Interview By Nissie-Grace
Zimbo Son, real name Innocent Whande is a young Zimbabwean creative and founder of Inua Blog, which features interviews with various African people and my own interview will be my 200th. I’m a freelance writer, social media manager among many other things.
What are your hobbies/interests/talents outside of blogging?
I’m also a poet, I’ve been writing since I was 10 and I have over 400 poems to date. This year I hope to finally publish some of my work, at least 3 collections. I’m a keen cook, so I’m always experimenting with new recipes. If I didn’t study media, I would have trained to be a chef, who knows I still might. Also, I like writing stories and scripts, maybe I will publish that too one day.
What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
My most recent achievement would be my MA in Creative Writing and Publishing. That course was brutal I’m thankful I got through it.
What does a day in the life of Zimbo Son look like?
Depends on what I’m working on, but most days I’m doing research or writing up plans for my social media work. I always make sure that I have music in the background to keep me entertained.
Why did you decide to start your blog and what is the aim of your interviews?
Well, that’s a long story going all the way back to 2016. When I started my blog, it was because I couldn’t find much information online about some of my favourite artists. The ones I did find were gossip, so I thought why not interview them and get them to tell their own stories. The aim of the interviews is to inspire and empower others to follow the dreams.
Initially the blog was called Zimbo Son as it was a way of paying homage to being a Zimbabwean son. Then, October 2018 it was time to renew my domain name, but I was considering changing it. I had just started university where I met my mentor, Dr Phil (not the one you are thinking) who helped me to come up with a new name and finding a new website to host my blog. I had a list of names, but in the end Inua won. I liked its meaning, which is ‘to elevate’ in Swahili.
How do you select your interviewees?
The main criteria is they have to be African creatives and entrepreneurs as that is the chosen niche of the blog. In most cases I approach them to ask if they would like to be interviewed. Sometimes the people get in touch with me, in such cases I do my best to research about them and what they do.
Who is your dream interviewee?
I have an artist whose songs are always on repeat on my phone, Zimbabwean dancehall artist Winky D. I will interview him one day for sure.
Describe your writing process, from concept to publishing.
Great question, I start by doing my research on the interviewee, if it’s someone I don’t know about already. Then I write up their set of questions, I tailor them to focus on their work and projects. There are always general questions just to lighten the mood. Then once I get the answers back, I proofread the interview on Word. This takes at least an hour, depending on how much editing is needed. I add hyperlinks where needed, then I copy the content onto my blog. I then structure it all, choosing the category, the tags and sorting out the SEO.
I then insert the photos of the interviewee, picking which one fits where. I do any resizing needed and making sure I add alt text, this is description to help those who are blind or partially blind to know what is on the image. The final step would be to preview the interview and if it looks good, I then set the publishing time, then that’s it. This whole process usually takes 2-3 hours, I’ve got to be thorough.
How do you stay motivated?
As for how I stay motivated, I try to remember why I started this. I enjoy getting to know all these talented people and sharing their stories.
What’s your motto?
I picked up a quote by Denzel Washington’s character from the film, The Equalizer, “progress not perfection”. That’s what keeps me going.
What’s your favourite part of blogging?
I would have to say getting to know people from all over the world. It’s a privilege to be exposed to so many talented people
What do you see as the most challenging aspect of being a blogger?
Finding the motivation to keep posting and creating new content. Sometimes I get busy with other things and I neglect my blog. So, staying consistent is a big challenge.
What does 2020 mean for you and what do you hope to achieve?
2020 is all about securing the bag and growth in every part of my life.
I have so much planned, but I can’t mention all of it. What I can mention is that I have 3 collections of poetry in the works, so expect that soon.
Who are your favourite bloggers?
Well, where do I even start? I follow so many bloggers it’s impossible to choose a favourite. I will mention a few though:
Who inspires you?
My family inspires me to always be the best version of myself.
What do you want your audience to get out of reading your blog?
To be inspired by the stories and experiences of the people I’ve interviewed. To not fear following their dreams. Whether they fail or not the goal is to try and not live life wondering what if.
What would you like people to gain from reading your own interview?
An insight into why I do what I do and who I am away from blogging. I don’t mind being known for my blog, but that’s only a part of who I am and hopefully reading this will help them understand that.
How does it feel to be on the other side of the interview?
After nearly 4 years of interviewing others it’s surreal to be the one getting interviewed. I’ve enjoyed it though, it got me reflecting about a lot of things. Its fitting that my interview gets to be the 200th on my blog.