I feel honored to have had the opportunity of speaking at the launch of The Leaders in Motion Academy that’s “powered by” SA Creative Industries Incubator (SACII), Gateway Media and the Thato Molamu Foundation. The academy will train Tshwane-based film makers between the ages 18 and 35 and give them access to the industry’s professionals. Thato Molamu not only put my hometown, Mafikeng, on the map but will also give our brothers and sisters the platform and the opportunity to tell our stories in the most authentic way possible. It was such a privilege to have been part of this incredible moment that is about to shake the film industry up. Here’s a copy of the speech that I delivered at the event on the 4th of July 2018:
Rre Thato Molamu, Beth and Freddie I believe a thank you is more befitting as opposed to congratulations.
I can almost liken The Leaders in Motion Academy to growing up in Mafikeng ko dinuniting, Unit 7 to be precise. Those that grew up in a small town or in the township will probably relate to this. We’d either leave the house keys ko next door, hide them somewhere around the yard in a spot that is only known by our close family members or my older sister would take the keys with her to school – I’m the youngest of three children so the house keys issue was never my problem. There are a couple of instances that I can still recall when we wouldn’t have access to the house because either we would have misplaced the keys, or the person we were expecting to find next door would have popped out for a while.
With all of us drained and hungry from school, my brother knew just how lightly tap the window for a while until it opened. Being the youngest of the three, I would have to be the one who squeezes through the burglar bars then rush to the front door to open the door for everyone – I’d hold the door open until everyone was finally inside. And in collaboration with all the Stakeholders that are part of The Leaders in Motion Academy, Thato, that’s what you’ve done. I’m not sure who birthed the idea, who tapped the window open, who endured the pain of going through the burglar bars to go open the door for all the beneficiaries and kept it open until all of them had gone in, but this is incredible and heartwarming. On behalf of all the beneficiaries, thank you.
I believe The Leaders in Motion Academy is also a reminder to all of us for us to lift others as we rise. A couple of weeks ago, I heard someone say that “humanity is the new black”, I beg to differ, humanity has always been at the heart of our being, especially having grown up in a small town.
I am excited for what’s about to unfold because we are about to experience more talented and trained film makers who will be telling our stories in the best way we know how; the way in which we are experiencing this life journey. We need people who have context of our township experiences because the stories will be told from a place of transparency, a place of truth, a place of understanding; stories that we can relate to.
This reminds me of the best video I saw in 2017 titled Meet South Africa, Meet Bheki the Mbaco Maker. It was released by SA Tourism and directed by Film Maker, Teboho Mahlatsi. The video was rated Ad of the Week during the month of October 2017 by an independent website which analyses Africa’s changing media, marketing and advertising landscape.
I believe that was only the beginning and a pathway to not only making a greater impact in the film making industry, but also in the marketing and advertising industry. So with that said, my future colleagues, as a Marketer, I am looking forward to working with you in future.
To all the stakeholders of The Leaders in Motion Academy, as young people, we are encouraged by brands and institutions that believe in the power of our dreams and are open to collaborating with the aim of helping us rewrite our own stories and that of the next generation.
To all the beneficiaries, after dropping out of architecture years ago and being unemployed, “dropout” was a label that best identified who I was, but today, here I stand, experiencing something totally different in my own career. My path going forward might look completely different, but what I have experienced in the past remains my strength and sometimes my source of content when the need arises.
I urge you not to wear your heartaches and past experiences on your face but rather draw from it to tell our stories. It reminds me of what my mother often says when encouraging us when we are at our lowest; she says: “regardless of having survived on the same meal for
weeks on end, the world doesn’t need to know. Tlhapa (take a bath), rwala heel (put on your heels), tshasa lipstick (wear your favorite lipstick) and show up.” For the creative industry, the type of shoes might be different and not necessarily heels. But I’m certain you catch my drift.
As the programme’s beneficiaries, you are here now, you have made it into the room, which is what matters the most. Do your best with every inch of you. Prepare for your next phase knowing that you could soon be called to step into your next NEXT. Don’t overdo it that you end up missing the current experience and the lessons that come with it. Make the most of this experience and remember that just as you were given the opportunity, you will have to open the door for those that come after you because to whom much is given, much is expected.
In closing, I would like to quote a media personality and an ex colleague of mine, Hulisani Ravele on a lesson that she continues to impart in her latest talks: Continue to hone your craft and get better by the day. The only regret that the people who present the next opportunity to you should have is “Why didn’t we open the door sooner for him or her”?
I wish you everything of the best in your journey, may the rewards and the outcomes exceed your expectations.