Larger-than-life entrepreneur, radio presenter and blogger, Helen Namponya, has a new title to her – as if she has not already made us feel we’re not doing enough with our lives.
She is now also the casting director for SA Tourism’s new campaign to promote local tourism in towns and cities not as popular as ones like Durban or Cape Town. It just so happens that Bloemfontein is one of the areas being promoted in the new campaign.
Namponya, who is always ready for a challenge, grabbed the opportunity with both hands and even though she has never been a director before, her excellent portfolio of media work gave the company the confidence it needed to decide she’s the right woman for the job.
Speaking about this exhilarating experience that is sure to diversify her portfolio as a media practitioner and entrepreneur, Namponya says: “The South African Tourist commercial we have actually just wrapped up, was super exciting. It was my first time as a casting director and it was one hell of a learning experience.”
She adds that she and the diverse cast she had sourced to feature in the commercial, participated in an array of activities such as horseback riding, race track driving in Tempe, sightseeing on Naval Hill followed by canoeing at the River of Joy and even enjoying what is often referred to as the Kasi experience by visiting a local joint known as KLAK, to show tourists just how Bloem people get down.
She exclaims that in addition to having a blast while working on the project, she is also feels honoured to have worked with media greats such as Zweli Radebe and Sabelo Mahlangu, among others.
Namponya, who is also a full-time employee at the University of the Free State and is also pursuing her second Honours degree, says she simply makes the time for all her engagements and projects to work.
She jokingly adds she gets bored easily and as a result, she is always on the hunt for a new challenge.
Giving advice to women, she says as a woman, especially a black woman, many will often undermine your ability to be able to produce work. She advises young women pursuing their dreams to always put in the work to prove the point that women are just as capable as men.
The young mogul in the making closes off by saying that women should never succumb to the pressure of having to compromise on their values in order to get opportunities. They should rather focus on their values and capability to deliver. “If you know who you are, what your values are and what you can bring to a project, then focus on that. If you’re starting out, it may take a few years before you get paid but that time and experience invested will eventually reward you for making that sacrifice earlier on.”
Be on the lookout for the South African Tourism commercial to catch a few fresh faces if you’re from Bloemfontein and also, to get a glimpse of another one of Namponya’s projects as she helps make Bloemfontein South Africa’s next local tourism hotspot. – Pulane Choane. firstname.lastname@example.org