Phumeza Langa is a communications consultant and freelance writer from Jo’burg with a passion for uplifting women through her work and life. By day, she is a part of the marketing and communications team at ADT Security, and evenings are for exploring her true passion; writing!
Phumeza’s writing is witty, vulnerable and relatable and always carries within it a feminist element of empowerment. SLA contributor Anelisa Nokoyo had a chance to interview this budding star to find out what makes her tick and what her future plans are.
Tell us about yourself, who is Phumeza?
Phumeza is an only child, born and raised in Johannesburg. I am a social introvert –I read that phrase somewhere, I quite like it. Currently, I’m a lapsing gym-goer (I hate admitting that); a bookworm and I binge watch series in the early hours of some weekend mornings.
I am married to a wonderful man, we’re making a life for ourselves as East Randers whilst enjoying as many sho’t left travels as possible.
What inspired your foray into the communications industry?
I literally stumbled into the communications industry. I was in my Matric year and I had no real idea what I wanted to do after high school. So I went to the guidance counsellor at the time and based on her observations and what she knew of me, she suggested Public Relations.
Fast forward a few years, I graduated from the University of Johannesburg and started working in PR agencies. When I was younger I had ideas of being a correspondent, similar to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. I was fascinated by her work, but more so because she was in conflict zones and reporting on the other side of the war stories we hardly ever hear about –the people’s stories- and ensuring that us, the viewers are aware and know what’s happening in the world.
Being a writer allows me to do that as well in my own way, and it has been amazing thus far! I get goosebumps every single time I listen to the interview recordings I’ve done already –people have such powerful stories and lessons to share.
You speak a lot about empowering and connecting women through your work. Tell us, how do you go about realising your vision every day?
A lot of the time it’s really just trying to connect one woman to another one, whether it’s through knowing one woman who can assist another with a project; partner up with for a venture or even if I can help someone with a contact number or email.
I’m a serial opportunity sharer, I cannot help myself. If I know you’re into something, you’re pursuing a passion or thinking of a venture, if I hear or read about something that is related to that, then I will share the information with you and applaud you when I see you rock it good!
The other times it’s through my writing and the profiling of women from various backgrounds who are making a positive impact in not only their lives but in the lives of the people around them –whether it’s with their family or their community– through an initiative or business. It is only in recent years that we’re hearing and seeing more positive stories of women doing their very best in what they have chosen to do. I love that! I know there are so many more of these women out there, we all know them and we need to uplift them and one another.
What are some of the challenges that have appeared as obstacles in your journey thus far?
The one that I have recently started working through is being unable to pursue a course that I had been accepted to do this year. I was unsuccessful in securing a scholarship through some of the places I had applied to. This left me devastated, it wasn’t easy emailing the institution to let them know that I could not take up my spot.
I had to acknowledge that I did well in being accepted in the first place –something I didn’t think I would. It would have been the start of a completely different direction of what I’m doing now at work, but it was in line with what I want to be doing more of in the long term.
I’m starting to see the whole experience as a lesson in believing in myself more. I’m having those honest conversations with myself to figure out why I didn’t even trust in myself to hold my own. It is an uncomfortable conversation but very necessary, because what we believe of ourselves and our abilities can limit us and what we are capable of achieving in our lives. Yes, the path I thought I would be taking isn’t quite open to me in the manner in which I thought it would but it does not stop me from moving forward and doing what I had set out to do.What we believe of our abilities can limit us and what we achieve - Phumeza Langa Click To Tweet
There will always be obstacles that need to be overcome, it’s always a matter of reminding myself that I have to carry on. There is more beyond that moment of hardship -like the good things in life that are to be treasured.
When did you discover your love for writing and what are your future plans as a writer?
My writing started in high school but it was only after my first published piece in 2003 that I really took it seriously. I am that girl who still tries to write letters as often as possible: paper, pen and envelope –everything!
When I was at UJ, I jumped at the opportunity to be the Bunting Road campus editor for the UJ Observer and reported to the editor at Kingsway campus. I knew very little about copy-editing and getting a team of writers together to work on our submissions but it was such an unforgettable experience. Those weekly morning editorial meetings in the PR Department’s boardroom were awesome!
During my time working in agency, I started with gadget reviews, learning about technology and writing about it. Over time it’s evolved to lifestyle, education and profile pieces. There is a blog in the mix too, which I admit needs more of my attention. I am loving what my focus areas are now in my writing, in time I would like to do more technical pieces to flex my writing muscles and broaden my knowledge. I have so much to learn about my craft, that really excites me and there is more to explore with it.I have so much to learn about my craft, that really excites me @phumezamzai Click To Tweet