The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
WHEN the Arthur Evans Show premièred on Zambezi Magic three years ago, few could have imagined that the show’s host could climb any higher.
Getting a coveted slot on DStv, Multichoice’s flagship subscription TV service where galaxies of stars collide to give audiences across the continent top class small screen entertainment, is nothing to sneeze at.
In fact, few in Zimbabwe can say they have achieved this. After the first successful season of that show, some wanted to see whether lightning could indeed strike twice and Evans, the self-proclaimed Ace in the Pack, could pull off a similarly brilliant act.
This week, on the eve of the premier of The Come Up, a web series by mobile giant Econet, Evans seems to have indeed done so. The MC, radio and television host seems to be on the eve of groundbreaking success, as he pioneers one of Econet’s forays into digital content production. Not only is he putting himself on the map, however, Evans is determined to pull up some of Bulawayo’s under-appreciated talent by the bootstraps while he climbs. Guests on the first episodes of the show include Bulawayo acolytes Babongile Sikhonjwa and Ben Chest.
“I think the most exciting thing is that it’s on a different platform. I’ve been on radio, I’ve been on TV, I’m still on TV with the national broadcaster, but this is now digital content from Econet. This is a show about people that are progressive because if you look now everyone is on their come up, people are climbing up the corporate ladder, people are on their grind and they are trying to reach that place where in their mind they’re trying to reach their point of success,” he told Sunday Life.
Even his most begrudging critics, at least those that have seen Evans on stage or on the small screen, will have to admit that Evans looks dashing in a suit and tie. On this platform however, he is keen to show a more relaxed side of himself.
“There’re multiple guests on the show and every guest shows a different stage of their come up and at the end they give advice, I also give advice or what we call an Ace Tip to help you achieve your goal. It’s still the core of me, and that is aspiration and motivational. One thing that I do look though and I’ve done this specifically, it’s not very clean cut. I dress casually because I want people to relate to me because I’m also on my come up. People say Arthur you’ve done well but I’m still on my come up. I want people to feel comfortable and natural because if you’re in a suit and tie some people don’t feel as comfortable,” he said.
Showing a different side of himself is something that the multi-talented media personality is determined to do. In addition to this, Evans, a budding businessperson in his own right, is also keen to shine a spotlight on the city’s other up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
“I really want people to see a different side of me. People see me on stage or on TV and usually when they do so I’m in a suit and tie and I’m delivering something that’s weighty. Most of my clients are corporate clients and so I want people to see I’m a regular guy that also identifies with people as well. I’m all very passionate about SMEs as well and that’s why Team Ace was also started because I’m going to be working with SMEs. I run a one-year mentorship course called DIY, Develop I Yourself. Its available to people and generally its free for people to come through and generally I give high level talk that people can then apply in their own small businesses,” he said.
But how did the show come about? Evans said even before the mobile giant approached him, the idea had already been born in his head.
“The idea was already in my head. It wasn’t in the exact same format that the show is in now. Initially it was going to be very quick conversations with one guest. Now there are basically two or three levels of guests so that you see people that are in different stages of their business.
“There’re only a few people that will say we’ve got someone that’s on a national scale and how then can we use that. Econet has also realised that and they’ve said you’re strategically placed in Bulawayo for our Bulawayo clientele. So they’ve basically said look, give us Bulawayo content and so episodes one to eight are going to be here in Bulawayo,” he said.
As a businessperson, Evans said he took a lot of inspiration from Strive Masiyiwa, billionaire founder of the company that had given him a content creation opportunity in a world that is fast going digital.
“What I have learnt from Mr Masiyiwa is that one must create an atmosphere. Don’t just focus on the core of what you do but look at everything and every immediate stakeholder that plays a direct role in every single thing that you’re doing.
When you see that other people are doing other things, don’t keep your options limited. There’re opportunities for you there. Look to add value to other people so in as much Econet has commissioned me, I’m going to add value to them because one of the conversations we need to have one of these days is how to create that ecosystem where I can now go to a corporate and say if you want national presence, it’s going to cost you this much or if you want national presence it’s going to cost you this much,” he said.