South Africa is a country full of amazing people, who have a rich history, exciting stories and lived experiences to share. Our diverse community of creatives is no different, they hold incredible tales of struggle, triumph, tragedy and great success.

The aim of our new Podcast Series ‘Backroom’ is to check-in with our alumni members and hear the unique stories that have landed them at our doorstep and find out where life has led them after their time at Umuzi. Our very first guest is Thohoyandou born and raised Michael ‘Mikey’ Mashila Mashau.

When Mikey made the brave move to Johannesburg two years ago, he only had R200 in his pocket, a one way bus ticket to Park Station, a blanket, a bag and big aspirations that his journey would make his dreams come true.

As with most things in life, Mikey’s ambition came with great adversity. But that has never stood in the way of his fierce determination which motivated him to build a passionate career in Digital Marketing. His gift has always been about building relationships, and this has inspired a lot of people to open their hearts and spaces to support his dream.

uMalume & Mikey Mashila during The Backroom Interview at the Umuzi.Org studios.

Mikey’s self sufficiency also challenged him to remember that he was destined for greater things. At one stage in his life, when he was homeless for about three weeks, he was forced to have a moment of self-reflection that demanded him to make a drastic change in his life.

Not being one who shies away from a challenge, Mikey’s journey has been truly uplifting to our growing community. Affectionately known as the  ‘Digital God’, a nickname he got from his former manager and mentor Keith Kunene, Mikey is a digital whiz with an impressive social media following of over 23k and an insatiable knack for all things trending and digital media.

Mikey has done the necessary and hard work of re-routing this path away from homelessness, to being a brand ambassador at Lovelife, a digital recruit at Umuzi and now a fully-fledged Community Manager for some of the biggest brands South Africa has to offer.

We’re proud to call Mikey one of our own, his story truly is fascinating and inspiring. Listen to Mikey’s Backroom trailer and Join the WhatsApp group to listen to the full interview.

Join the WhatsApp Podcast group to listen to Mikey’s full story and ask him questions.


Brands Mikey has worked with: 

Coke South Africa 
Thiko Events
Massive Metro

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