#teamvuvu: Mfuneko Toyana

The only dude in our class, Funi – the prodigal son, humoured me by answering my questions via correspondence this afternoon as he sat in a park somewhere and he didn’t get kidnapped while he did it, kudos.

Another selfie, this one with some foreground/background action - dlala Shakes Jnr. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Another selfie, this one with some foreground/background action – dlala Shakes Jnr. Photo: Mfuneko Toyana

Me: How would you describe your outfit today?

Funi: I’d describe it as very comfortable and simple. It’s grey and black, a bit bland but it works.

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

Funi: Um, apparently I start all my sentences with “um,” so um. When you asked the question I thought you meant my writing style not my dress style, so I’m going to answer both. My writing style is an inside joke and you could say that my dress sense is the same. It’s very chilled, relaxed, loose with an emphasis on comfort.

Me: Now on to the more serious, are you sure about this journalism thing?

Funi: I’m absolutely, 100% sure about journalism and I guess more widely about writing. But ya, very serious about journalism – it’s a calling and it takes time for you to understand what that means, I don’t fully understand what it will entail, but I’m all in.

Me: That said, if you weren’t doing what you doing this, what would you be doing?

Funi: I suspect I would be doing one of two things, I’d either be studying History or English Literature, probably a bit of both. Or I’d be in advertising, particularly as a copywriter or pushing a desk job as a marketer, which would be terrible, just doom.

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Funi: I’ve found it interesting I guess and useful. More than anything else it’s helped me develop a lot of discipline and be clear about what I want for the future. It’s also been very demanding, extremely demanding.

Me: What’s been the most challenging thing and the most rewarding thing for you this year?

Funi: The most challenging has been the discipline aspect I think. It’s taking what I want to do and what I have to do, and trying to combine those and have and end product. I think I’ve done okay with that though.


Hmmm, the most rewarding thing has been being able to write more and consequently being able to go out into the world more. I got to see different things and watch a whole lot of other situations and other people, and just be around journalists – journalists to be and working journalists. And the free food, the free food has been very rewarding for my belly and my tastebuds.

Me: Where will you be next year and what will you be doing?

Funi: Next year if the world doesn’t end, I’ll be at Wits for the first few months of the year, skivvy for the department – earning my stripes. For three months after that I’ll be at Reuters, watching the markets. Somebody told me it’s like bird watching except there’s no birds. Ya, I’ll be doing financial journalism at Reuters paying them back for school fees this year and I’m not sure what happens after that, hopefully I’ll be in a newsroom, that’s the main goal.

Me: How would you describe #teamvuvu in three words?

Funi: Fuck, that’s tough [these aren’t the words, I hope]. Uh, a whole lot of girls? *chuckles*. I’d day loud, ferocious – no, scratch ferocious, more tenacious than ferocious and very with it, hip , hipsters – yes, that’s how I would describe them.

A fourth word, I can’t believe I left this out very, very, very talented, above anything else. I guess it comes from the other three words.

Me: How did I feel being one of only two members of the opposite sex in the class?

Funi: It felt great, for the first couple of weeks even months. I guess I was excited to tell people that I’m in a class with 15 or 16 girls, depending on how you look at these things. But it was very interesting, I wouldn’t say challenging, who would be challenged by being in a class with 15 women? It brought a lot of insight, I got to be with these 15 very different women, with very different personalities, different opinions and very different ways of carrying themselves – of carrying their beauty, their inner light and their outer light [awwwwwwww]. It was fascinating to see how that all came across in the context of a newsroom, where we’re trying to produce something meaningful for the world outside. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing that and I thoroughly enjoyed the kind of relationships I was able to have and to attempt, because life is just one big attempt isn’t it?


There are a few negative side effects – I now scratch my non-existent breasts, because of monkey see monkey do situation. When you see me in public scratching non-existent C or D cups, don’t look down on me,  it’s not my fault.

Me: A word of advice for the incoming team for 2014?

Funi: Take this shit very seriously, take every day seriously, take close to every moment seriously. I’m not talking about a flippant sort of serious, I’m talking about taking this as a calling. More than anything honour your craft which means  understand what journalism is, read every day, be interested, be fucking curious, watch as much news as you can, keep dissecting things, write as much as you can. Be a geek about this shit because it is a calling and it’s a tremendous calling, ya don’t be an asshole about it – be a geek about it. That’s what it takes to be a championship journalist, like we were in 2013, thank you. No autographs *laughs*

[Thanks Will McAvoy].

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