#teamvuvu: Dineo Bendile

This lovely lady is one of my classmates from the  Bushbuckridge section of the class, who let me crawl under her Diana Ross hairstyle for a few minutes to do a quick interview with her.

Dineo in her Beyonce inspired outfit today. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Dineo in her Beyonce inspired outfit today. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Me: How would you describe your outfit/style for the day?

Dineo: I saw a picture of Beyonce last night wearing shorts and a loose fitting jersey and it inspired me. So basically Beyonce on a Budget.

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

Dineo: My style is very versatile. Right now I’m entering a new chapter of my life, so my style is more more laid back right now but trust me I am glam all the way otherwise. 

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

Dineo: I’m sure that I wanna work in the media. I don’t want to be a reporter on the field forever but I do want to work as a journalist for a year or so to start off with. 

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

Dineo: Leeching off some rich man. Seriously though, I studied drama so I’d probably be doing something in the arts. Or actually what people don’t know about me is that I love accounting, so maybe I’d be doing that. 

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Dineo: It’s been spectacular. With my last degree there were days when I hated what I was doing. This year I have never dreaded coming to school. This confirmed that I didn’t make a mistake choosing this course. I’ve also met amazing people, even when I’m having an offish day I know seeing them will change that. 

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

Dineo: The most challenging thing has been listening to lecturers advice. We work in a very creative environment, as such I thought we would be allowed to do whatever we want. So ya consulting people has been difficult for me because I like to do my own thing. 

The most rewarding thing has been seeing the work we do impact people’s lives and being recognised by outsiders. Earlier this year two guys stopped me in their cars, I thought they were trying to be fresh and were trying to make but they just said: “We like you in the Vuvuzela.”

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

Dineo: I have no idea, all I know is that I’m ready. I want to be anywhere that will allow me to use what I’ve learnt this year. 

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

Dineo:  All I’ll say is more personalities, more problems and more fireworks. 

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

Dineo: They should really cherish every moment of it, especially the moments of interaction with people. They should also be prepared to set aside their ‘set lives’ to explore and try different things. 

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#teamvuvu: Prelene Singh

So I’ve decided to do little profiles on the team. I keep talking about these people and might have pictures up of some, but want everybody to get to know the awesome individuals I have shared the year with.

It’s a bit tense in the newsroom right now, with most people finishing off their in-depth projects. I managed to find one focused lady who was done and dusted to humor me.  Miss Prelene Singh (aka Pre or Pre-Pre when we’re feeling extra silly).

The lovely "Pre-Pre" in the newsroom. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
The lovely “Pre-Pre” in the newsroom. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

*Disclaimer from Prelene: “If you had told me about this interview I would probably have different answers. people are going to think I’m so dumb.”

Me: How would you describe your outfit/style for day?

Prelene: This morning I actually thought about what I would wear. I was happy and relieved to be done with my in-depth so I’m wearing orange to show that.  Before this course style used to be important to me but it’s just gone down the drain, 10 steps back this year. 

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

Prelene: Yes. As a journalist you get to experience the world as no one else can or ever will. 

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

Prelene: *laughs* Um if I could come back as another person, I’d totally come back as Guiliana Rancic. Jokes. I’d come back as a writer, just an entertainment writer. 

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Prelene: Let’s put it this way, I would have lost more if I had not done this course. 

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

Prelene: The most challenging would have to be keeping my perseverance and dealing with the different personalities on the daily. 

The most rewarding is being recognised for the hard work I’ve done. 

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

Prelene: I have no idea *laughs*

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

Prelene: Talented, loud and unique. 

A beaut of a day

The excitement around yesterday had been brewing for a few days. We were positively buzzing when we finally hit the N1 South to Pretoria.

Our destination was a Buddhist temple in Bronkhorstspruit. I knew nothing about the place and had no scholastic interests there. I was going along for the experience and because I am a liker of things.

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Shandu and Thuli didn’t hold back when we took photo’s upon arrival. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

A few wrong turns delayed us a bit but when we finally found our way to Nan Hua Temple we realised that the long drive from Joho was worth it.

The bright red, green and gold trimmings on the Chinese architecture was breathtaking. I felt like I was on the set of every Chinese/Kung Fu movie I had ever seen. We went photo mad from the very minute we arrived. All of us so desperate to try and capture some of the beauty our words would fail to demonstrate later on.

Entrance to the main temple. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Entrance to the main temple. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

The very first thing I noticed was this graffiti on one of the arch’s pillars.

Really?! :/ Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Really?! :/ Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

It made me sad, that some inconsiderate people could not grant others the same religious freedom bestowed on them. It’s just crass. But all the while very telling innit?

Anyway that unpleasantness didn’t ruin the mood for long. Our guide Sipho was very helpful, he told us about everything from the architecture, to explaining some religious and cultural aspects of Buddhism.

Walking up to the main temple, a stilling calm washed over me and stayed with me for the duration of our tour. It was a really tranquil space. Being in the temple where the main shrines were was quite an experience.

The 2.5 metre high Buddha‘s were a magnificent sight. The ceilings breathtaking and the mood serene. In the temple I most enjoyed the playing of the echo drum and wooden fish. The sounds created an echo around the room that made one take in design aesthetics in a holistic way.

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The rest of the tour saw us eating a vegetarian lunch in absolute silence and meeting temple master Ven Hui-Xing, who was the most animated person I have ever met. He even gave us each a gift, what a great day indeed. Have a look at the links below for more on the day 🙂

Growing love affair

There’s just something really special about capturing a frozen moment in time. A look, a smile, a moment that would otherwise fade from your cerebral structures.

I remember the first time I got to do what I’d seen my dad do time and time again. I begged to get a disposable camera that I could take along to my very first school camp. It was yellow and black and the most valuable thing I had ever owned.  I was only ten so most of the pitcures were a mess.

Early morning shoot at the Chinese Police Forum. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Early morning shoot at the Chinese Police Forum. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

But so began a tradition. Every camp that rolled around saw me getting a little camera to take to camp. For me it was about documentation, about having visual aids that would support the stories I’d tell my family. Getting photos developed was the most exciting part of the experience because by then I had long forgotten what I’d managed to capture and the developed prints would be a pleasant surprise.

I knew I liked photos. That I like taking them, seeing them and being in them.

A few camps later and technological advancement had changed the game up. At about 14/15 digital camera’s had become commercially accessible.  Naturally I just had to have one. Who wouldn’t want to see their photo’s seconds after they’d taken them? It didn’t take much convincing to get my dad to buy me my first digital camera.

It was a thing of beauty. All those buttons and things that helped me not to miss.

Suddenly it became about more than smiley group photo’s. It became about landscapes and the extraordinary things that I saw around me. It became about the things that I wanted to capture. The things that I saw and how I saw them.

Over the years as the passion for the workings of the lens has grown, so has the need to do more than just capture frozen moments.

Now I want the composition,  the subject and back/foreground to tell a story. To do more than jog my memory. For the narratives to extend beyond the self.

I think that’s what I hope to do. I’m still learning and very keen to do so. Still trying to figure it out.

To see a little of what I have done so far, visit: therebble.tumblr.com 🙂

Best reads

Week two of in-depth hustling has come to a close, so let’s see what some of my comrades have been up to:

Encounters

There have been a number of encounters along this in-depth journey that have been interesting, surprising, disappointing and some enlightening.

Today I had three different encounters that served as a further peak into the Chinese diaspora in Johannesburg.  Well maybe not so much a peak but rather an actual front row seat.

The first was in the morning at the first meeting of the day. Shandu and I headed out to Randburg to meet the centre manager at China Discount Market. Upon pulling in to the parking lot, the grey and red walls seemed to be the only thing we could see. The parking lot was almost empty.

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Side piece

After a few stops and starts we sat down to talk to 26 year old Angelique Gu. She was very helpful and answered all our questions, even though our conversations were intetrupted quite often. The fifth and final interruption came from a man wearing an all black suit. He nodded in our direction and then went on to have  a whole chat with Angelique.  Then he sat down and his jacket exposed a silver gun tucked away in a holster on his hip. Two or three nervous glances later Shandu and I started packing up.

Slumber makes you fat

The next trip saw me heading out to old Chinatown with my group members Emelia and Prelene. While milling about before our interview,  Prelene and I walked into a cafe quickly. I yawned when we were paying and the lady helping us said: “You like sleep to much”. To which I replied well I do actually.  Then she went on to tell me that’s why I’m so big (she made a gesture with her arms to demonstrate my roundness). I laughed as one does when they are reminded of how they look. She then went on to tell me: “You too fat for your age. Sleep less, exercise more. Stop eating meat and only eat veg.” At which point she showed me a sample by taking a big mouthful of what looked like strips of  cucumber in a soup.  She licked her chopsticks to demonstrate how delicious her healthy lunch was. Chinese wisdom is blunt innit?

A historical affair

We had an interview with four generations of the Pon family – one of the oldest Chinese families in Johannesburg.  We met with the family at a noodle bar.

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Two black pigtails and the sweetest, cutest face were the highlight of my day. Four year old ballerina, Gabriella Pon had me from the moment she showed us her first ballet move. She was very excited to show everyone her new red tutu and very keen to pose for photos.

Not only is she a ballerina but she also speaks three languages fluently (Cantonese, Mandarin and English). And has the cutest wave. She made my day.

GALLERY: Breakthrough

The past two days have been the best, most productive, most informative that I’ve had since our in-depth journey has begun.

I meant a number of extremely helpful sources, who helped to give me an even clearer idea of where my story is heading. We also had our our Multimedia Pitch Meeting yesterday, ya that didn’t go so well for me. Have no solid idea’s to speak of but I am wracking my brain night and day trying to figure it out.

I could write up a report on the intricacies of the past two days but I’d rather show you why it was so awesome 🙂

GALLERY: We went on a field trip :D

As I mentioned in my last night, today my journalism class had a field trip. We went down to the old/new Chinatown in the city.  Today I choose to tell the day’s tales in a visual manner, enjoy.

ps – a few others are up on my photo blog: therebble.tumblr.com