Journalist Santina Debesai was born in 1972 in Barentu. She took her elementary and junior high school education in Barent and her High school at Ibrahim Sultan in Asmara. From 1992 on wards she is working at the Ministry of Information as a journalist at Kunama language service. So far she has produced three books in Kunama language.
-You have been working at the Ministry of Information for over 22 years. How did you join this profession?
Before I joined the Ministry of Information I had strong desire to write, especially when I was listening to the Radio of the Broad Masses.
When the ministry issued a vacancy I was persuaded by people like Agostino Egidio to apply for the job. I have been accepted as a typist and later as a journalist.
-How did you find the profession when you joined?
I stared as an anchor. Later I worked as a translator of articles from Tigrigna to Kunama language. It has been a tough job but with encouragement of my colleagues I got used to it. And I would like to thank them all.
-What were the programs you have been producing?
They were of different kinds. From translation of articles I used to produce health, youth, and culture as well as entertainment programs.
-How were you preparing your programs, I mean were you conducting serious researches?
We know our listeners. And with that we know what kind of programs we should produce and when. I personally would like to conduct through research before I produce a program and disseminate it through the radio. For example when I produce health related programs, I take note the time and season of prevalence of particular disease and produce a program related to the. When it comes to culture there is time and place in which a particular culture activity taking place and I take the advantage of it.
-What feed back do you get from listeners?
People follow my programs and I get good feed back. Some times comments to supplement my programs.
-It is not that much easy to produce cultural programs. It asks a lot of research and work. Tell us how you do it?
That is obvious it is not easy, but once you are in it you enjoy it. The cultural events that I was observing during my childhood still linger in my mind, and that could be the basis of my work.
-Let’s discuss about your books. Tell us your first book “FURDA”? What is its content?
The book describes the culture and tradition of the Kunama society. It has 224 pages and describes yearly cultural events and social activities of the Kunama.
-What motivated you to write the book?
As I told you I have been producing cultural programs for the radio, and that helped me a great deal. I collected the programs and produce it in a form of a book.
-Do you believe you rightly described the culture of the Kunama society exhaustively in your book?
Culture is very vast and intricate. And you cannot put it in one book. I have tried my part and others could add to it what they believe is missing.
-And you translated it into Tigrigna language?
I wanted other Eritrean societies to know the culture of the Kunama people. I believe knowing and understanding each ones culture would contribute in strengthening our unity and respect to each other.
-You have also another dictionary you produced “AWRE BUUCA”.
It took me a great deal of time to write it. It is Kunama-English dictionary. I believe it would help for those who learn in their mother tongue.
-What is your future plan?
I want to concentrate on junior high school students. I want to write books that would help these students. And I won’t rest until I write 10 books.