Interview: Kelvin Tinashe Mutize – An Exceptional Social Activist Heading for Zimbabwe’s First Noble Prize

Kelvin Tinashe Mutize Today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are speaking to  Kelvin “Terminator” Tinashe Mutize (KTM) who is a Social Engineer with a heart and passion for assisting young people living with HIV/AIDS. Kelvin’s vision is to help change the social environment for young people within Africa.

Kelvin, who is a Mandela Washington YALI Fellow, has over seven years’ experience working with the marginalized community and specifically those living with HIV/AIDS. Currently, he is the Regional Field Officer for Champions for Life, where he has helped it to branch out into more than 8 African countries, making it the largest psycho-social spiritual support program for youths living with HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa. His focus is training, administration and leading teams into South and East Africa.

On the 6th December 2015, Kelvin received the Future Africa Award in Community Action 2015 for his work with Champions for Life. He is the first Zimbabwean and one of two Southern Africans to win this prestigious award. The Future Africa Awards celebrate young people between the ages of 18 and 31 who have made outstanding achievement, and the awards are often equated to the Nobel Prizes for young Africans.

In his spare time also volunteers at Endless Possibilities where he runs the media department and programs for the disabled in tertiary institutions. He is also part of the award winning video on demand platform called TV Yangu  as well as running Tehillah Media which seeks to empower youth to build internet based start-ups. Kelvin holds a diploma in Information Technology from McMaine School of Computing, following his passion for using technology to tell the stories of people in the spheres he is already involved in.

(IMFP) Kelvin, welcome and thank you for spending time with us here at It’s My Footprint.

(KTM) Thank you Taka for having me. I am glad to be here.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself, your experience, education and path to current career status?

(KTM) My name is Kelvin Mutize and my heart is for people and music specifically Gospel music. My passion outside writing is Social Media. I currently volunteer at a program called Champions For Life as a Regional Leader and we work with children and youth living with HIV/ AIDS in Southern and East Africa.

When I’m not helping out with Champions you will find me busy working on three start-up projects that I am a part of which are Tehillah Media, TV Yangu and GospelNation. I have a Diploma in Information Technology and Business Administration. I run several blogs one of which I started around 2009. Blogging is one of the things that set me on this path to being a social engineer!

So in a nutshell Kelvin is a Social Engineer with a huge love and heart for music, media and writing.

(IMFP) Kelvin, to be where you are, you surely have gone through a lot. What new things are you busy with?

(KTM) I think we all go through a lot, just at different levels. I am currently working on several projects that will be revealed soon. Right now I am not at liberty to talk about them just yet!

(IMFP) What were some of the biggest challenges you have faced to date? How did you overcome them?

(KTM) Working with people has got to be one of the biggest challenges for me. Different personalities and learning to understand how different people work is crucial for the success of any project I am working on. Probably the second challenge I have encountered is doing projects in Zimbabwe with a little or no budget at all. You spend your days pouring your life into building your team, but as soon as they find something better they leave. My biggest challenge is working and building teams that are soon taken apart by so many external forces.

(IMFP) Kelvin, did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to, what you’re doing today?

(KTM) Yes, but mine is off rails. When I joined the worship team at church I asked a lot of questions what worship mean and its impact on people and when I couldn’t get answers I started to read a lot of information courtesy of Dr Google. One afternoon while talking with a good friend of mine Munya Bloggo, I jokingly asked him if he could teach me to create a website. After that he was on my case until I created a worship blog and before I knew it I was running social media websites and blogs,  that is in fact how I really got my start in social media. The kind of people you spend your time with is important, if they are productive and fruitful it will rub off onto you and I’m certainly one blessed guy on whom good things have rubbed off onto.

(IMFP) I understand you are a writer, let’s go into some work you have done.

(KTM) I haven’t published any books yet but I have written so many tech related, music and business articles for many different sites.

(IMFP) Did you have any key mentors or people who propelled you to be who you are, what you believe in and what you are committed to in your work and life? Share with our followers about it.

(KTM) No person is an island. Yes I have had some people who have walked with me along this journey and peers who have really helped me work around the technical things that I wasn’t able to work around on my own. Also having people who pray for you and are checking up on you to see where you are and also be able to correct and guide you is key.

(IMFP) When you think of the future of the kind of work you’ve talked about here, what gives you a sense of hope for your future?

(KTM) The world is evolving and growing more complex at the same time people are searching more and more for information and for me there is hope that the work I’m doing right now and for the future will provide much needed content in the format and manner that is convenient and will be readily available at their point of need.

(IMFP) What is the worst experience you have gone through and what lessons have you drawn from it?

(KTM) Some of my worst experiences include loosing friends and people that I had come to call brothers.

For me the lesson I learnt is that in all we do, creating relationships and moments with people we love is the best thing we can do. I’m people person and relational in nature and hence the thing that I have gotten to understand is that when someone dies or moves away the only thing that you have to remind you of them is moments you spent with them and that is what carries you through the pain of loss.

(IMFP) Last year in 2015 you went to USA on Young Leaders Fellowship. Tell us about it and in particular how it changed you?

(KTM) The Yali Program was an amazing experience for me; I was stationed at Arizona State University for 6 weeks doing my Civic Leadership Track where I was with 24 fellows from 20 African Countries who are working in different aspects of civil society.  We had class lectures, practical classes, and brain storming sessions and also got the opportunity to visit quite a number of civic organisations and business as well plus many networking events.

For me the best part started before we left as my friends and we started YaliCreatives an initiative within the Yali Program for fellows who are in the creative space. Being on the fellowship was amazing because you learn a lot as you get exposed to a lot people.

One thing that seriously changed me beside my increased work ethic was my outlook on Africa. Meeting other fellows who are doing amazing work in Africa with little or no resources made me realise that when we collaborate we reduce workload, work smarter and produce better quality work and services.

(IMFP) How do you define success?

(KTM) Being able to achieve your goals, still be happy and have people to celebrate and live life with.  For me success is all about attaining the goal and objectives God has set for me.

(IMFP) If you could spend time with someone who has attained the kind of success you are looking to reach, what questions would you ask them?

(KTM) I would ask the following questions;

  • What principles do you live by?
  • What relationships did you create or facilitated in the process?
  • What gave you strength every time you wanted to give up?

(IMFP) What social cause(s) do you support/advocate for?

(KTM) That people living with HIV should get access to social support and that we destroy stigma especially here in Africa.

(IMFP) What kind of friends do you have and how have they influenced the person you are?

(KTM) I have a lot of friends across the board, those that I spend most of my time with are in the creative space and they are always challenging me because they keep growing and taking hits and growing in stature and it forces you to grow when you work with such high flyers.

(IMFP) If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what would be your occupation?

(KTM) I would be a lawyer. LOL.

(IMFP) Who was your first hero? Are they still your hero today?

(KTM) Noah in the Bible and yes he is still my hero.

(IMFP) Financial stability, intelligence, emotional maturity and attractiveness: which would you pick if you could only have two of the four?

(KTM) Emotional Maturity and Intelligence.

(IMFP) Kelvin, what is on your playlist currently?

(KTM) Trey McLaughlin, Kirk Franklin- Losing My Religion and Benjamin Dube- Healing in His Presence

(IMFP) What impact have your career choices had on your loved ones?

(KTM) Working with Children living with HIV/AIDS and doing work in Media startups has really rubbed off on my two young brothers who are already heavily involved in most of the work that I do and seeing them branch out into blogging and cinematography is a great thing. As for my parents I see how much they care and for some of the champions that I work with. This has been amazing to see how it has stretched them to love children who aren’t even theirs biologically.

(IMFP) Are you where you envisioned you would be five years ago? Where do you see yourself five years from now?

(KTM) The thing that have seen on the growth in my life these past two years has defining who I’m and coming to a place of understanding of what manner of person I’m and  what I should become more and more. Media, training of the next generation and also I have also been fascinated with internet radio.

(IMFP) What was the last book you read and what did you learn from it?

(KTM) The last book I read was The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers. I learnt that we have to be mindful of every decision we make whether we are forced to make a quick or relaxed decision. But that all we do has consequences but it is also important how we react or warm up to the things that happen us.  I also learnt it’s important to know that people are hurting and we have to learn to speak into people lives and build up people with our words.

(IMFP) How would you describe your character?

(KTM) Craziness, trustworthy, very sociable and always happy and joyful

(IMFP) What is the craziest thing you’d like to achieve/attain?

(KTM) Bungie Jump from the Victoria Falls.

(IMFP) What characteristics do you look for in a partner, business or personal?

(KTM) Character and Faithfulness, these two are very crucial to me.Kelvin Tinashe Mutize2

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Kelvin the man! Give us a bit of your social and family life. 

(KTM) First born of three brothers, both my parents are alive and it’s great to have them support what I do. I spent most of my time with people whenever I’m free playing board games or Modern Warfare – Call of Duty I love that game. Travelling and reading books and currently I’m reading the second book of the Chronicles of Brothers by Wendy Alec.

(IMFP) Thank you Kelvin for taking time off your demanding schedule, we appreciate and value your useful advice.

(KTM) Thank you very much for having me as well.

If you enjoyed this article, share it with your close friends! 

Please share your thoughts, ideas and comments below!

© Copyright 2016 by It’s My Footprint,

Leave a Reply