NIGERIANS AND NIGERIAN WOMEN ARE A BIT TOO CONSERVATIVE--THANDO SHOZI
South Africa has become the Mecca for African Entertainment. It houses some of the finest television, radio, music and fashion stations/channels. I got talking with Lady Thando Shozi, who has put in close to two decades in the broadcasting industry and sampled her opinion on some interesting issues.
Here are excerpts of the interview:
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSION?
I am a Commissioning Editor at the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
WHEN DID YOU START WORKING IN YOUR NEW CAPACITY?
I started with the SABC some 13 years ago and have been working in different departments. I started with the Content Hub: Factual Genre as an Assistant Commissioning Editor, a year and a half ago and it took me a few months to grow to the position of CE. Infact, I worked independently as a CE even before being officially appointed to the position.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BROADCASATING WORK?
My first love was Radio. But I grew up during the days of the struggle against
apartheid. I never had the opportunity to concentrate on my studies. During the last days of school one could never get any studying done or even finish a full year in school. It took a lot for me to complete a year in Matric, but I did. I started with doing odd jobs in Hotels but keeping my focus at securing a job in the media. I ended up getting into a junior position at the SABC Dubbing Department and I think I
was the first black person to be appointed in that section of the Department.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO NIGERIA BEFORE, OR IT WAS THE 4TH ABUJA INTERNATIONAL FILMS FESTIVAL THAT BROUGHT YOU TO NIGERIA?
I have always had love for traveling and I have always wanted to visit Nigeria. So when I saw the opportunity to attend the Festival, I took it. My aim though, was to establish a long term relationship so I continue doing business with Nigeria when and if an opportunity presents itself.
WHAT IS THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY LIKE IN SOUTH AFRICA?
I will not speak as an expert. Like I said, I am a CE at Factual. We are about reality of people's lives. As far as I can tell, the entertainment industry is abuzz in SA. South Africans a fun people, we are realists too. We are a nation of outgoing people and fun is something that is who we are. It's a huge business in all its forms.
WHAT ADVISE WILL YOU GIVE TO THE NIGERIAN ENTERTAINMENT PRACTITIONERS?
Like I said, I'm no expert, but I think Nigerians are doing well especially considering their understanding of the culture of Nigerians. As a South African, I think Nigerians and Nigerian women are a bit too conservative. For me, being conservative means suppressing part of who you are, the fire in you. I think that
its unfortunate that one can choose to die with the music in them. South Africans on the other side are out there. We singing our song out loud for everyone to hear. That is what I understand and there is nothing wrong about being different so I wouldn't speak for Nigerians - who am I.
ARE THERE THINGS WE NEED TO CORRECT IN OUR FILMS AND MOVIES?
A lot, I guess. And I think that it is a African challenge. Its for me as well to do something about the challenges that face Nollywood, for instance, because it is our challenge. The story lines need to be reviewed so that it actually send the messages that we intend to send to the world. Nollywood has become a brand but are we aware of what the brand represents or it just happened? Also, Nollywood stories are interesting and they sell all around the world. It is content driven, its time we looked critically at the quality of the content that we are exporting.
ARE THERE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRACTITIONERS TO COME AND LEARN FROM THEIR S/AFRICAN COUNTERPARTS?
There is a great relationship between our governments, I don't see why Nigerians and South Africans cannot use that to encourage their own personal growth.
THANKS FOR FINDING TIME TO TALK WITH US
The pleasure is mine.
Reporting from Abuja,Nigeria