Posted by Editor
By Mandisa Constable
One of the things I keep getting asked about is how on God’s green Earth did I manage to get the courage to take such a drastic leap from a high-paying corporate career in property finance to now wanting to go full-time into music and media? Come to think of it, this decision was made eight years ago.
I remember it clearly. I had just completed my second year at the University of Johannesburg, where I had also unfortunately found out I didn’t qualify for financial assistance after my mother was retrenched and could no longer afford my tuition. Living in the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg, I guess the financial aid providers figured I was not poor enough.
Needless to say, with my mother now unemployed, I realized very quickly that the only way for me to move forward was to find a job and, funny enough, that was also the point when I learned that trying to find a job was a whole job in and of itself.
Luckily, my boyfriend at the time had an IT job at a company that had a marketing and admin assistant role vacant. I went for an interview and immediately got the job.
For a few months all was well and I was able to support myself without putting too much financial pressure on my mom for my personal needs. However, sadly, a few months into the job, the company lost its biggest client and, just like that, it folded and I was once again jobless.
There I was, looking for jobs again, and as fate would have it, not too long into the hunt, my mom managed to secure a job on a consultancy basis at another company, while at the same time managing to get me a slot at a partner company out in the East Rand. It literally lasted two months and I was fired. Yup, fired. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.
What can I say? It was an enormous blow to the ego. I mean, I will be honest, I was fabulous with clients and my communication skills but, fact is, taking taxis, I was always late and didn’t quite understand how to bite my tongue when having disagreements with my line manager, so I guess I pissed them off.
Alas, there I was, someone who had just been fired, with an incomplete degree and flat broke. I felt terrible. I remember feeling so hopeless and ashamed. My room was always in such a state, and ironically, I always found comfort in being alone in that chaos. Until one day I remembered having received a PDF copy of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
I recall being stationed at my desk in front of my computer and reading the book. My eyes were glued to that screen. I was so consumed, I managed to finish the book while burning the midnight oil until the wee hours of the morning.
After reading that book, something in me switched on. I remembered that this was my life and that I could decide how it would turn out. With a clear vision written down and a genuine will to seek knowledge and apply it, I could achieve anything I wanted.
So that was it. I decluttered my room, got rid of everything I honestly didn’t need, and I got really, really focused. I was back to regular programming with job hunting, but this time on level 1000. I was registered on every online job portal I could find. I even went as far as to rope my family into assisting me with faxing my applications when they left for the office in the morning.
I literally used to wake up each morning as though also heading to work to catch a taxi to Randburg to use a more cost-effective internet café to go online and submit some more job applications.
My vision was clear. I wanted to complete my studies by securing a job under a SETA-certified learnership, which was essentially a work-based approach to earning a tertiary level qualification.
I wanted flexible working hours, to be married with a child by 24, then build my corporate career up to where I was a regional sales manager by 28. After that I wanted to record an album, have my own business, uplift African youth throughout the continent and greater diaspora, then get deep into philanthropy while earning a prestigious position as the President of the Ubuntu Commonwealth of Africa (it’s still being established *wink wink*).
And here I am. I earned my tertiary level qualification, I had such an enriching and fulfilling career in property finance, where I managed to be the youngest, first black female regional sales manager by the age of 25. (I managed to beat my own expectations – see how the universe works?)
I also have thee most precious baby girl. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out with her daddy, but I am grateful that we get to co-parent as best we can.
After the end of that relationship, I realized how I really needed to find healing and the only way I have ever really found healing was through art. I had always grown up with a deep passion for public speaking, writing, dancing and singing, so I definitely felt I needed to give that side of myself some much-needed attention, while also honouring my lifelong dream of actually doing music and getting into the media space.
Arriving at this checkpoint in 2019 has been truly monumental, because for the first time in my life I fundamentally understand my purpose and who I am and what I want out of this crazy ride called life.
I get it. Change is so freaken scary and uncomfortable, but it is inevitable. Either you are forced to change, or you drive it.
I can safely say I have chosen to drive change in my life, while at the same time being forced because I have learned that, more often than not, the only thing that stands in the way of moving forward is me actually getting in my own way. Hopefully, while I trip and get up on my road to achieving my dreams, I get to inspire African girls and boys everywhere to do the same.
And, on that note, I now define myself as an Independent Recording Artist and Radio Personality out to change someone’s world, one liberated expression at a time.