Marshall arts

NOTE: Article first appeared in The Citizen newspaper on August 14, 2014. 

Sitting on a black leather couch in a tent on a farm in Limpopo, 42-year-old singer-songwriter Chan Marshall – also known as Cat Power – shared some intimate details of her life.

Marshall had just come off stage after her first appearance at Oppikoppi on Saturday, a performance on the Bruilof stage that saw fans shout words of encouragement when the sound equipment was not working properly.

Cat Power (Chan Marshall) on the Bruilof stage at Oppikoppi Odyssey on 09/08/2014
Cat Power (Chan Marshall) on the Bruilof stage at Oppikoppi Odyssey on 09/08/2014. Picture: Pheladi Sethusa

Between constantly apologising for the staccato nature of her performance, Marshall had to change the sound on the amplifier, sing into two microphones and figure out how to work a keyboard she had never played by herself – a visibly nerve-racking experience.

“I always have stage fright,” she says.

It’s a situation that’s not entirely foreign to Marshall, though in the past her erratic performances have been attributed to problems with alcohol and drugs. “People used to say ‘Oh, did you go see the train wreck?’” she says.

She does admit to having had a drug problem a while ago after her partner passed away.

“I chose it every day and I knew what I was doing every day. It wasn’t me being oblivious. I was riding that train because I couldn’t take the pain of losing the love of my life.”

Marshall wished the women in the audience a happy Women’s Day while on stage, and spoke about feminism afterwards.

“A lot of times women don’t have the simple, casual dignities that men have as their birthright,” she says.

“I’m called a feminist because I protect myself from someone else trying to get something from me,” she says.

Marshall’s latest album, Sun, was produced independently, using the singer’s life savings.

“I had to make a choice between what the label wanted me to do and what I knew I could do myself, and the album made the top 10,” she says.

She performed at the Baxter Concert Hall last week, a performance she had asked for in December when she came back after Nelson Mandela passed and she witnessed “social change” that inspired her.

Marshall intends to return to Cape Town next January to write about the experiences she has had in the city over the years.

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Race (still, probably always will) matter(s)

In light of the blackface incident involving two Tuks students last week, I asked TO Molefe a few quick questions on the matter. He indulged me with the most enlightened and thorough answers anyone has ever left in my inbox. As such, I figured I should share and let his words hit you with some knowledge.

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

 

Q:The two girls have now been expelled from res but not the University. Do you think this action was appropriate? If so why and if not why?

A: I think the university needs to follow due process as such decisions on individual students’ fates can’t and shouldn’t be arbitrated based on public sentiment. Hopefully UP already has in place an objective process to assess infringements of its student code of conduct and to assign the appropriate sanction(s). I personally do not believe punitive measures like expulsion are necessarily the best way to handle things, but like I said, the university should be following whatever pre-established protocols it has in place to deal with these situations.

The unfortunate thing about UP’s response to this incident is, as I said in my column, is that it singles out the two young women’s behaviour as an exception. They should definitely be held individually accountable, but the university, too, needs to examine its role in allowing such behaviours and attitudes to go unchecked among its student body. The university needs to use this example as the motivation for a compulsory education programme that uses South African history to teach about prejudice and oppression, particularly racism, sexism and sexuality. Right now they seem to be panicking because of all the public scrutiny directed towards them.

Q: In your opinion what was problematic about the girls dress?

A: For me it is pretty clear cut: If, when you think “domestic worker”, the first thing that comes to mind is black women with big lips and behinds, you’re playing on a racist stereotype of black women’s bodies and a long-held belief in that such bodies are the ones best suited to domesticity. Your intention is to poke fun at black women. It is racist and sexist. It is what queer scholar Moya Bailey calls misogynoir (anti-black misogyny).

 

Q: Some have said they the girls were having harmless fun, much like Leon Schuster. What are your thoughts on that line of thinking?

A: I think anybody who thinks the girls were having harmless fun has chosen not to think at all about what their performance tells us about the cycle of servitude millions of black women are trapped in, many from birth. The two young UP students probably grew up in a house where a black woman cleaned up after them and took care of them. That woman has daughters of her own who, without some kind of intervention, will probably have few work options other than to become domestic workers, too. And chances are that woman’s mother was also a domestic worker. We’ve seen this in the mines where low-paying manual-labour jobs ensnare generations of a single family.

Yet, these two girls, when asked to imagine a domestic worker, a figure that has been a feature of their whole lives, they imagined a stereotype instead of a real human being. These two girls will probably go on to hire domestic workers for their own homes when they grow up. And I imagine it will be difficult for them to find it within themselves to pay their domestic workers a living wage if they can’t imagine them as human beings in all their complexity.

What I’m saying is that the dehumanising way in which the girls imagined domestic workers is how many people imagine domestic workers. And that dehumanising imagining is directly linked to why many domestic workers in this country have never been and are not paid a living wage.

 

Q: Black comedians make it a point to talk about race in their sets – do you think the way they do it is helpful or harmful?

A: I think it’s great when black comedians talk about race. I think it’s great when anybody talks about it. However, for something that is so divisive, race is generally poorly understood. And even those of us who read, write and think about it every day have to keep our wits about us when dealing with it out of a fear that we might be reinforcing misconceptions about race and promoting racial prejudice. I’m not sure how many South African comedians and satirists exercise this kind of thoughtfulness or care.

This might be a bit utilitarian of me, but the objective of talking about race should be to expose its contradictions, and to subvert people’s deeply held misconception that race has no social significance. (I think most of us by now are comfortable with the idea that race isn’t a biological reality in the sense that it was once believed to determine traits such as intelligence, athletic ability and creativity.) Comedy is a great way to challenge people’s ideas about themselves and the world, but only if the comedian has stopped to think about whether they are repeating and reinforcing stereotypes, or subverting it. There are too many comedians doing the former because it’s easy and because the latter is hard and takes tremendous skill to pull off while being funny.

 

Q: Lastly, have you seen the trailer for Dear White People set for release later this year. Do you think the South African audience has the capacity to engage with the movie meaningfully?

A: I have seen the trailer. I am ambivalent about the movie’s relevance in South Africa. I mean, we will definitely see parallels to situations here. But, although related, the contexts and histories are a little different. Because of that, I am hesitant to adopt American (or other) anti-racist narratives wholesale. We have a rich history of anti-racist thought and activism here that I think we’re making too little use of. So, I don’t think there is a need here for black people to address white people as this movie does. Instead, I think what this country needs right now is a “Dear Black People” written, directed and produced through an immersion in black consciousness thought.

Boom. Basically.

New contender in the arena

Third year law student, Zareef Minty, is the national youth president for businessmen Kenny Kunene and Gayton McKenzie’s new political party, the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

The slight looking 20-year-old Minty, who is also a fashion designer said the PA was youth-centred and had a strong focus on giving second chances to the reformed, like two of its own founders.

Second chances and new alliances

“If Nelson Mandela could have that chance to be reformed (sic) coming out of jail and having an opportunity, then we should allow Kunene and Gayton to have the same thing.

UGGLING: National youth president for the Patriotic Alliance, Zareef Minty, explains how he manages between being a law student, political figure, fashion designer and author.                                                                         Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
JUGGLING: National youth president for the Patriotic Alliance, Zareef Minty, explains how he manages between being a law student, political figure, fashion designer and author. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

“In the same way a student has been charged with something should be allowed to have a future as well,”  said Minty.

“Ex-cons” Gayton McKenzie, president of the PA and general secretary Kenny Kunene, met each other in jail and following their release in 2003, became business partners.

Minty met the two through his clothing line partnership, after Kunene was asked to be an ambassador for Minty’s own fashion label, Self Made Billionaire (SMB). “Kunene liked the idea of an up and coming clothing brand worn by celebrities,” said Minty.

Youth-centric

He said the party also included more young people in its decision-making. He said four of the party’s 12-member national executive committee were under the age of 25.

“We are the only party out there who allows youth to have a platform in the NEC. The ANC and the Democratic Alliance has a separate Youth League so you don’t get young people in parliament,” he said.

Minty is sixth on the PA’s parlimentary list, which means if they manage to get six seats after the national elections this year, he could be sitting in parliament and not in stuffy lecture rooms.

The party’s focus on the youth and a “practical approach” to politics are what Minty believes will make the PA “a better alternative to the ANC”, which he said was policy heavy with little to no implementation thereof.

He believes that PA would be able to relate mostly to the born-frees because it was a party that did not  have any “baggage”.

Campaign trail

The PA’s campaign trail on campus has come with its own set of issues, “Until we have permission to be a club or society on campus we can’t really go out in a group and recruit people. We have been working by going person to person, trying to get them to join,” he said.

The PA, often referred to as the “coloured” or “gangster party”, was founded in Paarl in the Western Cape three months ago and plans to contest in the upcoming elections.

Minty said they have a good chance of having up to six seats in parliament after this year’s elections.

Minty is treasurer of the Wits Law Students’ Counsel and the chairperson of the Student Discipline Committee, which influenced his alignment with the PA and their belief in reforming and empowering the previously charged.

Before the PA, he was part of the ANC Youth League on campus where he took up position as treasurer but the PA presented him with an opportunity for national leadership

Along with the multitude of things Minty has on his plate this year, he plans to publish a motivational book, Empireby March.  Let’s watch this space.

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#teamvuvu: Thuletho Zwane

The Pig's mayor in the house.
The Pig’s mayor in the house.

Thule [with an “e”, not to be confused with Thuli with an “i”] was one of the older women in the class, reppin’ the senior citizen’s wing [other members being Funi and Emelia]. She was the mayor of the Pig and [unsurprisingly] did this interview while at her fave watering hole.

Me: How would you describe your outfit today?

Thule: I’m wearing white wedges, a white dress and shades. I’m dressed for this hot, summer weather.

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

Thule: Laid back, relaxed and no fuss. When I have to fuss, red lips do the trick.

Me: Now that we’ve broken the ice, are you sure about this journalism thing?

Thule: Very [Probably even more so, now that she’s an award winning journalist ;)]

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

Thule: By this do you mean answering these questions or studying Journalism? If I wasn’t answering these questions right now, I would be drinking my wine without any interruptions. But if ‘by this’ you mean studying Journalism, I would be an economist.

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Thule: Fun. I’ve explored ideas and places I would have never explored like Kitcheners Comedy Nights on Tuesdays, Melville, Orlando East and West. [This answer :”D]

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

Thule: Waking up on Fridays, being scolded by the VC,  reporting on Wits issues and the media – these were the most challenging things this year.

 

The most rewarding things were waking up on Fridays to attend Anton Harber’s classes and being scolded by the VC for reporting on Wits issues and the media [hahahahaha, oh the irony].

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

Thule: I’ll be at City Press next year, doing journalism kinds of stuff like being a journalist and doing what journalists do. Hopefully wearing shoes is part of that [I fear the wine drinking may have begun shortly after question 3]

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

Thule: Loud, loud and great.

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

Thule: Be loud, loud and great.

 

Quickfire Q & A

 

[Unfortunately I’m experiencing some technical difficulties, my sound refuses to convert and some of it is MIA. So we’ll give multimedia a skip this time around.]

 

Me: Who is your favourite author/writer?

Thule: James Ngugi [aka Ngugi wa Thiong’o]

Me: Who is your favourite musician/band?

Thule: Esperanza Spalding [winning]

Me: Your favourite place to eat and thing to eat at that place?

Thule: Since starting this course, the Pig. I love their chicken schnitzel and salad for R26 [bargain].

Me: What do you like to do when no one is watching?

Thule: I think…

#teamvuvu: Nokuthula Manyathi

iThuli or Thuli with an ‘i’ is another native from the Ridge. She is however a nomad, who travelled to Diepsloot every evening and on weekends. This Oprah stan is the personification of the phrase dynamite comes in small packages.

Looking summer fresh.
Looking summer fresh.

Me: How would you describe your outfit today?

Thuli: Summery (is there such a word?)

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

Thuli: Clean and casual

Me: Are you sure about this journalism thing?

Thuli: Yes, I am. In my  16+ years of being in the school system I have never felt more at home then I do now.

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

Thuli: I’ve never seen myself doing anything that doesn’t involve people. I’d be doing something that involves interacting with people on a daily basis, like teaching.

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Thuli: This year has been amazing. Everyday even on my worst day I was excited to come to class. I don’t remember bunking or skipping a day of school. This year a fire was ignited or a passion within me that I hadn’t thought I had. I’m generally excited about the future but this year took my excitement level about the future to another level. I’m in love.

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

Thuli: I’m not a writer. I express myself best verbally. So I was challenged in that I had to explain/express my thoughts and concepts on paper. When I arrived I was very insecure about my writing I would spend days on one story to try make it perfect but now(because of practice) I file stories faster and people understand what I’ve written which is a big win for me. This was both a challenge and reward. (Oh and live tweeting used to kick my ass).

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

Thuli: Next year I’ll be at City Press here in jozi. I’m really excited to be challenged and to be pushed to the edge. I can’t wait to be pushed into the deep end and see myself swim cause that’s the only option I’ve given myself.

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

Thuli: Passionate, visionaries, extended family

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

Thuli: Enjoy boot camp that’s the most time free time you will have in afternoons to have a social life. What you put in is what you will get out. Your growth is dependent on what YOU are willing to give. Don’t stress, even the “experienced writers” in class are insecure about their work. Take every opportunity.

Quickfire Q & A: 

#teamvuvu: Liesl Frankson

Liesl [pronounced lee-sil] has been of the most feisty and sassy people in our class this year. I will miss our early morning banter and conversations through looks.

Holiday mode: ON. Just shopping, chilling.
Holiday mode: ON. Just shopping, chilling.

Me: How would you describe your outfit today?

Liesl: It’s inspired by the sunny weather. The heat especially, that’s why I’m wearing shorts and a very thin, loose, flowy top.

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

Liesl: I wear whatever feels comfortable. I’m very driven by the weather. I would hate to be inappropriately dressed for the weather.

Me: On to the less frivolous, are you sure about this journalism thing?

Liesl: I’m sure about it to a certain extent. I think you can’t lose when you study Journalism. Print maybe not so much, radio is definitely more of my thing.

Me: If you weren’t doing what you doing this, what would you be doing?

Liesl: Um, I would be doing this, there’s no other way. When I applied for this course it was Wits Journalism or bust. I didn’t apply for anything else because this is all I wanted to do.

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Liesl: Challenging but fun.

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

Liesl: Being in a class with a whole lot of other females with their personalities has by far been the most challenging thing for me. I had to hold my tongue a lot of the time.

 

The most rewarding thing has been getting to know these people and getting to see your work in the newspaper. Also getting to see the newspaper being acknowledged, getting awards and stuff [#winning]

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

Liesl: I still don’t know, it’s bad.

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

Liesl: Very loud, almost like a family – that’s not three words but ya, like a family because everybody had their roles, so there were mother hens, there were big sister types ya.

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

Liesl:  Take everything very seriously, everything you do is going to count. So when they say rock up there with however many stories to pitch, you need to have those stories cause that shit counts

Quickfire Q&A: 

#teamvuvu: Leigh-Ann Carey

Leigh-Ann (aka LA, yes as in Reid) is another migrant from the Ridge, who later got her life together and moved to Diepsloot, dankie ANC.

Me: How would you describe your outfit today?

LA:  Today I’m wearing shorts, a crop top and flops. I think I look pretty cool. I’m also rocking my afro and chunky earrings. 

Holiday's treating home girl best. Photo: Provided
Holiday’s treating home girl best. Photo: Provided

 

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

LA: I wear comfortable clothing, um a mixture of vintage and retro. Anything that’s cheap and looks good on me, that’s on the vintage side is what I’d describe as my style.

Me: On to the less frivolous, are you sure about this journalism thing?

LA: I know for a fact that I don’t wanna do politics and print journalism, I’m more of a radio person. Radio is a passion, it comes easy to me and I feel at home when doing it. I mean, I’m pretty sure that I can write but I just don’t want to be writing for like City Press, unless I’m doing writing that isn’t political or hard news.

Me: If you weren’t doing what you doing this, what would you be doing?

LA: I would be doing my honours in advertising at UJ. I got accepted for that, so I would have been doing that.

Me: How have you found your honours year?

LA: It’s been extremely hectic, a whole lot of reading, writing for Vuvu, trying to read in between – um – trying to socialise as well. So many things have suffered because of the hectic schedule.

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

LA: Finding my style of writing has been challenging. I think with journ everywhere you go people or organisations have an idea as to how you should write, I guess that’s one of things that make me think I don’t ever want to be a writer. Not that I wouldn’t ever wanna be a writer, but I feel like you constantly change your style to adapt to a publications style. Like this year I had to write according to Vuvu style and if I went to another publication next year, I would have to write in their style, so it’s like I don’t even know what my style is because I’m forced to adapt to so many writing styles.

 

I’ve learnt so many things this year. I’ve learnt how to make sense of a story, what to include, what to write. I think my writing skills have definitely improved, without a doubt. That’s been the most rewarding thing. I think the assurance that this is either what I want to do or not, made me learn a lot about myself as well.

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

LA: I’ll be working at CNBC Africa, I don’t know what I’m gonna be doing. They asked me what I wanted to do and I said anything apart from writing, so I could do events, PR, maybe try my hand at graphics, ya.

Me: How would you describe #teamvuvu class of 2013?

LA: We had a lot of big personalities, just a different bunch of people. Some people had some sort of “deeper passion” for journ, whereas some people were just trying to learn how to become journalists, whereas other people were actually serious I guess.

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

LA: Don’t lose yourself.  I think people assume you’re a better writer if you’re spying and reporting on the fact that Jacob Zuma has a side chick [hahaha], that’s not who you are. If that’s not what you want to write about don’t force yourself to write about it and don’t feel stupid for wanting to write entertainment stories or stories about make-up. Ya, don’t lose yourself for a career, it should come naturally. We are all different kinds of writers. 

#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].

#teamvuvu: Sibusisiwe Nyanda

Today you get to meet the stunning, Busi/Sibu. Another one of the awesome people from teamvuvu 2013.

Sibusisiwe Nyanda looking gorg. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Sibusisiwe Nyanda looking gorg. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Me: How would you describe your outfit today?

Busi: Summery, fun. It has a little touch of class, it’s a little chic.

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

Busi: I think my style in general is representative of the above. I like to look cute and pretty but there’s always a sense of my personal style in that. While I’m interested in what’s trending and what’s hot, I think it’s always important to have your own sense of style. I actually like a lot of my mom’s stuff, her style is on point.

Me: Now that we’ve broken the ice, are you sure about this journalism thing?

Busi: To be honest with you, I’m sure that journalism is still something that I love. I’m just not sure that journalism is something that I would be good at and that scares me. I know that it’s got a lot to do with, you know, how I performed this year – I don’t think that I put myself out there and gave it as much as I could have. And that’s led to my questioning whether or not this is something I can do. I don’t question whether or not I love it, I question my ability to actually do it as well as I’d like to.

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

Busi: I would definitely be doing music. When I left high school I wanted to go to UCT and do music and my parents were just like listen, no – get a real career. That’s how I ended up doing Media Studies and Journalism. I’m still interested in doing music at some point in my life.

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Busi: It’s been challenging, demanding but it’s also been the best year of all my studying. Um, I’ve met awesome people and I feel like I’ve been exposed to the kind of practical, how to you apply theory stuff that I’ve always spoken about. When I started in my first year, I expected Media Studies to be like Journalism and I felt like it was a great waste of time when all that theory was being thrown at me without any place to actually apply it. I think in hindsight it was useful but this year has definitely been the best year. It’s been that kind of put yourself in the deep end and swim type of year, and I’ve loved that.

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

Busi: The most challenging thing has been the Monday pitches. Having to always have your brain switched on and have your finger on the pulse on what’s happening in the community, to be able to come back with something on Monday morning with an idea of what you’re going to put in the paper and making sure that it’s relevant.

The kind of feedback we get from people has been rewarding. People who like the stories that you put out or even for me, what matters more is my own peers telling me “that was cool, I liked the way you did this, I liked the way you did that”. To have your peers respect and admire some of the stuff that you’ve done, when you all started out knowing absolutely nothing was really rewarding for me.

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

Busi: I’m going to be an intern-journalist at Drum magazine, in Sandton.

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

Busi: Loud, opinionated and trailblazers. This has been the group that decided that just because this is how things have been done all this time doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Where some of the traditions and structures made sense I think the group conceded but where things didn’t, this group wasn’t afraid to speak out. Whether it was in the department or in terms of Wits  and the community’s attitude towards certain issues – this has just been that group. I think that’s really important because that’s what the industry needs, so ya.

[how quickly  3 words can turn into 100 :P]

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

Busi: Don’t pay attention to people who tell you that what you’re doing is a waste of time, because half the time you’ll find that those people are applying for the course anyway. Where there’s constructive criticism, definitely yield towards it and listen. But make sure that you aren’t paying attention to people who have shallow, empty criticism. Those are just people who have too much time on their hands. Also try not to compete with each other as a group. Have fun yo, enjoy your time here – it’s over before you know it.

#teamvuvu: Shandukani Mulaudzi

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Shandu in the stu. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Shandukani Mulaudzi is our class rep, our problem child and also my boo thang. Have a read to hear what’s popping with my neighbour.

Me: How would you describe your outfit today?

Shandu: Humpf, it’s bright, casual and comfy?

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

Shandu: People like to say it’s alternative, boho chic or whatever but I don’t like those words. I don’t have a word to describe my style, I just dress for myself and for the mood I’m in. My style icon is Solange Knowles.

Me: Now that we’ve broken the ice, are you sure about this journalism thing?

Shandu: Defo’s. I’ve waited to do journ since I was in grade 10 (2005) but I had to take a bit of a detour for a while. I really can’t see myself anywhere else.

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

Shandu: Vokken hell, um singing on a stage  or acting. Whatever it would be it would be something creative.

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Shandu: Everything I expected and much more. I’ve learnt a lot, but I didn’t expect to make friends and not just any friends the kind of friends that will be at my wedding one day.

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

Shandu: The most challenging thing has been having to call out my mentors when they were wrong. Cause they are wrong sometimes and in those times you have to stand your ground.

The most rewarding thing has been being able to work alone and in groups without it being forced on us. Through working in groups I have learnt to trust people and to embrace mine and others strengths and weaknesses.

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

Shandu: I’m going to be a young intern at You magazine in Sandton.

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

Shandu: *laughs for a while* Ambitious, musical and extroverted.

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

Shandu: Don’t compare yourselves to teamvuvu 2013, you’ll come short. They should just know that what they put into the year is what they will get out. Also they should try to apply themselves in everything that is put before them. And bloody hell go to the Pig. Learn to balance work and play now.