The name Mercy Simbi is fast becoming a charismatic household name in Malawiâ€™s electronic media circles.
She is the talent behind Maziko Talk Show. But, how did she graduate from Pakachere Series to become a top TV talk show presenter?
â€œIt was one afternoon in March last year when I was at the Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) doing a course in Behaviour Change Communication when I got a call that I had been invited to audition for the post of presenter for Maziko Youth TV Talk Show in Blantyre,â€ recalls Mercy.
Little did she know that life would never be the same as another page in her life had just opened.
â€œAfter getting the script, I shook and the thought of getting in front of a video camera made my anxiety even worse. All in all, I kept rehearsing,â€ Mercy narrates.
After braving the panel comprising Maneno Mtawali, Basimenye Nhlema, Grace Kumwenda, among others, Mercy got the judgesâ€™ nod and was granted the visa to steer Maziko TV Talk Show.
From that moment, things would never be the same for Mercy.
According to her, hosting the show has indeed been a huge turning point.
â€œI have been able to present the programmes with admirable pomp as if I had done it before. I manage to attract some faithful audiences to listen to the programme. The challenge is that with my face more recognisable, I cannot do certain things I used to do,â€ she said.
In her late 20s, Mercy idolises Paula Zahn host of On the Case on Investigation Discovery Channel and dreams of working for the United Nations or get into child rights activism upon attaining a masterâ€™s degree.
â€œPaula hosts the show with ease. She is never in a hurry. Her guests feel at home with her. The guests cry on the show and she lets them express any emotion as if there were no cameras. I would like to grow and be like her,â€ explained Mercy, nee Mvula.
Drawing her roots from Zigodo Village, Enukweni in Mzimba, Mercy is a sixth born in a family of five girls and three boys.
â€œI was born when my father was about to retire. I grew up in a family that did not have all we wanted at hand. I struggled a lot during my childhood and I promised myself that only working hard at school would get me out of poverty. I [really worked hard] and now I find what I want when I want it,â€ said Mercy.
Apart from hosting the talk show, she plies her trade as a senior producer at Story Workshop Educational Trust (Swet).
â€œMy job entails supervising and vetting radio programmes produced by Swet, making sure that they meet expected standards and are based on the massages and programme matrices.
â€œThat aside, I also co-present and help with the production of Cheni Cheni Nchiti programme which airs 14 times a week in all radio stations.
â€œI am also managing one of Story Workshopâ€™s project called Positive Stories from Malawi. Among others I am leading in the training of community radio producers on how they can produce developmental programmes,â€ boasted
Mercy also produces Lende Nkukankhana National Policy Debates which aim at improving the lives of people living with HIV and those affected by HIV and Aids.
So what else keeps Mercy on her toes apart from the TV and radio involvement?
â€œI design most of my clothes because I like wearing what I want to and when I want to.
â€œI dictate how I should look. So, during my free time, I design my clothes. I donâ€™t like seeing people wearing what I am wearing at an event,â€ claimed Mercy, a keen follower of sports highlighting the likes of All Blacks in rugby, Mayweather and Vladmir Klitschkho in boxing as well as Xavi, Iniesta, Asamoa Gyan and Suarez in football circles.
Meanwhile, Maziko Talk Show is set to return on MBC TV towards the end of October after being off air since August.
â€œWe are coming back with a bang and I canâ€™t wait to mesmerise the viewers,â€ concludes Mercy.Â