Personality Profile: Who is this?

Personality Profile: Who is this?

Robin Tyson

Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of Namibia

Place of Origin
I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

I was educated in Cape Town, South Africa, at Pinelands High School and the University of Cape Town.

Place of Residence
I’ve been living in Windhoek since 1983 when I first came here to work for the then SWABC, now NBC.

What one word would you use to describe yourself?

What made you pick the clothes you are wearing today?
It’s a Friday – the stock of washed and iron clothes is running dry! Seriously – it’s a nice top that I bought once when on holiday in Thailand – I feel comfortable and cool in it.

Who would you take on a date in space and why?
Somebody who has never left Namibia, who has never travelled, who has never even been to Windhoek. I had a colleague once at NBC, who flew overseas and her rural family – seeing her taking off at the airport – thought she was going to heaven. My date would literally be going to the heavens!

Tell us about your upbringing – what were your parents like?
They were very supportive and very encouraging in whatever I wanted to do. I grew up in a creative house – my father was a professional musician (playing for the Cape Town orchestra) and my mother worked on stage as an actress and singer. She was also a television presenter in Ireland, so perhaps that’s where I got my love of broadcasting from.

Which celebrities do you believe are the most influential?
I like comedians – especially those from the UK. People like Ricky Gervais (‘The Office’), John Cleese (‘Monty Python’), etc.

What do you like to watch on TV?
I’m addicted now to internet television. I watch what I want when I want – no more flicking through the channels to try to find a programme worth watching. And there are no advertisements and no promotions for the television channel. And there are a lot of great programmes on YouTube – documentaries, lifestyle programmes, etc. I’m not a great sport lover or lover of movies, so I watch my programmes on the internet and then have GoTV for the news channels when there is breaking news.

What is your favourite music?
I studied music for my first degree at university and my parents took me to broadcasting studios, to concerts and to opera. So I do like classical music (Beethoven, Chopin, Mahler, Richard Strauss), but also jazz (Dave Grusin) and the softer contemporary sounds (Adele, R. Kelly, etc.)

Whom do you love most?
My mother lives in Cape Town – so every opportunity I have I visit her. We do fun things together as well – world cruises, interesting excursions. She’s very active for her age.

What kind of child were you? What are your most cherished childhood memories?
I was probably a quiet child, quite well behaved and responsible, but at school (which I didn’t really enjoy – I found it very boring) I was more irritating (and irritated). One teacher noted in my report I had to be “placed strategically” in the classroom to get the best out of me.

How did you meet your spouse/partner?
I honestly don’t remember. We’ve been together a long time now and just seemed to meet around town and ‘click’ – we have similar interests and a similar sense of humour.

When have you been most satisfied and proudest in your life and/or career?
We started the NBC after Independence and introduced some pioneering programmes (‘Chat Show’, ‘Open Line’, ‘Prime Minister’s Question Time’) that, for the first time, allowed Namibians to openly express themselves – praising or criticising.

I also find my work at the university very rewarding – to see my former students achieving great things in print, on radio and television. Hopefully I was able to pass on some of my experience to them while they were with me.

If you could be or do anything else – what?
Nothing – I’m happy with what I’m doing.

Who is your role model or from whom do you draw inspiration from as an adult?
My mother. She is now 86, but still is very active – doing volunteer work in local schools and still acting (doing television adverts and films). She is very tenacious and a very grounded person.

How would you like the Namibian society (and the world) to remember you?
As the guy who read news on television in short pants (I did – but only once a year).

What things do you not like to do, or do not take well to?
I’m not really a sports lover – so I don’t understand the talk of scores and “my team’s success or failure. It’s just some people kicking a ball around a patch of grass – but I think some fans’ entire lives revolve around it.

Do you believe in life after death? Good and evil? God? Are you a spiritual person?
Not really. I grew up in Northern Ireland, where they were predominantly so-called Christians – but ended up trying to kill each other, just because some were Protestant and some Catholic. I’d rather invest my energies in the here and now, than a possible life after death.

What is the one thing about you few people know?
My middle name – my grandmother (who was Scottish) insisted that her clan (McGregor) appear in my name – so my middle name is Gregory.

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