You may have seen #XXI going around social networks, with well-known personalities and ordinary South Africans talking about “When I was #XXI” or “Things to do at #XXI”, and wondered what this is about. XXI is Roman numerals for 21, and represents the number of years the SAMAs have been a fixture on the local entertainment scene. Now, as it comes of age, the XXI social media campaign highlights it as distinctive and standing alone with no peer. As a single symbol, XXI encompasses the notion of “Legacy to Future”.
When I was #XXI:
- I worked as a waiter because I had dropped out of school.
- I had dreadlocks (as seen above).
- I spoke at 110 schools in the Western Cape, from the richest to the poorest.
- I spoke at one Afrikaans school in Belville. When they showed me the hall before assembly, there was an old South African flag hanging. I was nervous as hell. By the time I went to speak it had been removed.
- I had no job; and between being a waiter, I helped a friend of mine, Chloe, start a magazine and I was the marketing manager.
- I saw a helicopter crash as I was painting a school (they survived) and I was interviewed by eNews – my first TV appearance.
- I was skinnier.
- I dated a white girl and we’d occasionally get racial slurs thrown our way when walking together.
- I quit working as a waiter.
- I kept a journal, which I sometimes check to see if I have become worse or better.
- I found a very important suitcase I had lost when I was 20.
- I took the train every day.
- I read on the train every day.
- I lived in a tiny room, but it was better than being as homeless as I was the previous year.
- I read the Bible.
- I prayed every day.
- I didn’t know I would be where I am today.
- I was hopeful.
- I had my first bottle of sparkling wine (cheap one).
- I had been through the worst and I was not afraid.
- It was the beginning of greater things.
- They called out your name
- You rise from your seat
- Take a walk to the stage (and pray you don’t fall
- And finally THAT moment in my pic. Victory, triumph, joy, accomplishment, relief, gratitude. So many words could describe that day. Education has always been very important to my family and graduating was the best gift I could’ve given my parents in my 21st year. Especially my dad who was so strict about school. My dad will not witness many more of my achievements, he missed my 18 years in broadcast, he will miss my wedding, he will miss my children; but I am forever grateful that he did not miss this milestone.
When I was #XXI, I was thinking about entering the game. Music was in my blood, but I never knew it would be my career. At 21, the seed for my love of music grew stronger. Morafe came and my solo career followed.
When I was 21, I came back home from three years spent in London. The year was 1998. I came back home with this little bundle of joy who is now 16 years old. My time in London was a mixed bag. I had loads of adventures, made great friends, fell in and out of love, roughed it, travelled and came back a much more mature person. But she was by far the biggest highlight of my 21st year. I was both scared and excited to be a mom. SA was exciting at the time (has never stopped) with lots of changes in the media landscape. YFM and Kaya FM were new on the scene and this made radio very competitive.
When I was #XXI… I’d just given up on my dream of becoming a lawyer… I’d been hosting a new music show called Studio Mix for about six months. We replaced Pick a Tune. I shared a flat in Yeoville with a friend and was trying to find my way around Jozi (literally and figuratively). The SAMA XXI nominees will be announced on Thursday, 12 March 2015. Don’t miss the Kia Record of the Year nominees announcement on Friday, 13 March on Live Amp, SABC 1 at 21:00 sharp.