Q&A with Marco Zacchino

Marco Zacchino, 25, is a Master of Law graduate from Wits University who is currently doing articles at Allen and Overy. Not only has he balanced doing his masters and his work, but he is also a part-time blogger, a lover of fashion and has a passion for food.

What do you do?
I did a BA at Wits and majored in Law. Following that I did my LLB and have just received confirmation that I have passed my masters last week. I work for a firm in Sandton, currently doing my articles and it has been keeping me busy for the past six months. When I was in varsity, I was very heavily into blogging and now I want to get back into it.

What inspires your blogging?
Predominantly I have just been fashion blogging, but I want to branch into doing legal blogging. I want to offer legal help to students who are becoming lawyers and to allow people to follow my journey as “a day in the life of a candidate attorney”. It is something that I’m going to enjoy doing. I’m keen to get into that and start blogging my fashion like I did when I was at varsity.

How did you balance working and studying?
The transition from university life to work life cannot be underestimated. Nothing can get you ready for that, no matter what field you work in. I already knew what my hours were going to be like and now I usually work 12-hour days. It just means making sure that if you’ve got to come in early and get something out because you know you have to leave early to get to class to finish your degree, it isn’t about skill, you just learn it when you are forced into the situation. The transition is just a learning experience.

Did you always want to be a lawyer?
Funny enough, I always wanted to be a lawyer when it came to choosing my career in grade 11. When I was 15 I wanted to become a chef, but I was always very argumentative, and I wanted to do the opposite of what everyone else was doing and I was good at it, so Law just stuck.

What would be your one tip to a student currently studying law?
I think job wise, law students need to apply early. The sooner you get a grasp of getting your articles and you know what you want to do, you can get vacation work and start working on it. Do not leave applying for articles in your third or fourth years. Attention to detail is so important as a practical skill. At work, everything is important, each full stop and comma is important.

What are some of your downtime activities?
I think my fashion, blogging and Instagram keeps me busy. I also play a lot of soccer during the week. I think when you are at varsity you don’t appreciate how much you get to socialise and when you start working, socialising is such a luxury and it is something you really learn to appreciate.

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Q&A with Sindile Bongela

Triple threat, Sindile Bongela is an academic, magazine producer and conversation maker. Bongela is currently pursuing an MA in African Literature doing research on the visibility of black gay men and black women in literature and the similarities/differences between them. He is also the co-founder of Big Gay Debate and associate editor of Grandeur Magazine, an online magazine for black gay men.


What are you currently researching?
My research is a work in progress. As a gay man, I spend a lot of time with women and effeminate gay men. I noticed a lot of similarities between the way in which we interact with each other and the patriarchal society. So that’s what I’m doing my research on.

How did you come about your research?
I read a lot of women’s literature and I kept finding myself in the way in which women navigate their spaces. Once again, I’ve always been around women so it’s heavily influenced my research.

What impact do you want your research to have on the LGBTQ+ community?
I want my research to continue to open and broaden the honest conversations about the relationship that effeminate gay men and women have, and about the relationship they foster in a culturally patriarchal environment that is not conducive for our existence. I also want my research to explore and strengthen the relationships we can build.

What is The Big Gay Debate?
It’s a conversational space for gay men that seeks to deepen and broaden knowledge about being gay in Africa. The conversations at the debates have been insightful. The gays are finding the space to be safe enough to express themselves fully. They’ve found the space to be validating and educational.

How did Big Gay Debate come about?
I noticed that gay identities in South Africa were heavily influenced by African-American gay culture. Big Gay Debate is trying to remedy that by merging the influence of African-American gay culture with African gay culture. It is about ensuring that the African context is the dominant one in gay culture, but also creating an intellectual hub trying to create writing on African gayness from an African perspective.

What’s your contribution to Grandeur Magazine?
As an associate editor, I’m looking at producing content about black gayness, and showing that we’re a multidimensional people. I’m all about producing content about gay people travelling, starting businesses and creating partnerships. Basically building black intelligencia. The magazine is also focused on the LGBTQ+ community and writing about our experiences.

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Q&A with Farai Mubaiwa

Farai Mubaiwa is a leader, activist and African feminist. She is currently pursuing an MSc in the Political Economy of Emerging Markets at King’s College London. Farai has also co-founded the NGO Africa Matters which aims at changing the narrative of Africa in the eyes of the youth. In 2017, Farai was a recipient of the Queens Young Leader Award. 

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Q&A with Nazia Wadee

Miss Earth semi-finalist, Nazia Wadee.                                                                                    Photo: Londell Phumi Ramalepe

Nazia Wadee is a born and bred Johannesburger who is doing honours in Media Studies. The 21-year-old Miss Teen Commonwealth South Africa 2015/2016 is a semi-finalist in the Miss Earth competition.

What does Miss Earth mean to you?
Miss Earth South Africa is a women’s leadership programme that aims to empower and educate South African women through the lens of environmental sustainability. It aims to create awareness about issues concerning conservation, sustainability and development. Being a semi – finalist for Miss Earth SA has been an educational and enlightening experience. This platform has allowed me to live out my true potential, break my barriers and to live out what I believe is my life purpose, which is to give back and make a difference.

What inspired you to enter the competition?

Given that I am a responsible active citizen who is passionate about positive change, the core values and duties of a Miss Earth title winner are that which I would like to continue to associate myself with. As former Ms Teen Commonwealth South Africa, I fell in love with the important duties that a titleholder has and the massive platform available to create a better life for all. My journey as a philanthropist had begun with the understanding of human suffering through exploitation or social prejudice at grass roots levels.

What do you do to effect change?
I have been afforded the honour of being the ambassador for the Youth Managers Foundation South Africa. The organisation aims to develop and discover leaders in underprivileged schools, and provides them with the necessary tools, leadership skills and resources to make positive changes in their schools and their community. I am involved in various welfare, cultural and goodwill initiatives, leading me to be a recipient of a Women of Wonder award as well as a second place award for the Nelson Mandela Youth Leadership award hosted by East Wave radio station. My love of goodwill initiatives has recently awarded me with the position of Head of Student Affairs on a university governing body.

How do you balance your studies and modelling?
I have always been active in terms of running charitable projects or initiatives or involved in sports or other extracurricular activities. The most important thing that I have learnt is have good time, management skills and learning to find balance. Passion is a powerful thing, and can drive you do to amazing and sometimes unexpected things, only because we are capable of so much more than we believe.

What do you hope to achieve with the Miss Earth competition?
My goal is to expand my knowledge, grow, empower myself in order to address critical social and environmental issues within my communities. My aim is to create awareness with regard to the various environmental issues that we face, and possibly provide solutions to them; to beautify my environment and make my community a beacon of hope for what is possible, for the betterment of all. I hope to inspire young people to get involved in our community and follow their passions. I hope to touch lives through my projects and initiatives. I hope to build lifelong friendships and bonds with the new people I have had the opportunity of meeting or the people that I will meet in the future. Furthermore, my aim is to empower those I meet along the way as well as those around me. Irrespective of the competition’s outcome, if I achieve this I believe that that will be my success.

What words would you share with young girls who look up to you?
Being from a small town, if I win this title it will raise the hope of others, to believe that nothing is impossible. The human spirit is amazing. In the direst circumstances the instinct to survive triumphs everything – so me winning this title will allow others to follow in my path and escalate humanity and our humanness to a level I know we can achieve.

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