All about 'The Sisterhood of the Travelling Mgowo' and the 10 must-hear podcasts for black women

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Mixo Mathebula and Sinesipho Ngcayisa co-host The Sisterhood of the Travelling Mgowo podcast. (Image by Culture Capital, supplied by Melenial Media)
Mixo Mathebula and Sinesipho Ngcayisa co-host The Sisterhood of the Travelling Mgowo podcast. (Image by Culture Capital, supplied by Melenial Media)
  • We're in the era of the podcast and the YouTube channel - entertainment and information mediums that offer something for every subject, niche and subculture.
  • More black women - in SA and abroad - are starting to dominate not only YouTube, but the podcast space as well, making for a welcome and necessary entry into this space.
  • Today, we profile The Sisterhood of the Travelling Mgowo podcast, which was launched in 2018 by strategist, Sinesipho Ngcayisa and voice actor, Mixo Mathebula. Plus, we share 10 more podcasts hosted/produced by black women, you should get into.

“We decided to start The Sisterhood of the Travelling Mgowo because we just really wanted a space to reflect outside of our journals and heads," say Mixo and Sinesipho of the inception of their relatable podcast.

"There’s just been really something impactful about our thoughts living outside of our heads. Verbalising things makes them more real and holds you accountable to the fact that life is a process and a project you work on daily. We felt that there wasn’t enough of that out there, especially from black women across all ages," they add. 

As a media space that has, for so long, been dominated by men (more specifically, white men) podcasts didn't offer much content for the black woman's appetite for information and stories... until she started creating her own, discussing whatever it is that piques her interest.

Spiritual, wellness, music, pop culture, and crime mystery podcasts are just a few of the genres steered by black (and POC) women today.

For this podcast duo, what they were keen to do, was to chronicle their journeys through adulthood on a platform that would allow thousands of others to share in these reflections. From family, love and womanhood to healing, rage and gratitude; there is no place that Mixo and Sinesipho are afraid to go in the discussions had on their show.

One could perhaps say, for SMgowo - as the show is affectionately referred to by its loyal listenership - the category is... candour!

Launched in 2018, this podcast already has trailblazing status in its faculty, as Edison Research results confirm that platforms like SMgowo have a secure spot in the future of African podcasts. 

Photo by: Culture Capital (
Photo by Culture Capital 

According to The Media Online, "Edison Research undertook a survey into audio listening in September, and the results show that there is plenty of room for growth in South Africa. Just 10% of metropolitan South Africans listen to any podcasts in a typical month, compared to 33% of people in the US, or 22% of Australians."

READ MORE: Michelle Obama, podcast host: how podcasting became a multi-billion dollar industry 

Also named on our sister publication, True Love Magazine’s Class of 2020 Women Running Things list, Sinesipho and Mixo have a few pearls of wisdom to share with budding content creators:  

Podcasting has been identified as the next major broadcasting/publishing content vehicle in the world; referring to your listenership, is it being consumed this way in Africa and South Africa?

Podcasts are easier to consume in the same way that music is easier to consume than film. In a country with the data limitations that we have, it makes sense that podcast consumption is growing in a local sense. Our numbers have grown a lot in the last year and it’s encouraging to see so we think that the limited barriers to podcast creating mean that there will be more creators and consumers, just as we saw with the boom in YouTube content creation. 

What is the process of making each episode before it gets streamed by a listener? 

We literally just come up with a topic on the morning we record based on us asking each other how our week was. We tried to have a content calendar and it is a great guide, but the process has been so much better when we’ve been intuitive and organic.

We think this is because of how much easier it has become to be more vulnerable on the platform but also because it no longer feels like just creating content but a part of the work, we are doing on ourselves.  

What do you want the listeners of SMgowo to feel when they listen to each episode? 

To be honest, right now we just want young people all across the continent to be connected and brought together by our podcast and the conversations we have. The most important thing is the now and how its enabling all of us to reflect, maybe the legacy will be each of us getting to know ourselves a bit better and knowing that the work being done to understand ourselves and each other is cumulative - that it will serve those who come after us just as those we reference have served us. 

And now, for 10 of our top podcast recommendations for women - locally and internationally - you should listen to: 

The Journey 

The Journey is a podcast hosted by Sisipho Skweyiya, a millennial journalist based in South Africa. Through giggles and banter, Sisipho and her guests reflect on journeys traveled and the lessons learnt. Look forward to expert intel shared by young professionals in industries including fashion, property, entrepreneurship, and winemaking.  

Listen to The Journey here.

Heroine Cheek 

A biweekly podcast hosted and produced by two black women, Kenya and Zee, who have dubbed themseles as two "lipstick enthusiasts who talk about women's issues, current affairs and the English Premier League." 

Covering contemporary news and pop culture topics half a world apart, this is where your ears want to be for a healthy dose of banter.

Listen to Heroine Cheek here

Therapy for Black Girls  

The Therapy for Black Girls podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford - a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia - about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

An episode from this podcast that has resonated with several black women around the world, including myself, is the one on imposter syndrome; Session 22: Dealing with Imposter Syndrome. But you can also tune in for some sex positive conversations, and hair care tips. 

Listen to Therapy for Black Girls here.

READ MORE: Despite imposter syndrome and gender discrimination, SA women boldly pursue entrepreneurship 

Go Hustle

Hosted by Ondela Mlandu, Go Hustle is for the "boss babe" who's looking to network, upskill, share advice with fellow South African women, and be the best version of herself. 

Listen in as this podcast tackles mental health, entrepreneurship, and all things self-care.  

Listen to Go Hustle here.

Life Things Podcast

This title is as self-explanatory as it gets, the podcast provides a window into some of South Africa’s ingenious entrepreneurial and creative minds. The hosts, Thithi Nteta and Keagan Carling, interview women from various disciplines to talk about their careers, greatest challenges and other 'life things'. These witty and authentic hosts produce unparalleled lifestyle content that will go well with your morning coffee, or tea. 

You can listen to Life Things on Apple podcasts.

Naked Beauty

Recently nominated for the 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards, The Naked Beauty Podcast by Brooke DeVard is an incredibly honest conversation about all that concerns beauty with some of the world's beauty industry leaders. If you love all things beauty or just want to keep up with the latest industry trends, you’ll enjoy this podcast. You’ll feel like you’re having a chat with your girlfriends.

You can listen to Naked Beauty on SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple podcasts.

Cheeky Natives

Imagine being in conversation with an esteemed literary voice every week, in engaging, in-depth and nuanced conversations about topics featured in the local literary world. The hosts, Dr Alma-Natasha Cele and Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane, drive necessary conversations about literature that will stimulate your mind and open your eyes to a plethora of ideas and insightful points of view.

You can listen Cheeky Natives on SoundCloud and Apple Podcasts.

READ MORE: LISTEN | Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi urges us to start confronting our fears

Justice Denied

If you have a special interest in this kind of investigative journalism content News 24’s Justice Denied podcast series, a production in collaboration with the Wits Justice Project. Narrated by Jerusha Sukhdeo-Raath, the special project series uncovers stories of four people who were sentenced to life in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.

You can listen to the podcast on Soundcloud and the News24 website.

In Good Company

This podcast is for all the entrepreneur and career women who are ready to take the working world by the horns. In Good Company addresses the unique challenges women face in there corporate and entrepreneurial worlds head-on. From lessons about raising funding to dealing with office microaggressions to online trends about business, women who’ve been there and done that share their stories of resilience that led to the successes. 

You can listen to In Good Company on Spotify and Apple Podcasts

Also look out for more In her Shoes with W24 episodes coming this season, where we speak to women from all walks of life - businesswomen, industry experts, and your favourite stars and content creators.

Additional information and images supplied on behalf of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Mgowo by Melenial Media.

What are your favourite podcasts? Share them with us here.

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