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Where did you grow up?

Qhakaza Mthembu on the Word N Sound stage

I grew up in Diepkloof, Soweto, in the same house my family is still living in today.

What were your dreams as a child?

Oooh I had many dreams including being an actress, artist and musician – I’m glad I quickly came to realise I lack certain talents there. But I have always liked writing and colour and have always been drawn to more creative tasks.

What are you currently doing now (work)?

Shoooo I do many things. I’ve been a multimedia journalist at City Press since 2008 and will very soon be moving to a TV production company. I am also part of the team that founded and runs Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series and have started an arts entrepreneurship company called Blackcouch Sofserv.
How did you get into your line of work (career)?

I studied Journalism and Media Studies and did my honours in New Media so that’s how I entered the world of multimedia. I have always loved poetry and have a burning desire to help young people grow with their talent so when the idea to start Word N Sound came about, it just made complete sense. We were unhappy with the lack of arts and arts development in a city where that once was alive with creativity. Believing that we can, and should be, active agents of change, we decided to get up and do something about it.
What have been some of your career highlights?

City Press – travelling to cover the One Young World Youth Conference in Switzerland. And also being able to watch major events unfold from a unique perspective. Journalists have a lot of first hand experiences and that has been amazing.

Word N Sound – hosting the likes of Myesha Jenkins, Phillippa Yaa Deviliers, Pops Mohamed, Tu Nokwe, Lebo Mashile and Lesego Rampholokeng.
We had our first show at the State Theatre on the 13th and that’s pretty major for us.
It has also been truly phenomenal to watch young writers grow and develop their talent and art. It’s great being part of the making of a new nation of writers and art lovers.

What dreams do you still have for yourself?

So so many. You should never stop dreaming. I want to develop an arts resource centre in the city, I want to travel the world with local poets and bands, I want to own a live music venue and I still want to see Erykah Badu live in concert.
Who are the people who have influenced you or that you admire?

My mother is always supportive of me and keeps me motivated. I’m also motivated by the people I work with, my peers who do amazing things. The discussions we have always remind me that there is plenty we can still do. I’m also inspired when I see black women who are successful in business because I know that will be me one day.
What is your dream for today’s youth of South Africa?

I wish all young people could remember how to dream, to think of life being much more than the challenges they face today. My dream is for young people to demand better from themselves and from their surroundings.
What does June 16 mean to you?

It’s a day where it is important to take a frank look at the state of young people today. It’s a day where we remember that young people are driven, passionate, creative and capable. A day to push yourself more, knowing that young people once believed in something so much they died for it and today we share in the spoils of their death.

The one Truth I hold onto is …

Do EVERYTHING with love and the universe will respond accordingly.


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