Inside Woman: How did you become a Christian?
Tumelo Mothotoane: I was raised in a Christian family but I remember the year when I consciously received the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the year 2003 and I was 12 years old. We were going through a demoralising season as a family. My baby sister had passed on the previous year, in the midst of my maternal grandmother’s funeral, I was suspended from school due to unpaid fees and my parents were going through a divorce. One evening my mother opened the Bible to 1 Peter 4:13 and the heading was “Participating in the sufferings of Christ” and God allowed my tiny mind to make sense of it all.
Inside Woman: What would you say to your generation about being saved? How important is it to being saved young?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Being saved has literally saved my life. It saved me from insanity. You go through a constant metamorphosis as a young person and every process needs direction. The guidance and leadership of God is profound. It gives meaning to one’s life. With every experience, good or bad, it works together for the good of those who love the Lord.
Inside Woman: Besides being a university student, what else do you?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Tumelo is a little busy bee trying to establish herself in every dimension possible through her talents. I am a young women’s talk show host on Soweto TV called SISTAS. It’s been 3 years of empowering, informing and identifying the young woman’s voice within our communities. I present as well as produce a youth talk radio show (Trans-Talk with Tumelo) through an online radio station called TRANS AFRICA RADIO and I am a freelance writer for the WITS Media website called Express Impress. I spend some of my free time tutoring English and coaching public speaking skills to a group of high school learners based in Midrand.
Inside Woman: Why are you studying? I mean you are already on tv and radio? You are famous!
Tumelo Mothotoane: Hahahaha, famous? Hmmm…Oprah Winfrey is Famous! J You know fame is the least of my fantasies as a young black woman who envisions leading this generation to media innovation and emancipation. Young people often confuse fame as the ‘be all’ that life has to offer, whereas you could take advantage of education and blend it with the opportunity to influence change through media platforms like television and radio. I am a curious young lady and studying remains my passion. With all the success you may embody, you can never really stop learning and exhausting all that education has to offer.
Inside Woman: Do you see what you do on radio and TV as a Ministry? And what message of Christ do you try to convey to your audience?
Tumelo Mothotoane: I made a covenant with God and I said “Lord, if it does not inflict change, I do not want to be a part of it. If it does not make people STOP, LISTEN and THINK, then I do not want to be a part of it.” We as young people are easy to shy away from publicly proclaiming our relationship with God and its through shows like ‘YOUNG MOTIVATION’ that I have hosted, that I attempted to dilute those barriers and encourage Christ-related conversations.
Inside Woman: What role does your faith in Jesus Christ play in your education and ministry?
Tumelo Mothotoane: My name Tumelo means Faith in Pedi so every time I go through a downhill moment, I remind myself of the password that unlocks my strength and keeps me moving. I always imagine everything that I desire to achieve in my head first. It’s only through faith that I envision it all and work hard towards achieving it through the leadership and guidance of God.
Inside Woman: What is the best advice given to you and from whom?
Tumelo Mothotoane: My mother often reminds me that all things (Not just the good things. Not just the bad), but All Things, work together for the good of those who love the Lord.
Inside Woman: There are so many negative influences bombarding women from a very early age about what is acceptable, attractive and appropriate. How can women combat and avoid these poor influences to ensure that they are God instructed rather than world instructed?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Psalm 139:14 descriptively answers that question. It says, “we are fearfully and wonderfully made”. This scripture literally sweeps me off my feet because I was once also convinced that I can never be socially accepted because I did not fit the prescribed ‘beauty scale’ or ‘economic class’ which the media constantly fed me. I cannot emphasise enough how important to pursue a God-guided life. A life of purpose.Where you realise that you were not born to fit in but to stand out. It’s important to understand and believe that the so called ‘beauty scale’ cannot equate God’s measure of your beauty. It is essential to see ourselves through God’s eyes and not the lenses of our TV screens or magazine pages. We are women of Proverbs 31 status.
Inside Woman: If you could tell young girls and women about respecting their bodies, what would it be?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Author, Steven Handel once said that “Your Body is the machinery that makes your life possible. Respect it.” There are people fighting illness and diseases; however some of us are still under God’s grace to keep our bodies pure. When you respect yourself and your body, you give any other person no choice but to follow the same protocol. A healthy and respected body yields productive seeds. And we need to remember that God did not lend us these bodies to make a mockery out of them, but to regard them as temples for a good purpose.
Inside Woman: Who are some of the women that impact your life?
Tumelo Mothotoane: I look up to women who have fought through to achieve whatever they set their minds to. Close women to me like my mother and my late grandmother have sown remarkable seeds in me that shape the young woman that I am today. My former and extremely strict matric English teacher, Mrs Vijay, taught me so much about the power of hard work and work ethics at large. My former mentor Ms Zandile Nzalo drilled it in me that there is a gap for young black women to instil positive change within our communities. Overall, I learn as much as I can from different women that I encounter.
Inside Woman: Who is your greatest source of inspiration and why?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Dr Martin Luther King is one of my greatest sources of inspiration of all time. There is something about a man who carries a dream so selfless that he is willing to give up his own life for the emancipation and liberation of the next man. His life journey is filled with so many faithful prophecies and it takes one deeply rooted in faith and to God to possess bravery enough to challenge the atrocities that he faced. He showed me that anything is possible. That God is not here to continue proving the possible, but that God is also here to turn the impossible to possible.
Inside Woman: How important is for you to have the support of matured Christian women surrounding you?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Each generation possesses wisdom that the younger generation should learn from. It is the same thing with surrounding yourself with women who have matured in the Gospel. I, for example, keep a prayer partner/spiritual mentor. She is an older sister and a friend who has matured in the Gospel and each time I fail to understand something in relation to spiritual matters, she is one of the people I trust enough to confide in. This is important; especially when you have someone you know wants what is best for you. You are able to grow together and they are able to guide you to a path which promises to grow you into a matured Christian woman.
Inside Woman: How do you handle obstacles and things that may try to come against you?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Prayer is one of my useful weapons. I believe that you cannot come into contact with God and leave the same. When I put my mind on a certain goal, I regard my obstacles as an excuse to carving me into perfection. I don’t allow myself to dwell on failures for too long because that wastes time and exhausts my motivation levels.
Inside Woman: How important is prayer and studying of the Bible in your walk with Jesus!
Tumelo Mothotoane: As Christians, we need to be in constant conversation with God. John 5:30 reveals that man cannot do anything alone. Prayer and studying the Bible is important for my growth and walk with Jesus because they are my lifeline to my Creator. My Bible allows me to know God’s personality too and guides me through life’s experiences.
Inside Woman: What inspires you?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Global change makers inspire me. Nature inspires me. People who try to change their lives inspire me. The wisdom from my elders inspires me. My family’s strength to overcome challenges inspires me.
Inside Woman: What advice do you have for Christian women keen to do what you do?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Stay rooted and grounded in God. Never change your focus even when the world tells you that you are wasting your time. Pray. Make God your plan A-Z.
Inside Woman: Many young Christian women struggle with eating disorders and body image issues. You are in the public eye; do you ever feel the pressure?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Like any teenage girl I had my fair share of insecurities regarding my looks, especially back in high school. However, moving to tertiary and even starting my media career, I do not feel pressurised to be anything that is not me. Ironically more so, the standards of media have made me even more stubborn to stand out and preserve my authenticity. Yes, people around me would sometimes comment that I need to fit in with what sells on TV so that I too may be profitable, but I beg to differ.
Inside Woman: People can be judgmental when it comes to success in mainstream culture. What do you say to convince them this is your calling?
Tumelo Mothotoane: That’s the thing; I do not feel any pressure or see any reason whatsoever to ever explain myself to people, let alone those confronting me with a judgmental approach. I simply wake up in the morning and answer my daily calling. I believe that my work should rather do all the talking and defend me.
Inside Woman: One than more third of all teenagers pregnancy end of in abortion. What are your views about abortion?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Abortion is one of the sensitive issues within the teenage community. It is easy to point fingers and judge what is wrong or right, more especially if you are not or have ever been in the situation. I encourage our parents to be our closest information lines. Having a close relationship with your parent will allow you to seek guidance through life’s challenges such as teenage pregnancy. Moreover, it is important to educate ourselves on anything before we make life changing decisions such as having an abortion.
Inside Woman: What’s next for you? Where do you think God is taking you?
Tumelo Mothotoane: Oh, right now one of my short term goals is to complete my Bachelor of Arts degree and pursue my post-graduate studies in Media. Wherever God leads me I will follow for His plans, thoughts and will for my life are far greater and bigger than me. I trust Him to renew my desires.
Follow Tumi on Twitter here
Photos of Tumi are from: Kasi Times