When we talk of young people that are doing amazing things in their communities and in South Africa, we look no further because this young inspirational woman is making things happen and at only 28 years, Tshepy Matloga is definitely a force to be reckoned with. She is smart, intelligent and hardworking. Her work speaks volume and we cannot ignore because the proof is in the pudding.
We had the opportunity to interview this young mind and in the interview, she tells us more about her self, achievements and future goals.
Who is Tshepy Matloga?
Tshepy is a professional journalist turned entrepreneur. She is a mentor,blogger, publicist who calls herself Africa’sspokesperson.
How was your childhood?
I grew up in a rather small village of Botlokwa just outside Polokwane. The only girl in a family of 4. My mother was a domestic worker, so she was absent most of my childhood but I had aunts and cousins who took really good care of me. I went to school there and after completing my matric I stayed home for two years because my mother couldn’t afford to take me to varsity. One day I woke up, took my bags and headed to Pretoria and I ended up at Tshwane Univerity of Technology and the rest is history.
You just received great news, congratulations!!!! You’ve been nominated for 2015 Tomorrow’s Leaders presented by Old Mutual. How do you feel?
It feels great, I’m in total awe because it means someone is keeping track of my work and clearly I’m going into the right direction. Although my biggest achievement would be to address the youth unemployment by creating jobs it is great to have people appreciate the work that you do and with no doubt, it gives me much hope to keep pushing even when the going gets tough.
Wow! You were named one of the 100 Brightest Young Minds who are global change makers in South Africa, one of S.A fm’s young women making a difference through business and community development and you were counted among Capricorn fm’s young phenomenal women going beyond borders to promote Africa. What does all this recognition mean to you?
I believe that recognition is one of the best motivators. No matter who says what we all need an ego booster, sometimes just to give us a nod that we are in the right direction. The highlight though was to be invited by the African Union to attend the women in business forum hardly a year after starting my business. I was one of the 10 young female entrepreneurs who were given an opportunity to spend a couple days with amazing women who run businesses and households all the same time and succeeding in both.
As a philanthropist what are some of the things you do and how have you changed?
lt has made me realise that you don’t have to have much in order to give. Sometimes all you need to change someone’s life is by giving them your time and sharing your own stories to give them hope.
What are the main challenges you come across every day?
The entrepreneurship industry is still not much friendly to women or rather young women. I still get people coming to my office and thinking I am a PA because according to them you cant be young, female and be running a business and the fact that I have a rather small frame doesn’t make the situation any easier.
How did the idea of Chronicle Media Group come about?
I felt that there was a misconception that Africa has nothing to offer the world, we only amount to poverty, draught, civil wars, corruption and all things negative and that is not the truth at all. The reason for all this misconceptions its because as Africans we are very bad in telling our own stories. There’s a quote that says “for as long as the hunted does not tell his stories, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter”. Chronicles Media is about spreading the African development stories, its about showing Africa in a positive light so that we can not only attract investments but to also promote intra-African trade. We have also added a PR agency late last year and its been doing very well.
How was the transition like, from journalism to entrepreneurship? Why the decision?
It has been quite difficult especially with no business background whatsoever but I have mentors and I spend most of my time in the company of other entrepreneurs and I read a lot which has helped me a lot. I also haven’t deviated much from Journalism so I still use my experience in the industry to run the business. It still is challenging though but I am loving every single moment of it.
What did you learn whilst working in media? Are you applying some of the things you’ve learned to your business right now?
Media teaches you how to deal with people and that has come in very handy because networking is very important especially when you are starting out in this industry.
What’s fascinating about you is that you focus on Africa as a whole, tell us why?
Africa is a beautiful continent. Funny thing is I used to be upset when people refer to Africa as a continent but spending most of my time with other nationals has taught me that we are all the same, the only thing that’s standing in between us are the borders really. I believe that when another country has a problem it affects at least other 3-4 countries that surround it, so for us to all prosper and have equal growth we need to work together. Africa is the current biggest thing and with our economies growing at such a fast rate we need to work together and sustain this economic growth.
Please tell us more about your work with TAB Ghana and Dreamgirls International Outreach Programme.
With TAB Ghana I am not that much involved because of the distance but I have helped the guys set it up and I am happy to witness it grow so much. I have been a mentor at DreamGirls International for two years now, this is going to be my third year. It’s one of the things that totally complete me and has taught me the importance of giving without expecting anything in return. What we do is, we adopt teenage girls from previously disadvantaged schools and mentor them, it is more of a sisterhood than anything else. When you are standing on the shoulders of giants, it becomes important to you to allow others to stand on yours and that’s what mentorship is all about.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
My dream would be to see chronicles becoming one of the biggest media companies in Africa and beyond. Starting my own bursary fund for previously disadvantaged learners . I have great passion for education because i know it liberates, it has liberated me.
Besides inspiring young girl to better themselves what do you do to unwind?
I am such an introvert therefore I spend most of my time indoors reading. I am also a blogger at Leadership2020. I feel more at home when I’m writing its very therapeutic. I am a closet art collector too (guess the secret is out).
What are you reading at the moment?
I just finished reading Wangari Maathai’s Unbowed. Yes I am very patriotic so I read a lot of African literature, biographies etc
Who do you look up to for inspiration?
I look up to different people for different reasons. Growing up I always believed I’ll be the 1st AU chairperson but Mam’ Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma beat me to it. I think that’s part of the reason I admire her so much. I am also inspired by young people doing great things in their communities because those are the real leaders who will liberate their communities one day.
Any advice for the youth in South Africa?
If you don’t like where you are move, you are not a tree. It only takes one decision and that’s to get off that couch and go chase your dreams. Yes, its not easy but then again nothing worth having in this life comes cheap because if it did then we wont be able to appreciate. Our forefathers politically liberated us, its up to us to economically liberate those who will come after us.