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.
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:
If there ever was a way to bow out of Youth Month with a bang, landing a feature on Mail & Guardian’s Young 200 Leaders list would be a great attempt and that is exactly what photographer and Umuzi multimedia recruit, Tshepiso Mabula has done.
A Design Indaba Emerging Young Creative 2017 member, Tshepiso Mabula is a Soweto based photographer born in the Lephalale district of Limpopo.
An encounter with renowned photographer Santu Mofokeng’s book Bloemhof, during a family visit in 2012, ignited her passion and intrigue for photography and there has been no stopping her ever since.
After completing her course at the Market Photo Workshop in documentary and photojournalism, Tshepiso joined the Umuzi Academy in 2016. She later went on to participate in Intercambiador ACART artist residency programme in Madrid Spain, where she produced and exhibited a body of work as part of a group exhibition at the Quinta del Sordo.
Reflecting the times and spaces she occupies in various bodies of work such as Makoti Kapa Lefetwa and her ongoing series Four Room, Seven Colours, Tshepiso captures ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances while concurrently commenting on societal ills and challenging various forms of systematic oppression such as patriarchy.
From all of us at Umuzi, wishing you more prosperity and light as you continue to use your voice and photography as a tool for advocacy and resistance.
To follow Tshepiso and keep up with her latest work follow her on:
Instagram: tshepisomabula and kasinomics_ 101
Umuzi Academy provides the bridge that helps young creatives from eKasi discover their passion and provides them with appropriate resources to survive in the creative economy
Thabo Toyi was different from day one. He saw a media interview and did not stop calling Andrew our MD until finally he agreed to a meeting. “Put it simply Andrew I want in, I love everything about this organization and I want to do this” is what he said. Thabo joined the program and flourished. After completing a whirlwind Umuzi Activist’s course. With the support of Umuzi, Thabo won the Tudortech photography bursary which allowed him to complete his photography degree at City Varsity.
Written by: Tebogo Mathodlana
Images by: Bushera Bashir
Edited: Andrew Levy
Reference: Statistics South Africa
|Click on link to listen|
Host by: Andrew Levy
Guests: Ben Zwane and Wendy Shabalala
Commissioned by : Cliff Central
Siya simply put, you rock. Well done to you, your family, and the school. The road has sometimes been difficult, sometimes unclear, but you have persevered and are on your way.
Siya’s incredible family, especially his mom Phyllis who has supported and pushed him throughout.