WHICHEVER way one may want to introduce, Joyce Shebe, one would talk of a character that is loyal, amiable, social and one many would yearn to befriend.
This is the young lady who at 20 ventured into Journalism, being engaged by Clouds FM as Sports Reporter, while still in her student days. Now aged 44, she has managed to climb the ladder as Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA)’s sixth Board Chairperson, making her realise her long term dream.
Ever accessible and giving people an audience, I remember one day phoning her for an interview on her career success and challenges and without any element of hesitation, she threw the ball back in my court that the doors are opened whenever she is in Dar es Salaam at any time in her office.
When I met her, I first wanted to know how she felt after being elected with a majority of votes to be the TAMWA chairperson. “How do you feel being at the helm of TAMWA with all its challenges, while still also a young lady and perhaps green in many things?”
I asked her. Beaming with confidence, she smiles displaying assurance in her eyeballs and said: “I believe leadership requires good communication, knowledge and skills to fulfil responsibilities and duties of any organisation and I have them.
“I also believe that this position needs a person who is good at time management, versatile and has respect for all people. A person who is capable of handling the association’s priorities as per the vision and mission and I see them in myself,” she posed.
Intelligently I asked her, who is Joyce Shebe? And in response, weighing her words, she said: “I am a mother of two (a girl and boy), I am a Board Member of Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), and I am a Chief Editor at Clouds Media Group and also a Consultant in Media Forums.”
She hinted that holding such positions is not an easy ride as some people might think because they require professionally readiness to face challenges and determination to face them with measurable solutions.
On her career, Ms Shebe pointed out that her occupation has been very involving since she started it as a Journalist.
She says that first as a female Reporter in a maledominated newsroom, she had to balance her time also as a parent to raise up her two children after their father passed on when she was 28.
However, she confesses that at times she got confused about whether to continue with the career with meagre payment and tedious work in a difficult working environment or quit and look for another opportunity.
With another broad smile, she says that the challenges hardened her in life and somehow formed the basis of her present traits to bear with any situation and address challenges as they come her way in her present position.
Stressing on that she urges the womenfolk in any staff to consider themselves as a force to reckon with in any employment or organization that requires inputs of its staff based on merit.
Being curious to know the challenges she might be experiencing in her career, she talks of male chauvinism and some clandestine mild sexual harassment.
Her list also includes some out-dated customs and traditions, which oppress and deprive women justice to become free. “Being born a woman some think that one cannot manage assignments such as in politics and serious interviews with dignitaries.
It is a challenge to be promoted to a new position, but instead your position dangles and anytime can be taken by your male subordinates” she adds.
With such challenges, Ms Shebe says that she refused to bow down and only considered them as teething problems and erected hurdles she had to jump over, adding that believing in herself as not inferior also made her walk over the barriers with a vision that is focused and work hard pay.
In her further explanation, she encourages women in general to take any challenge they may be facing in life or workplace as teething problems, which disappear as a child is also weaned. Now as a new TAMWA Chairperson, Ms Shebe advice female Journalists in the country to come together as one voice to be heard.
“Be the voice of the voiceless so that you can help other women in Tanzania to overcome their challenges,” she adds. Ms Shebe further says that starting with her new roles, she still insists TAMWA members realise their vision and mission, urging all women that they also have all the potentials to vie for political posts.
“Now Tanzania is heading to the local government elections in November and next year there will be a general election, be practically involved,” she says.
Ms Shebe also emphasise that TAMWA members and all women in media houses in Tanzania should wake up and help one another and stop any form of segregations amongst themselves.
As for sexual harassment, she says women should speak out their minds because that is a criminal offence even the government is fighting.