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Words that Made a Difference

I have learnt that in normal course of conversation, if you pay attention, the impact of the words spoken can change your life or at the very least, how you perceive life and the world around you.

These are just some of the words that changed how I see the world, in some way.

‘Your voice has light and shade.’ KG Moeketsi said these words to me in 2005 and literally kick started my career in radio. I had no radio experience, nor had I ever imagined myself on radio but; a series of events led to these life changing words being said to me. Six years later, I am still on radio.

‘I am not going to tell you what people say you are doing wrong because that will bring you down, I would rather work to fix it, if I see it as a problem.’ Makhosi Khoza

I was wet behind the ears when Makhosi said this to me, teaching me the ropes on radio. I owe a lot of what I know (although I still have a lot to learn) to the faith that he had in me and the time that he took to teach me.

That taught me that when trying to help someone, the focus should rather be on lifting them up versus giving the mother people’s negative feedback.

I have a very noncompetitive nature;I am unable to put myself in situations where I have to compete with anyone for anything but there I was with on the set of a game show, competing!  Ukhozi FM presenters and producers were pitted against Ligwalgwala FM presenters and producers on ‘Friends Like These’, a popular South African game show.

Knowing my discomfort about competing, when it was my turn to go up and take on a Ligwalagwala presenter,  Zandile Tembe, who at the time was content producer for the Vuka Mzansi Breakfast Show on Ukhozi FM and is now the Programmes Manager, turned to me and said ‘just do what you would do if you were baking a cake’. 

For this to make sense, I have to explain. I love cooking and baking almost equally. But something about baking brings me calmness and peace; at the same time it excites me so much when what was once in containers in my cupboard comes together in a delightful, sweet mouthful of joy. And Zandile knows this, hence those words. From that day,whenever I am unsure about how to go about a task, I stop and say to myself ‘I’ll just do it as if I were baking a cake’.

In 2009 I had the opportunity to work on the country’s biggest morning drive show, Vuka Mzansi on Ukhozi FM.However, because of austerity measures at the SABC, in 2010 my time on Vuka Mzansi came to an end. Drive time shows would no longer have two presenters,only the main anchor would remain. Because I understood why it had happened and because I knew what other opportunities lay ahead of me, I was not worried or upset that I had not lasted longer on the show. Instead I was looking forward to what lay ahead. Those who did not have all the information necessary to make a contextualized comment, and have an informed opinion about the situation, saw this as a demotion. To some it was an indication that I had not performed well on the show,some were concerned that my radio career was over and that it would not recover from what they viewed as a setback.

I took over a Sunday show, which is seen by some as the worst thing that can happen to someone who was once working on prime time; to be doing a weekend show. When I came to work on the first Sunday that I would be doing the new show that I had been allocated, someone in the building said to me; ‘Wow. You will now be doing just this one Sundayshow? This is the worst demotion for you.’ I smiled and shrugged. Being the eternal optimist that I am, very little actually upsets me. And this was not something worth getting upset about.

The following day during a conversation about something completely else; Nhlanhla Ngwenya; a feisty, ball of fire of a lady that I know through media, said to me ‘Well done girl. You are no longer a co-host. You now have your own show. That is such a good move for you.’

Nhlanhla was the only person,back then, who had anything positive to say about that move. At a time when everyone was saying only the negative, she saw the silver lining on what was perceived to be a dark cloud over my career in the media. That was almost two years ago and I’m still doing that show as well as a Saturday show. I am content with doing just these shows and my weekends have become the highlight of my week.

I am not one to overreact and have theatrics about issues. My main focus is always to find the bestsolution.  Usually.  However, I am human and there are moments when I have what I call ‘moments that may be deemed irrational’. I was havin gone of those when a colleague, Samuel, said ‘Don’t worry yourself with things that only kids should worry about.’

Now whenever I am on the verge of having a moment that may be deemed irrational, I stop and ask myself whether this is something that someone who is supposed to be a mature adult would concern themselves with. If it’s not, then I stop right there and refocus.

Bongi Gumbi Magudulela,Programmes Manager and Radio 2000, said something that really stood out for me when she was still my boss in her role as Executive Producer at Ukhozi FM. ‘We always think there’s something wrong with things just going well. But that’s how life is supposed to be. Life was not meant to be hard, we mustn’t keep waiting for things to go wrong when we should just be appreciating that what we have is good.’

That taught me to never question the blessings that are bestowed on me but to rather bask in the glow of all that I receive.

In isiZulu there is a saying ‘umlomo uyadala’; meaning that what you say with your mouth becomes a reality. Take care then, make sure that the words that you speak upon yourself and upon your life, are words that will bring positivity into your life.
The words that you speak upon others, leave indelible marks. With your mouth, leave an indelible imprint on someone’s heart.

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