Q&A: Motivational speaker Arshad Suliman

ARSHAD Suliman is a keen young minded individual who hopes to change the lives of people through his own struggles. At the age of 21 and whilst still a student, he recently started up his own life coaching company, Guided Success, which aims to help people get on track with their lives through motivational speaking, individual life coaching sessions and digital product releases. He is currently in the second year of his BA degree majoring in Psychology and Philosophy.

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Q&A: Radio Host Keletso Modiba

Keletso Modiba appears to be following in her father’s footsteps, the late radio host Eddie Zondi. She recently joined the VOWFM team, co-hosting the lunch show with Ferrah Mante. She is currently in the final year of her BA degree and plans to major in media studies and anthropology.

  1. Have you always wanted to be on radio?

 

I only realised that I wanted to become a radio personality when I was in Grade 11. We were assigned for career shadowing and I chose to go to 5FM at the SABC. I shadowed DJ Fresh and through his guidance and seeing the passion he has for his job, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I didn’t shadow my father because I wanted to make him proud by taking the initiative to educate myself without him.

 

  1. Was following in your father’s footsteps part of the reason you chose to join VOW?

 

My father was instrumental in my decision to become a radio presenter. He once told me that I should not be afraid to start from the bottom because it’s was the honorable way to succeed. Naturally, starting off at a campus radio station like VOWFM is the best example of ‘starting from the bottom’, it will help sharpen my craft and reach for my goals.

 

  1. How has your father’s legacy influenced your experience on radio?

 

I do not really express or engage in a lot of conversation about my father’s legacy. Many people loved him and remind from time to time that he was a legend. He had the ability to make people fall in love. Generally, people who are close to me and have witnessed my growth in radio remind me that he would be exceptionally proud of me. Most times, I avoid speaking about him because I fear that it would put me in his shadow. We’re two completely different brands with different target markets. It may put a lot of pressure on me in terms of expectations and so forth. I am Lula Odiba first before I am Eddie Zondi’s daughter.

 

  1. How has joining VOW affected your performance academically?

 

It hasn’t really affected my performance academically. My mom made it clear that studies come first. In my first and second years at Wits I did a show called ‘The Ultimate Hookup’ which aired from 9pm to midnight. It was the only time I had to be on air because I had to focus on my academics. Now that I’m in final year, I can work with my time a lot better. I only have my majors now so fortunately it allows me to host ‘That Lunch Show’ from 12pm to 3pm on weekdays.

 

  1. What can we expect from you in the future?

 

I believe in pacing myself and being honest with myself. Once I am ready, which is very soon, I wish to be on commercial radio stations and television doing what I love the most and actually getting paid for it.

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Q&A: Radio DJ Gaopalelwe Phalaetsile

A journalist at one of Johannesburg’s biggest radio stations Jacaranda FM, this former Witsie from Moruleng in the North West is making a name for herself in South African journalism. Phalaetsile graduated with a BA majoring in Political Studies in 2013.

She is also the founder of a group called The Black Wxman Healing Garden which she describes as “a safe space for black women to share their struggles and empower one another.” She is also a columnist for the Daily Vox, known for her bold and honest opinion pieces on social injustice.

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Q&A with Thato Mahapa

Thato “TeeKay” Mahapa is a menswear and lifestyle blogger and a fourth-year Wits LLB student. The 23-year-old started his blog, The Bearded Muse, in 2016, which focuses on menswear, grooming, and covers lifestyle content such as events, food and design. Mahapa was selected as the 2017 GQ (magazine) Best Dressed Reader, has collaborated with brands such as Spier and Kurt Geiger, and has a long-term relationship with Topman.

Who is Thato “TeeKay” Mahapa?
I am a Polokwane born and Pretoria bred creative and sartorial menswear enthusiast who is studying towards an LLB degree at Wits University.

When and how did your passion for fashion and blogging begin?
My mother started dressing me in formal wear when I was around five years old. In my early primary school years, she would dress me in two-piece ensembles, shirts and formal pants, ties etc. for civvies day. I used to hate it because I wanted to wear what all my other peers were wearing, but for a long time my mother didn’t budge. She only allowed me to choose my own clothes a bit later in primary school.

What is The Bearded Muse?
The Bearded Muse is a platform to learn the do’s, don’ts, the “don’t forgets”, and the “take notes” of menswear and lifestyle through my personal experiences and perspective.

Why did you decide to start The Bearded Muse?
I saw a gap in the market. I wanted to take the lifestyle I was living already and share it with other gents in the hopes of it being the most trusted guidebook in African men’s fashion.

You were chosen as GQ’s Best Dressed Reader last year. How has that influenced your career?
More than anything it gave me exposure to a lot of brands and I got a lot of work as a result.

How do you find a balance between being a full-time LLB student and a lifestyle blogger?
I won’t lie, it’s quite hectic. I just sacrifice my social life to make sure I get school right.

What inspires your own style and your social media aesthetic?
My style is largely inspired by uptown metropolitan professionals and Afrodandyism.

Describe a typical day in your life
I wake up, run a few kilometres on the treadmill, have green tea, get ready for school (picking out an utfit always takes me ages), go to school. I usually have events in the evening so I do that or if my day ends early, then I create content.

What can we expect from you in 2018?
This year expect more content on the blog (in various forms of media), and perhaps a big feature in a high-end in store poster.

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Q&A with Didintle Khunou

Former Witsie Didintle Khunou’s (25) career has hit a high note with one of her biggest performance gigs in the musical, The Color Purple. The BA Dramatic Arts graduate plays the lead role, Celie, which was played by Whoopi Goldberg in the film adaptation. She also has a role on the popular SABC 2 Sesotho drama series, Mamello. Wits Vuvuzela caught up with Khunou to find out about her experience and journey in The Color Purple. The production opened on January 31 and runs until March 4 at the Joburg Theatre.

Khunou in The Color Purple. Photo: Provided

 

How do you achieve such vocal strength?

The vocal strength comes with a lot of sleep (she laughs) and training. Before I started with The Color Purple I ensured that I went to practice with a vocal coach and with Rowan Bakker who was also the musical director of The Color Purple. I honestly think that without that training, I wouldn’t have been able to hit the notes that I can. Both the high notes and the low notes.

How did you receive the news that you had made it into The Color Purple?

I was very shocked because I am  a newcomer to the theatre industry. I mean I have done more television  and film work than I have theatre. I am not necessarily a professional singer, and I remember having watched Cynthia Erivo who played Celie in the Broadway revival and thinking “Okay, well, if this is the level that I have to sort of match up to, maybe I might not make the cut,” but I did and when I got the news I was ecstatic, I called my mum first and told her and then I called my acting coach Steven who has played an important role in helping me prepare for the auditions.

Were you hoping to get the role of Celie when you auditioned?

No! In fact, I was thinking of auditioning way in advance. I think it was 2016 when they were having their open call auditions in Pretoria, but I was shooting for a TV series called Mamello, a Sotho drama and the shooting schedule just clashed with mine. I realised that there was no way that I could leave set and I just let go of the idea of auditioning. Then I get a WhatsApp from my best friend  who sends me this brief, much quicker than my agent could (she laughs).  She’s like “Oh my God! They’re still looking for people for The Color Purple. You need to go; this is a sign!” The intention was just to go to be a part of the production. I didn’t care if I was going to get Celie or if I was going to get any other character.

How has the process been?

It’s been a very challenging one. Challenging in understanding the character, and embodying the character in a way that is true to me. And because there are so many similarities in terms of Celie’s belief system and one that I used to inhabit as a younger girl growing up and also in varsity. I realised that having to embody Celie meant having to dig up some of my own personal wounds. So, emotionally it was quite challenging because I had to do a lot of confrontation. At the end of the day after having to confront all of those aspects of myself that I could bring to the table in inhabiting Celie, I ended up feeling very healed and still to this day every time I get on stage and I perform I feel a lot of healing taking place.

What have been some responses from audience members that have inspired you?

We’ve been so lucky to have really good reviews and only good comments and remarks from people who have come to watch the show. People also keep saying that they want to come back again. That is really humbling to hear because it makes me feel as though we are successfully carrying the intention of Alice Walker through the story. My biggest goal was to make sure that her core messages are being read through the show and it seems as though we are doing it well. A lot of people have questioned that I’d be able to do it because I’m quite young,ut people believe in how I manage to age Celie throughout the show. Night after night we get standing ovations and it’s because the story is incredibly powerful and that’s why people walk away so inspired. It really shows a powerful and positive representation of black women and right now, South African audiences seriously need to see that.

Who is your favourite character in The Color Purple?

I love them all because they all serve such an interesting purpose to the story. There’s Harpo. His role helps men challenge their own masculinity. His character makes us look at how men because of patriarchy are forced to perform masculinity and how it hurts them as well as women. Then there’s Mister, who lives his entire life being a replica of his father who we realise also abused Mister. Then  there’s Sofia who is this hard rock character. She puts herself in a position where she lets her voice be heard. Her biggest number is ‘Hell No’ in the musical and that is just a song that speaks back to how you cannot allow yourself to continue playing the victim. You have to be a victor of your situations.

How do you make the transition from TV performance to theatre?

I’m trained in theatre performance, so I understand that theatre is different from TV in terms of the energy that you embody. You have to make sure that all of you is reaching out and touching all of the audience in the theatre. With theatre you want to create an experience for people.

 

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Wits Vuvuzela, Q&A Gold Diggers’ Mpho SibekoFebruary 25, 2017

Q&A with Zongezile Qeba

Zongezile Qeba, was born and raised in a fairly small village called Verdwaal in the North West, about 30 minutes from Mafikeng. He is currently completing his final year BSc in Chemical Engineering. Qeba has made it to the top six of the popular educational youth show One Day Leader. The show airs from February 8 at 21:00.

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Q&A with Kanyisa Qaba

FIRST-YEAR BA Law student and fashion designer Kanyisa Qaba, has been running a clothing line, House of Manik, that caters for youth. She started the clothing line in high school with a friend, but has been running it as a solo operation since 2015 when the partnership ended. Wits Vuvuzela caught up with the 20-year-old ‘stylista’ to find out about how she draws inspiration from international trends and fits them in the South African fashion scene.

Kanyisa Qaba’s House of Manik                                 Photo: Provided

How would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as a very motivated person, a very hard working person. I’m very direct and I also like to have fun. I’m a free spirit.

 

Why the name ‘House of Manik’?

I chose House of Manik by default. I wanted to name it Manik. When I was registering the company, Manik was taken so I decided on House of Manik.

 

How did the business get started and what was the inspiration behind it?

The business started out in 2014, first as Manic UK. The ‘Manic’ part of it, we just liked the name and then the UK stood for [the first letters of our first names]. When Unathi decided that she didn’t want to be part of the business anymore, I decided that “fine let me just keep the Manic but then change the C at the end of Manic, put a K which represents obviously my name, which is Kanyisa”.

What inspired the business was the fact that we didn’t want to ask our parents for money anymore. We thought, “Let’s do something for ourselves and let’s emancipate ourselves financially.”

 

How is your business funded?

I regenerate capital through sales and my parents have been very supportive of the whole thing. My mom put in an initial investment of about R10 000.

 

Who do you design for and why?

I have international trends in mind and things that will obviously sell. I am a business so I need to be able to keep the assembly line going. But I also have specific people like umama [my mother] for instance. She explored herself fashionwise in the 80s and 90s, so I take inspiration from her old clothes.

 

How do you handle varsity and running House of Manik?

It is tough because at some points, one has to fall. I have to just know what is right at the time. So obviously if I have a lot of work, I’d rather let the business kind of slide or take a back seat because at the end of the day I came to Wits to get a degree so that needs to be my number one priority. It has its challenges but it’s so rewarding.

 

What challengeshave come across?

There are so many people doing the same thing. So originality and just trying to express yourself as a fashion designer and as a business person without letting one of the components fall. That’s very challenging for me.

 

Who are your style icons locally and internationally?

I would say locally, my mother. Half of my stuff that I wear are hers from the 80s. Internationally, I would definitely say the likes of Rihanna, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner. I like that very-high-fashion-but-comfortable look.

 

Do you get designers block?

I never get designers block. Sometimes I feel like there’s too much out there for me to even handle. My ideas are endless. I love designing, putting trends together and the whole creative process of coming up with a garment, trying to find material that will work. All those things for me are just so rewarding. I never get bored and I never run out of ideas.

 

What collection are you currently working on?

I’m really focused on selling Ebony and Ivory which is our current Spring collection. However, I am designing a capital collection which basically means that it’s a collection that is for the brand and the collection is going to be called Customs by Kanyi. So I’ll be starting off with my own ideas and making myself my own custom range and kind of spreading out from there. What I’m going to be doing with Customs by Kanyi is that I’m going to be making customised items for specific customers. So if a customer approaches me, I’ll try and take whatever idea or concept that they have and make it into a garment.

 

Q&A with Kelebogile Morukhu

WINNING is the only option for Miss South Point 2016 and Miss Gauteng Exclusive 2017 finalist, Kelebogile Morukhu. The 21-year-old is currently a third-year student in education at Wits University. One of her biggest goals is to plant a seed of knowledge in the minds of young children. The multi talented model was in the front line of the #FeesMustFall campaign,is currently part of the Wits Education Choir, plays netball and recently joined the Wits Boxing Club. (more…)

Q&A with Sandile Mazibuko

Wits Vuvuzela caught up with 22-year old performer Sandile Mazibuko, known to his peers as “Pistol” for his fiery energy. Born and bred in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, Mazibuko is a Dramatic Arts student in his 3rd year at Wits and made his on-screen debut in the popular SABC3 soapie Isidingo last week. Besides performing he is an avid gamer and enjoys playing Fifa.

When did you fall in love with the arts?

I fell in love with the arts at 15, I was involved in my first performance in Grade 9. I enjoyed entertaining people whether it was through acting or dancing and I can say at 15 I started taking it seriously and considering it as a career.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Yes I do. Not only do I act and dance, I can also rap. I plan on releasing some of my music next month.

If you were not in the arts what other field would you be in?

I have never really thought about it because I put my all into my chosen career path. Personally I have never been the type to have a Plan B, therefore whatever I have chosen has to work. I am not worried about when it’s going to pay or whether I am going to be successful or not. My only worry is am I going to reach the goals I want to reach within that space.

How did you get the Isidingo gig?

The casting director reached out to Wits for actors to audition for the part, I was one of the students that went to the audition. I got a call a few weeks later and I was called by the character’s name, “Mandla” and that is when I knew I had gotten the part.

Who do you want to work with in the industry?

I can’t pin point a specific person. However if you are willing to work and have the same passion and drive as me then I don’t mind. Honestly, as long as we grow as performers within the performance then I am game.

How do you prepare for a performance?

By putting in double the work. I think the more you work, the more you discover. I think one needs to dedicate themselves to the work. The only way one can learn the character is if they put in the work through rehearsals and that is what I do.

What else are you working on?

I am currently in a production choreographed by Grace Barnes titled Breathe. We will be performing this Saturday at the Sibikwa Arts Centre in Benoni.

What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the arts?

I would tell them to continuously work on their craft. There are a lot of talented people out there but not all of them put in the work. So I believe talent plus hard work usually equals to great success. You might not make it now but eventually your hard work will pay off.