I have found it challenging to adapt to the brand change, and have been unable to get back into the groove of producing and releasing podcast episodes.
Content creation has to be one of the greatest privileges and challenges that have come with this age of new technology.
It is a space where anyone, who has access to the relevant technology, can create and package creative concepts or think pieces that can be consumed by diverse audiences through various modes. Being a content creator, particularly in podcasting, has been a privilege for me because I have found solace in networking with and meeting people who have given me a lot of insight about navigating the layers of life.
On the personal front, my podcast has been one of the purest forms of expressing my personhood without waiting for an industry to open up for me and without having to be someone else while at it.
However, this source of comfort has been challenged because of a mental block that surfaced after getting shot by the police on Wednesday, March 10. This was an event that interrupted my process of content creation, which further ushered in newfound struggles with my identity and consistency in podcasting. In fact, I have not had the impetus to produce new podcast episodes since.
I started my podcast, The NDL Show, in 2019 as an attempt to share my experiences and perspectives about life. I was motivated by the everyday conversations I would have with my friends and further propelled by unanswered questions that ensued. After the revelation that I was not the only one who had these questions, I started to find my niche.
It involved consulting with various experts, theorists and psychologists who would unpack the reasons for particular occurrences. I would then relate that back to my youthful audience. I also realised that there were many undiscovered, local musicians who did an exceptional job at capturing the prospects of South African creativity. I decided that with their permission, I would play their music on the show to raise that awareness.
The benefits of taking the podcast seriously and making it unique, was that it gradually gained more listeners from an average of 50 listens per episode to 286 in its first few months.
At the beginning of 2021, I began to witness the opportunities that other content creators had been given because of consistency and vowed to do the same. I drew up a running order and organised a workflow through which I would maximise content production, while still giving attention to my academics.
My passion to be consistent came to a halt when I had to nurse two rubber bullet wounds and subsequently deal with the trauma of being on the receiving end of violence. I went from being “the podcaster” to being “one of the student journalists who were shot by police” during student protests.
I have found it challenging to adapt to the brand change, and have been unable to get back into the groove of producing and releasing podcast episodes. I tend to worry about how my episodes will be received now because I have been away for so long.
There is a complexity that has risen from this experience which has placed me in this unfamiliar position of being part of a story that I would otherwise be responsible for covering in my own process of content creation.
Despite all that, I am also somehow experiencing a reawakening of sorts that is pushing me into the direction of producing again. I tend to get ideas in my dreams and wake up quickly to jot them down, before it is too late to remember them.
Reflecting on these nights, filled with pending conversations for the podcast, I realised that I had started compiling a running order again. One that would capture how much my worldview has changed since I stopped podcasting.
It is in this short period of not creating content that I have come to realise how important being a content creator is to me. This year has not been an easy one thus far, but I believe that this unpredictable journey is worth it and that the podcast needs to make a comeback to encapsulate it and it will. Soon.
FEATURED IMAGE: Nondumiso Lehutso