Saturday 2 July 2022


SHE has been loved, hated, forgotten, victimised, beaten (physically and emotionally) and once a social pariah, but popular radio personality and actress Tinopona “Tin Tin” Katsande seems to always have answers to every question and predicament she faces.

The dam began to burst for her when she landed an acting role in the early 2000s. Her role as Joyce Huni in popular yester-year soapie Studio 263 saw her enjoy her heydays and catapulted her to stardom in the process.

If the popular adage “to err is human, but to forgive is divine” is anything to by, then Tin Tin falls in both categories. She has erred in the past, but forgave herself, learning from the experience and picking up where she left off before her stint with ZiFM Stereo.

Saturday Leisure sat down with Tin Tin to ascertain her feelings on her recent comeback to radio, relationship issues, past experiences, her diagnosis with endometriosis and the quashing of misconceptions surrounding her life.

Ask anyone to define Tin Tin for you and be rest assured that most of the responses will lean on her being a controversial figure, but she believes that things have been blown out of proportion and her name smeared in the public circle. She would rather define herself as “a force of nature, unstoppable, indomitable, humbled, guided and protected under the grace of God.”

Tin Tin’s blossoming career in the entertainment industry was dealt a major blow in 2012 when her sex tape was leaked leading to her suspension by ZiFM Stereo.

The tape blew the roof off the internet and Tin Tin describes it as “revenge porn”. Revenge porn is the revealing of sexually explicit images or videos of a person on the internet, typically by a former sexual partner without the consent of the subject to cause them embarrassment and distress.

The 43-year-old said the ordeal showed her a dark side to technology where one’s vulnerability might be exploited.

“Albeit, we are living in an era where anything goes so to speak, and the more we move on in the 21st century, the more liberal society is becoming. Sexual intimacy remains a private and confidential thing for me.

“There’s no greater violation than exploiting someone else’s vulnerability for personal gain or out of pure malice. What people do in their relationships is their business, but know that in this age of technology, once something is captured, you’ve now opened the door to the possibility of anything, be it good or bad,” she said.

Since the sex tape saga, Tin Tin’s life seemed to spiral down the drain as a chain of unfortunate events befell her.  She also narrated her struggle living with endometriosis.

“Endometriosis, often misinterpreted as ‘jeko’, which it’s not, it has no cure yet, but the symptoms can be managed with various pain management treatments and remedies so as to give the sufferer a better quality of life. I was diagnosed at 17, I’m now 43 with stage four endometriosis.

“Many women never get to have their own children with this condition, but by God’s grace, I have two beautiful boys who are both indeed my miracles. Their names are Yambuko and Yupi,” she said.

The leader of the Brunch Runners has been back on air on ZiFM Stereo since 2019 where she has been hosting a late night show called Formation. She is now co-hosting Brunch Run Sundays with TeeKay.

She loves radio and attests that, “It’s such a blessing to do what you love and love what you do.”

Tin Tin has been constantly using her catchphrase “this too shall pass” as a way to show that “my spirituality is core and God is my source and foundation. Just as the Word tells us there’s a season for everything, nothing lasts forever. We’re born, we live, we die and all we go through in our life’s journey has a beginning and an end. It’s that simple really. To be awarded another day nyama nemweya zviripamwe chete is enough motivation for anyone regardless of how bleak things look, to get up and do something. Make the change needed and win. Just don’t lose focus on your end goal.”

Tinopona seems to have nine lives, a thick skin and a will of steel that has seen her rise even after she hit rock bottom. To her, “it’s not about how many times you fall. It’s not about how many times you get up even. For me, it’s about what you learn from the fall and how you navigate your way forward.”

“I’ve experienced that the best part of hitting your ‘rock bottom’ in a situation is that you have no option, but to look up and you can never go wrong when you look up. There’s always a lifeline that God puts for you, but only if you humble yourself will you see it and get out of the trenches.”

When asked about the validity of her losing a friend, Rebecca Chinyerere to “cocaine overdose” in her bathroom, Tin Tin gave a lengthy response, silencing her critics.

“Correction, Becky did not die of ‘cocaine overdose’. Unethical journalists’ practice purported this gross misrepresentation of the course of events of that fateful night that I lost one of my closest friends. As a journalist, always check facts of a story by hearing both sides before publishing and misleading people.

“For whatever reason, people rushed to construe and publish falsehoods over Becky’s passing. It was devastating, but I’m grateful the record was set straight and although I miss her terribly every day, I’m at peace knowing the memory of my vivacious, ever-forgiving and big-hearted friend remains as beautiful as she was. Indeed may her soul rest in peace.”

She said with any addiction, there’s a thin line between having fun or using substances for health reasons and having an addiction problem, adding that mental health issues in Zimbabwe need to be given serious attention.

“I’m 43 years old and have lived and I’m living a colourful, blessed life. I know what it is like to be at that point. I know what it is to get to that line. I know what it is to feel depression, I know what it is to feel so void inside, yet so flourishing on the outside.

“I know what it is to see suicide as an option. But, I also know what it is to have a non-judgmental support system through friends and relatives so that life and its situations are better managed. I’m blessed beyond measure and I’m grateful. We’re living in a precarious time. Economic hardships, personal challenges and instability are prevalent in our communities and hence the nation as a whole.

“The rise in people being dependent on something, it could be substances like alcohol, narcotics prescription medications, or even sex, gambling, cults and so forth is a blaring signal that mental health issues are prevalent in Zimbabwe and things need to be addressed promptly, effectively and efficiently,” she added.

Tin Tin has been subjected to domestic violence in her former relationships. These have only served to show her that “abusing each other physically, mentally or even financially in our marriages or relationships regardless what the nature of that union is, is never the solution to any problem or challenge.

“We’ve got to practise tolerance, enact compromise, maintain respect and control our emotions and views when conflict situations arise. Resorting to violence is archaic and in our own spaces, we must strive to stop the beast of domestic violence.”

Last year, Tin Tin showed her entrepreneurial spirit when she established Mazai Kwa Tino where she sells eggs.

“My very unexpected entrepreneurial journey is going slow, but steady. I’m learning, growing and adapting. I’m a creative through and through so with the overnight birth of Mazai Kwa Tino, I literally went from being a full-time mum, as I had pulled away much from the arts and entertainment industry then, to an emerging businesswoman. Once again, God’s grace located me unsolicited and in abundance.

“I was and still am surrounded by such empowering and encouraging people like my then business advisor Ignatius Munengwa and life transformation and personal friend Zwelibanzi Ndlovu and of course, the overwhelming support from Zimbabweans across all walks of life. I knew God was in it so success, growth and victory are once again mine,” she said.

Her company, Tinopona Investments, she said is also doing well as it is expanding and complementing her other ventures in cosmetology, philanthropy and the arts.

“It’s very hard to start up a business in Zimbabwe at the moment. I’m living it so I know what I’m talking about. The economy is uncomfortable and requires you not just to be corporate savvy, but also street smart. You should always be switched on to grab opportunities and aggressively pursue them.

“My biggest lesson so far in the egg business, or rather business in Zimbabwe generally speaking is, ‘Be compliant, consistent and courageous,’” said Tin Tin.

With all the things in her busy portfolio, surely Tin Tin has her work cut out and does not have spare time.

“I’m a partner to a hard-working man, I’m a mum to two active demanding boys, I’m a popular radio and TV personality, I’m a growing entrepreneur/businesswoman, I’m an activist and I have a calling in philanthropic work. I don’t have ‘spare time’ at the moment,” she said.

Apart from hosting the Brunch Run show, Tin Tin believes there is more to come from her this year but, “on my terms”.

“I live in Zimbabwe, a land of great hardships sometimes, but great opportunities all the time. I would say don’t ‘expect’ anything. You will set yourself up for disappointment. I’m living my life on my terms. Not by force, but by favour. Things are hard out there for most of us ordinary citizens but I refuse to get distracted or sidelined in anything I put my mind to.

“Perseverance and consistency always reap rewards.”

She said she is loving getting older as she is getting wiser.

“I’m in the prime of my best life every day. I have the gift of two amazing boys, I’m surrounded by unconditional love and by those I choose to be in my space. I’m loving getting older as I’m wiser across board and above all, I know who I am, what I stand for and unapologetically, I let nothing and no one take my joy.

“Forgiveness has brought me peace and peace is my secret weapon. Life is good if we allow it to be,” she said.

Tin Tin’s life has been a roller-coaster of strange events, but in the midst of it all, she has fought, clawed and climbed her way up again. Chronicle


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