The CNBC Africa News anchor Bonney Tunya speaks to us about doing his job well, being a man and fatherhood.
I assume most of the work you do is live. Whether it is a TV show, news reading or moderating speakers at a conference. That means a lot of pressure to be perfect each minute.
How do you do it?
I read a lot, there is nothing preparation cannot beat, I get nervous when I am not familiar with a subject, and so to beat that, I read everything! It also helps to have a bespoke suit on.
I know you have a voice, and that your voice counts, you must believe this too. Are you confident that you are doing the best with your space and your voice?
I am happy with where my career is, but it certainly is nowhere near where it should be, I am a dreamer, I chase dreams. Look, I am passionate about convening conversations that are forward looking and offer solutions, and I am grateful that I have been privileged through my job to do that... but there is always more I could do.
Quality journalism is getting rare each day. Do you worry about quality of the work in the industry?
Our trade is under constant threat, everybody wants to be the first to break the news, and with that, we have fewer verification processes. The digital revolution has certainly changed how we tell stories...this however need not be a threat. We (journalists, and especially media managers) have to be custodians of good journalism. Also there is too much generalization, for example journalists cannot openly critique issues they don’t agree with.
What exactly does quality at work mean to you anyway?
Quality work is when a journalist doesn’t take their audiences for granted.
You must have wrangled with a subject (interviewee) at work or just a regular wrangling situation in your personal life. How do you how do you handle a situation that is spiraling out of control?
I never let my interviews/opinions get personal in my line of duty, no matter how close a subject is to me or how emotionally invested I may be. But internet trolls are common and I have had to block a few on social media platforms.
You have interacted with (at close quarters) President Paul Kagame and you have interacted with President Uhuru Kenyatta, how would you compare the two men, as men, not as politicians?
Working as a news anchor for a continental news network, my job allows me to interact with the continent’s leaders, something I don’t take for granted. So, I have had a chance to interview these two leaders, President Kenyatta is easier to talk to in person, very unassuming and has a clear understanding of issues than we would want to imagine.
President Kagame comes off as a father whose every minute is invested in wanting the best for his children. He is very self-aware as well.
What part of your work do you find most fulfilling?
Telling a good story, when someone in the crew walks up to you to say “that was a good show”.
Most men want to be good men. A great deal of them don’t know how. What does being a good man mean to you?
A good man pays the rent! But really, being able to challenge yourself to be better.
You are a husband. From your perspective, what does that mean?
Being a husband is a tough job (laughs). It means a lot of things; it means trying to guess your wife’s size when buying her something, it means giving leadership to your family, it means always having a plan.
What kind of parent are you (or would you like to be)?
I think I am an easy dad, a little overprotective though.
If you ever have a son, will you teach him how to shine his shoes?
I have two of the world most beautiful little girls... If I were to have a son, I wouldn’t teach him that.
There are plenty of shoe shiners who need to make an honest living. I clean my shoes on my way to the office. Plus, dark tan comes in like five different shades nowadays.
Most successful young men and women kind of drop friendships on their way to the top. You are at the top, or near the top, has your understanding of friendships changed from when you were in your mid to late twenties?
I have definitely lost and gained friends, that’s just how life is , while it’s great to keep your circle, you need friends who are going where you are going... but still there are those stubborn ones who stayed.
If you were offered a chance to change one thing about your life, either in the past or at present, what would you change?
My bank account balance.
Just a guess, you are born-again right? Is it burdensome to walk with Christ as a young man?
It’s difficult to be a man of faith in the corporate space, your beliefs are constantly challenged.
Number of children: Two girls
Most important possession: Cheese (in my fridge)