacted his outlook on life – and on Zimbabwe – Evans says, “Zimbabwe and my life are like the ever-changing nature of a chameleon, whereby whatever you are looking for, or need, can be found.”
The irony of this statement is that he also believes Zimbabwe is still in search of its identity and that while Zimbabweans have realised that they are filled with the potential to do things - for themselves, by themselves or with themselves - there is still much to be done in order to impact the world at large.
Though much has been said about the country, the next big step is for the nation collectively to become one through this ongoing evolution, in which Evans plays a vital role.
Like the metamorphosis of a butterfly – to which Evans commonly refers – both he and Zimbabwe are on the brink of remarkable change.