Q&A WITH REFILOE MPAKANYANE

2016-04-22 04:24

Refiloe Mpakanyane

  1. Many know you as “Metro’s Refiloe”, tell us more about your background?

Well after graduating I dived head first into radio and have done everyhing imaginable behind the scenes: producing shows, hosting them, news anchor on SAFM, METRO, ENCA, movie critic, acting on two feature films. I am a voice over artist and it’s quite possible that when you aren’t listening to me on Metro FM, you hear my voice tv ads or reality TV shows (the voice of Guiding You Home). Writing and producing. Growing Mpakanyane Communications has been a key focus for the last three years.

  1. You acted in Clint Eastwoods “Invictus”, how was that experience?

Fantastic. I had a ball. When my agent sent me the audition script I reminded her that I was not interested in acting jobs at the moment. That is until she told me it was an Eastwood movie. I love films and he is one of my favourite directors, so I auditioned and got the part. Gran Torino had recently come out so I was keen to see Clint at work.The two weeks I spent on set were a lot of fun I had my own trailer (EEEKK) and formed a cool bond with my cast mates Tony Kgoroge, Leleti Khumalo and Vuyo Dabula. But it was wild to be able to shoot the breeze with Morgan Freeman off camera and to goof around with Clint’s team. They have all worked with him for about twenty years and everyone referred to him as “the boss”. The atmosphere on set was calm and efficient.

  1. How is it working with Tbo Touch on the Touch Down?

Everyday is great fun, really we approach the show with a lot of gusto.

  1. Who is the most impactful person that you have met?

Oh gosh, where to start? I guess Jessie Jackson is one of them- his civil rights work in the U.S has left an indelible mark on U.S and global history. Danai Gurira was a pleasure to sit down and chat to. She is an amazing talent and playwright who has taken the story of African women’s lives to broad way and Hollywood, with such finesse and grace.

I feel like a deer in the headlights when I have to recall all the people I;ve met and interviewed throughout my career. One recent occasion comes to mind- sharing the stage at Carnegie Hall with U.S Vice President Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Sting and Bono as we celebrated World Aids day and honored philanthropists Bill & Melinda Gates, Mo Ibrahim and Ms Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. I’d say that’s quite a bit of clout right there, being put to good use.

  1. You have your blog? Tell us more?

    My website is Refiloe.Life- it’s a feminist place for women who want to explore and celebrate varied interests aspects of their lives. An intellectual space that profiles exceptional women while covering lifestyle, fashion and literature. RefiloeLife TV is accessible on the website or directly on Youtube. I am so exited to widen the space for women to be themselves and sidestep some of the labels and expectations that are often foisted on us. We are all more than one thing and there is no shame in intellectualising popular culture. That’s what www.Refiloe.Life is about.

  1. Tell us more about the work you do as an advocate for literacy among our youth?

I have my annual book drive which supplies three schools and a nursery school in Wattville on the East Rand. I work with publishers, corporates and NGO’s to get books and reading materials to schools that often have libraries but have no books in them. I think the biggest shame is to shout from on high that children should read, without putting books in their hands. In a country where buying books is not an option for most South Africans and community libraries are defunct and school libraries are just used as store rooms- where do we expect this love of reading, knowledge and books to come from? It needs to be nurtured at school level. It is really important to put your money where your mouth is and there is no greater pleasure than visiting my adopted schools and getting updates from the learner’s reading clubs or watch them unpack novels and biographies and report back on what they they’ve enjoyed reading and why.

  1. What is the craziest thing that you have done?

That would be telling- I keep my crazy low key! Seriously though I think it’s probably the amount of travelling I do sometimes. I’m slowly learning how to prioritise and streamline my work and my interests.

  1. Whatis your short term goals?

Build Refiloe.Life and complete the entire vision for the platform. Grow two key ventures that are so outrageous they excite me and scare the Bejeezus out of me- watch this space.

Strengthen my book programmes into year- round initiatives. And the ususal things like staying fit, actually following my nutritionist’s guidelines and travel more for leisure.

  1. What is your 5 year goal?

Well, firstly I think I am due for a sabbatical then after that- take over the world and sit down to write my book. There’s no use including work-related things beacause that is a given.

  1. What is your ultimate goal?

Giving my daughter the tools to own and curate every facet of her life. The opportunities that I have had sometimes blow my mind and I am so eager to watch her unfold into the even more amazing human being I know she will become.

  1. What advice do you have for the youth of SA?

I don’t believe in giving unsolicited advice- but if I must, it would firstly to grasp every opportunity to get an education, to travel and to learn.

Secondly, whatever stage you are at good or bad, revel in it because while it gets better, it also gets more complicated- but mostly it gets even better!

Lastly: Done is better than perfect. That’s for all my fellow perfectionists!

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