Palesa Tshihonga ‒ A taste for radio
December 12, 2015
Spur Corporation helping Palesa Tshihonga towards her dream.
When Darren ‘Whackhead’ Simpson from Highveld Stereo contacted Nazrana Hawa from Spur Foundation regarding a bright and promising young woman named Palesa Tshihonga, it was the start of big things towards helping a young person follow their dream.
Palesa is a huge fan of Highveld Stereo. She wrote in to their Xpress Wish Campaign about her dream of becoming a Radio Producer. She had lost both her parents over the past 3 years and her older brother was supporting her and her mentally disabled eldest brother. Worryingly, she was also running out of funds for her Media studies at Boston Media House, despite having obtained exceptional grades and a bursary for her second year. Luckily for Palesa, her story struck a chord with Darren and Nazrana. Spur Foundation offered to provide financial assistance of R46 000 towards her third year at Boston Media House and R1 500 per month towards her transport. A program was created for her including a trip to Cape Town for an internship at Spur Corporation’s in-house radio station, TasteFM.
After enduring her first ‘scary’ plane trip, Palesa was met at Cape Town International airport by Nazrana. Her induction began with an introduction to Marinda Claasen, TasteFM Radio Station Manager, at Spur Corporation Head Office in Century City. Over the course of the week, Palesa shadowed well-known DJ Sam Roy every morning for the all-important TasteFM Breakfast Show. She learnt a lot: ‘It’s very different to the studio at school. You see how it’s actually done.’
In addition to the daily radio exposure at TasteFM, Palesa got to accompany Sam Roy to his afternoon show at popular Cape Town public radio station, SmileFM. ‘That was fun! I loved it.’ When pressed about what draws her to a career in Radio Producing, Palesa replied, ‘I like talking. But I don’t like being “out there”. I like being in the background. Music speaks to me a lot. It’s got me through a whole lot.’
There was time for some fun too. Palesa spent some time at the V&A Waterfront, went on a Mother City Bus Tour ‒ one of her highlights of the week ‒ and even managed to squeeze in a ride up and down Table Mountain on the cable car.
Besides her career aspirations, Palesa is a self-confessed “tech-head”. She absolutely goes giddy for new headphones and loves to twiddle the buttons and knobs in the studio. An original “Jozi Girl”, after her fantastic week in Cape Town she would seriously consider relocating.
When asked if she had any advice to pass on to other young, hopeful South Africans, she didn’t hesitate: ‘It’s not about what you’ve been through but about where you are going. You need to give yourself the time to find yourself. After you’ve found yourself, go for it! 110%. Whatever it takes. Take chances.’ And asked about whether she had anything to say to Nazrana, Marinda and the whole Spur Team: ‘I was thinking of sending them all an email to thank them for a fantastic week. It’s been an awesome, awesome experience.’
Marinda also had some words in return: ‘It was a joy to host Palesa for the week. I’m hoping that she picked up some basic radio training, but the learning went both ways. Palesa’s irrepressible energy and joie de vivre were infectious… I have no doubt that she will do well in whatever field she chooses to work in.’
Palesa returned at the end of a busy week to her study program at Boston Media House, with her next real-world radio exposure coming at KFM in June 2016.