NEXT MOVE: I’m joining RTV, and here’s why I quit Royal FM job – Lumbasi 

Jackie Lumbasi. Courtesy Photo

Jackie Lumbasi, former Kigali In The Morning host and manager at Royal FM has revealed that she is joining Rwanda Television in the coming days, and has taken up a role as Editor of a regional travel magazine.

In this interview with Rwanda Post‘s Johnson Kanamugire, she shares more on her next move and why she called it quits at her former station months ago. She maintains that her resignation was a personal choice.

Below are excerpts

Fans have not heard from you since you called it quits at Royal FM. How does it feel being off air, and what have you been up to?

It feels great.

This is the longest I have slept soundly without thinking of the next morning’s radio routine.  In my season of rest, I realized that I was fully exhausted both physically and psychologically. I have had years where I would take up to 5 jobs, and whenever I would leave one full-time job, I would go straight into the next. It has been a long ride.

I am now able to take my nephew to school then I go for a morning walk, I tell you, it is refreshing. I am doing morning exercise, something I did not envisage.  Overall, I am grateful for this phase.

Are you going to discuss your next move? Rumors have it that you are joining a leading local TV, regional publications and landed high-paying gigs in the PR world.

Yes, I have been in talks with some media houses. I said yes to a role of an editor at Travel News East Africa Magazine, which is a quarterly regional magazine that focuses on hospitality, tourism, aviation, climate change and other subjects that affect or impact our readers in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is a first-time experience, I am learning a lot and enjoying myself while at it. I am also going back to TV.

Which TV, and when exactly are you starting?

I am grateful for an opportunity to join the great team at RTV (Rwanda Television) I will be starting soon as host of a weekly talk show that will feature real-life stories of how people overcome challenges to make significant contributions to their society.

We will host guests with unique stories of how they got to where they are today. That is the aim of this show that I believe will be a game-changer on our TV scene, it will be real, enchanting, elevating and truly liberating!  

Another thing that is exciting is this partnership I have entered into with a friend and a group of creatives with the aim of setting up a production studio which will also act as a podcast incubation studio.

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Times have changed, and people’s listening patterns have changed, guys want to listen to a particular voice, person or topic and they would love to find it whenever and wherever.

On the other hand, there are those with the urge to do a podcast because they feel they have a story or experience to share, for such people we will offer professional assistance and help them record and upload their podcasts online.

We already have a few people making inquiries, the team that is availing itself to make people’s dreams a reality is a great team of creative thinkers and writers, video and photographers and skilled communicators.

We cannot wait to start someone off on a journey to get their voice heard. I feel it will be a good way to use my years of experience in media to help other talented people rise. These are some of the things keeping me busy for now.

Those who are keen on tuning into your former station noticed the restructuring that ensued your departure, did you see that as an attempt to undo what you built? How did you feel about it?

Leaving my former station was a personal choice. I often say one is better off resigning than being fired from a job because the former means, there was a bit of thinking and planning that went into that, so someone is okay wherever they are or wherever they are going.

I am happy that those who left after me, did so on their own accord. It would have hurt me so much if I woke up one day to news of anyone of them being fired because I worked with good people. I saw a number of them committed to growing the business and so it would have broken my heart.

I would not describe it as undoing, we need to appreciate that anyone who gets into a position of leadership will need their trusted foot soldiers. These people could be sourced within or without. When you get into a job you give it your best, that will be your legacy, what happens in your absence whether good or bad, will be someone else’s business and their credit to take.

Jackie Lumbasi in the studio. Courtesy Photo

How would you describe your farewell: A fallout or normal transition?

How do I describe that?  I resigned from managing the station several months before leaving entirely. At the point of departure, it was up to me to choose to persevere and go with whatever changes that were being made without questioning or ask questions and be at loggerheads with the business owners.

I chose to leave because as a loyal servant I have never belonged to the group that watches as things happen, I am always part of the team that makes things happen. When it comes to work, I love to thrive not simply exist.

Looking back at your journey as a woman in media, what is your biggest achievement, and what would you do differently?

As a media professional, every area I have served in I’ve had male colleagues. I got into those positions on merit not based on gender. Together with several male colleagues I have had the pleasure of creating breakfast shows that were the epitome of edutainment.  I do hope my time in the media inspired other females to join, compete and excel.

There is nothing I would do differently though I would say there is need to create room and push more females into the decision-making positions in media, with that maybe women will enjoy supportive and inclusive work environments.

I have seen it in the telecommunication and banking sectors, when women ascend to the top and can truly call the shots, good things happen for them and their colleagues.  

You’ve always had issues with patriarchy and advocated for change. I assume you are a feminist. How do you find being one in Rwanda? 

I will give you an example, I have been in a car with a male companion and a motorist in front of us did something foolish or unexpected and the male companion, even my own brother, would go like that must be a woman.

Severally I have responded harshly and swore it was not a woman and indeed when we reached the vehicle, we would find it was a man behind the wheel. Both men and women could do some unexpected, irrational, sometimes reckless or emotional, things but patriarchy has conditioned us to believe that such is a preserve for women. 

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In Rwanda, just like anywhere else in the world feminists are labeled and described in different ways; bitter, aggressive, irritating, divorced etc. Advocacy for equity and equality was never meant to be a walk in the park.

I am a feminist and my understanding of Feminism; is a scenario where women are granted the freedom and ability to make their own decisions without being judged based on their gender. If a man says or does this it is fine but if a woman says or does the same thing, she has lost it. Why?

A woman has to always look over their shoulder wondering what society will make of their choices, men never do that.

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