Motivational journalist makes it big across the border

Zimbabwean- journalist, Sheik Phiri (36) is making his mark in the South African media.

Sheik Phiri at work in the television studios.
Sheik Phiri at work in the television studios.

Seemingly a natural all-rounder, Phiri has been using his talents in motivational speaking, television presenting, column writing and poetry.

The Zimbabwean Muslim has become a real draw at ITV Studios Channel 347 Dstv on Friday and Sunday evenings.

Phiri’s televison speeches and newspaper columns aim to educate young people about the dangers of drug abuse and the importance of loving, lasting relationships. He writes for The Fever newspaper, where he’s been a columnist for the past 10 years.

“I was born a motivational speaker and would like to help change the world in my small way through my speaking skills and the pen,” said Phiri, who has been involved in 52 television episodes designed to teach listeners about various aspects of life and to advocate for peace and unity among communities. Phiri said journalism was the most appropriate vehicle for communicating messages to the world and that he enjoyed every moment of his career.

According to Phiri, he is among the few black motivational speakers to run their own talk shows to an estimated audience of 10 million around the globe.

Phiri said people appreciated that moderate Muslims could make a difference in people’s lives, in contrast to the negative views engendered by extremist Muslims. “As a moderate Zimbabwean Muslim, I educate people across religions and culture,” he said. “Journalism has its own challenges, but I find strength in God and pray five times every day.”

He has become a celebrity who attracts public attention, but Phiri says he prefers to be identified as a role model. He is the founding director of the Ahmad Religious Information Centre charity, and he would like to see the project grow and benefit thousands of needy people.He intends to open a similar organisation in Zimbabwe as a way of giving back to the nation that nurtured him.

Motivational talk shows back home are on the cards through willing Zimbabwe broadcasting channels and, to reach a wider audience, Phiri said he was set to launch another satellite talk show on Channel Top TV.

His career started when he was spotted by the chief executive officer of ITV, One Farhad, giving a motivational speech. He was taken on board on an internship.

“I would like to encourage Zimbabweans, since they are generally educated people, to spread their knowledge and skills across the globe and make a difference,” he said.

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