A whole new world…

Highway window “… a new fantastic point of view,” and what a view it is. It may not look it really, but the journey that has led me to this big big window on the left, in a smallish seaside town in England has not been without great difficulty, doubt and sacrifice – enough to make me grateful enough to have a multipurpose window which serves as my nifty side table and a perfect place to people-watch while seated in my not so comfy single bed.

Last year around this time, I was desperately unhappy and trying to leave my job as a reporter which was, for the most part, a great instigator of that unhappiness. I couldn’t see beyond the black fog that I had to fight my way through just to get to work and perform on any given day. At the same time, I had also just received my letter from Chevening, inviting me to attend an interview at the British Consulate General in Cape Town. I had applied for the scholarship four months prior and had already been accepted at two of the three universities I had applied to. In retrospect, things were going as they should, but I just couldn’t see it that way at the time.

My parents, bless them, journeyed to Cape Town to try to talk me off the crazy resignation ledge I was obsessed with at that point, trying to talk me into sticking out for a few more months. They used a week in February, the week of my 28th birthday to convince me to wait for my final scholarship results before blowing my life up and deciding to be unemployed on their couch  – again.

We spent that week crisscrossing this little part of the Western Cape to get to Cape Agulhas, the Winelands and the city bowl – I had just a week to show them all my favourite things from this place I had called home for three years at that point.

Birthyay-83
Three amigos – Mama, Papa and I.

While I didn’t quite agree with them on the waiting it out bit at work, as luck would have it, I was forced to see out my lease at the apartment I was renting before calling it a day – it’s just four months I told myself, June is just here, it will go by like a breeze. Ha!

The months that followed felt like an agonizing crawl with no end in sight. Luckily for me at that point, I had been interviewed and shortlisted for my scholarship which gave me something to hold on to. When the time came I finally quit my job with no assurances about my schooling yet, but with the biggest hunger for space to breath and think without a story being the point of it. So I moved back to Pretoria with my half baked hopes and the promise of peace. It ended up being three full months of realignment, restoration and complete rest. It was just what I needed before the long-awaited email came in July that said I was going to move to the UK in just a month to pursue my master’s degree. I chose MA in Digital Documentary programme at the University of Sussex in southern England.

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I AM CHEVENING

Meeting some of the other Chevening scholars at a briefing event at the British High Commissioner’s residence just before we left South Africa, was the official start of this electrifying journey I have now been on for the last six months. I was clearly in very good company and have gone on to make some really good friends with some of the talented bunch.

Now, I have already conquered the first semester and passed all my subjects; refamiliarised myself with editing software and video equipment and last but not least been on a few little trips in the UK. At this point, I have even lost count of the number of trains I have taken from Brighton to London, as without fail there is some or other event there with my name on it at least once a month. Whether be it personal or professional each seminar, show or party have been some of the highlights of my time here so far. I have now spent a Rugby World Cup, a Christmas, a New Years Eve and as of this week a birthday here. I am grateful for the things that have aligned to make this journey possible and making sure I am making the most of my time here, soaking up all there is to learn and living as intentionally as possible. And that’s what this post is all about – I’m realising now how quickly this experience is going by and want to write about it on a more regular basis so I can remember it in more vivid detail than and not have to depend on scrolling back on my phone’s camera roll in future.

 

BTS: A trolley full of outtakes

A short behind the scenes look at the shoot for the VAT story I just posted. There were many more takes, TV isn’t as easy as it looks.

The effort it took from a technical point of view, had a bit of a workout pushing around the 100kg’s that is Kyle Haffajee.

Groot trek

In a surprise turn of events that happened very very quickly, I have moved to Cape Town. I somehow managed to land myself a mad cool job as a reporter at eNCA and packed up my life to do so.

It’s been a month since I started working for the news channel and living near the mountain and I can tell I am going to love it here. I’m sure it will be a tumultuous relationship with me and this place that was (is) the epicentre of the violence of 1652 onward.

But I needed the change, Joho was strengthening it’s choke-hold on me and for the first time in a long while I can breath easy. This is the part where I stop and force you to look at my work – will “press” stories I am particularly proud of working on henceforth. Kbye.

 

 

 

Because, the interweb

I  took part in a blog-a-thon a few weeks ago. This is what I came up with in the hour and a half we were given. I chose the topic “digital nomad” and employed free writing principles to get the post done in that time frame. 

Hi I’m Pheladi and I’m an  interweb slore.

It started at the tender age of 16 when I was persuaded to open up a Facebook account in 2007. I didn’t really know what it was but the more I gave of myself the more I liked it. I moved there permanently a month later when I uploaded my first album. I did it on the sly in the computer room at the school’s library.

Soon enough I invited people over to live with me and when I got a new phone my new shelter went everywhere with me. The other places on the interwebs just didn’t have the same allure. Emails were cold, Hi5 left an abandoned building along with MySpace once FB took over.

When rent became cheaper circa 2009 my parents finally smelt the roses of the millennia and got us internet at “home”. This is when my relationship status changed, to “in a relationship” for the first time.

The first thing I did when I woke then was check for new FB activity. In the car on the way to school I ignored my dad’s random unfunny jokes to see how many new likes I had since I posted my hilarious yet tragic new status. At school we posed for photo’s behind what now seems like ginormous camera’s to be posted later that night. We picked on each other via comments – someone’s humiliation bringing out the snark that I suppose was always brimming on the surface.

Until then I had really only cheated on FB once, with Mxit – but I’m not sure that that counts, I used that for my private life, not my interwebs life (there’s a difference).

I became a real slore when I went to varsity. I was a media student, a gateway drug to the interwebs. I had clearly left Kansas and even learnt what an interweb slore is via the wireless tentacles that kept pulling me in.

Let me school you

  • Interweb(s) – Derived from the real word ‘internet’. I learnt this word on black twitter. Timeline unknown (unremembered really).
  • Slore – An adjective of sorts, combines the word “slut” and “whore” to mean ultra promiscuous. First heard on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, streamed live via free varsity data.

FB was my main chick, but I had an insatiable appetite that needed to be filled. I saw YouTube on the way to lunch with a friend, I introduced myself and we hit it off. I had just gone through a bad break up on FB which made it difficult to stay loyal (don’t get me wrong I was on everyday – it just hurt) – so YouTube provided all the happiness I required, especially the musical kind.

Twitter was love at first site, I was shy at first because (s)he was already with so many of my other friends, that and the fact that I think everything is lame until I try it. We took it slow at first (aka I trolled other people’s timelines for “research”). I made the first move as @sista_rebz – 5 months later and 5 000 tweets later we were practically married. At which point my slightly advanced Nokia got stolen by two white “plumbers” and I got degraded to tweeting from twitter for mobile. I spent about R200 on airtime a week to keep up the all-consuming union.

I also suffered a tremendous blow to my twitter image, everyone was tweeting from “twitter for Blackberry” by then. But there I was tweeting “via mobile” but who said socks with sandals isn’t cool – not me because I still managed to keep up with the BB kids hitting the 10 000 tweet mark in under year of joining.

The exposure to things and stuff on other people’s timelines pushed me into a digital wormhole I may never escape from. It started with starting something new with some new .com every other month. I began IM’ing, skyping, tumblring, checking in on foursquare, feeding my brain with wiki leaks (or forced spills if you will), listening to sounds on the clouds, trying to be “profesh” by linking in and and and.

All these things I am now on (with) help me in my professional life as a journalist. I’ve since lost contact with what was my first love – I keep FB close, an app on my homepage even but that’s about it. The need for likes wore off when I got to know him/her better. Juggling these other loves is difficult and data consuming but I stay stumbling upon, flipping boards, sending grams and +1’ing because, the interweb.

 

Where I’m at

That headline is probably a grammatical sin of note but I’m 23 and kind of cool so let’s just be strong.

So I have been a working girl for a few months now and figured it’s time to say something about that.

The Job

I am currently working at The Citizen newspaper, as you can tell from the infrequent posts I manage to put up. I’m an intern at the daily paper and I rate so far so good.

I have managed to end up on the front page a few times – which is really very flattering. I’m fortunate to be working somewhere where I am allowed to do that – most interns don’t really get the opportunity to write as frequently as I do. Most people do the things senior journos are “above doing” – making phone calls, rewriting press releases that kind of thing.

I almost feel guilty that I have all this freedom to do pretty much any and everything while some of my friends are on the press release end of the spectrum (note: I have nothing against press releases I use them as well just not enough to want to die yet).

On the other hand I feel like I was NEVER ready for a daily newspaper – life here is really fast. Sometimes it feels like I’m on a rotating conveyer belt – type, file, type, file, type, file – on and on. What doesn’t kill you right?

The money

Being in the working world, paying my own way through life has taught me a few things about myself. Initially I was like “who would ever use this much money in a month? Losers.”

In the beginning I could not spend it all, I saved some, spent more and carried over the rest. Then I decided it was time to invest in things I really needed, a new camera and laptop. It didn’t seem like that much money at the time but soon that coupled with careless social spending, ever increasing petrol prices brought me back to reality.

Last week I ended up with R40 and only enough petrol to go to work before pay day – it was the worst feeling (I’m very liberal with hyperbolic speech). I suppose I have to learn how to budget now. Having money is nice but it makes everything look shiny and like something I “need”.

The social/not so social life

Coming into journalism everyone warned me about not having a life. Something which I experienced a bit last year when I was doing my honours at Wits – I became the friend who cancelled plans last minute and was always late to things. I suppose last year I didn’t feel it as much because my classmates became a huge part of making up for the nonexistent social life.

This year, without them things are different. I do go out when I can but I mostly just want to sleep. Everyone works now so making plans, finding times that fit is another struggle – because you know they have boyfriends and things.

Then I go to stories and other journos know eachother and I just play candy crush to pass time. I suppose I didn’t count on the loneliness when I decided I want to work in the media (to paraphrase Fitzgerald Grant).

The Newsroom 2.4

The time I used to dread and now look forward to has finally come. This is my last week interning at the Wits Vuvuzela. It is time for us to hand over our baby to the new students and hope they raise her right.

As that happens I’m heading out into the big bad world full of daily deadlines, long nights and probably on my way to becoming a social recluse. As of next week I’ll start working in a “real” newsroom (as opposed to the simulated one I’ve been working in). For the longest time that has been something that’s quite scary to me but now after these two months back at Wits, I’m very ready and in fact keen to leave my comfort zone and take on this new challenge.

It was interesting to get to see the new students, knowing that a year ago I was in their shoes. I got to watch them in a retrospective manner, seeing who I used to be before I was moulded into shape by this course. At this point there’s nothing more we can do to prepare for what’s about to come. I can only hope that those I have had a hand in mentoring take those lessons and use them effectively.

Here’s a short but not so short audio recording of my last goodbye:

The Newsroom 2.3

Oi vay, another week another neglected post. This space is staring to resemble the empty pages of my diary that I somehow imagine my memory won’t fail me when the time to write everything down comes.

I’ve had a fairly chilled two weeks, doing this and that for the paper. This week the new lot got a bit more hands on with their writing and with helping to produce the paper. It took me back to exactly a year ago when we were going through the same thing. Having the same doubts, the unbridled enthusiasm and excitement to be doing what we love everyday. It’s nice to watch the process from this side of the fence.

I’ve written quite a bit over the past two weeks, put up the one’s I was particularly proud of up on this site already. Our time in the Vuvuzela newsroom is speedily drawing to a close. It’s both exciting and scary at the same time. But it is time, for the new lot to start taking charge of our baby and for us to let go – hand over the reigns and start being the journalists we’ve been trained to be.

The Newsroom 2.2

The past week in the newsroom has been so hectic that I didn’t manage to get around to this post until now. We had a lot on our plates, resulting in the production of a great edition of the Wits Vuvuzela.

Did some very interesting stuff, some ruffling a few feathers even:

We were also busy over the weekend with a workshop with some students working with One World Media. They are in the country trying to produce feature pieces on various topics. We helped where we could by answering questions they had about how and where to start with their stories. They were a lovely bunch, with interesting projects – I look forward to seeing their work in a few months.