Interview: Boipelo Seswane

Apart from a mild obsession I’d secretly harboured, for years, revolving around Oprah interviewing me after I’d realised some impressive dream and experienced international success, I’d always wondered what it would be like to be on the other end of that coveted hot-seat.

So i figured I’d give it a shot.

This new facet of my blog couldn’t have asked for a better guinea pig, i mean pioneer, than a great friend of mine and all round awesome person, Boipelo Seswane.

Boipelo Seswane

I met Boipelo four years ago; we were both studying at UCT (The University of Cape Town) where we both were in the same, joint residence, play that was due to be performed in the RES4RES festival. To say we kicked ass would be an understatement, but that experience rewarded me with one of the most beautiful friends I’ll ever have.

We went on to work on two more plays together for the same residence; where she won best director in 2011 and i won best comedic actor in 2012. What i’m saying is, awesome knows awesome and this young lady is the epitome of the word.

This was a “twitterview” so i felt it fitting to use our twitter handles instead of our names on this one. In honour of women’s month, i could think of no better strong, young and intelligent woman to kick things off with and celebrate.

 

@urCYPRIAN:
Okay so tell me, what did you study, where and until which level?

@bopzybee:
I studied through the University of Cape Town majoring in Film, Radio Production and English. I went on to do Honours in English, writing a thesis on how HIV/AIDS is written in South African literature.

@urCYPRIAN:
Wow, have you always seen yourself studying Film, Radio Production and English and eventually writing a thesis on such a pertinent topic?

@bopzybee:
The other stuff yes, including drama and journalism but the thesis – no. Haha, definitely not. Life has its own ways of presenting things.

@urCYPRIAN:
So your family offered their unstinting support from the get-go; what with the degree choice and the Honours (thesis subject matter included)?

@bopzybee:
Yes. I don’t believe i told them about the thesis topic but definitely for everything else. From as young as i can remember.

@urCYPRIAN:
So growing up you must have had this vision of what success in the entertainment industry would be like. Have your studies added value to those dreams or would you say they’ve impaired them to a more realistic standard?

@bopzybee:
Definitely the latter. Some people in my opinion will always have better opportunities than others. I’m sure once i get there they will add value but at the moment i’m “on the outside looking in”. It takes time, and lots of other factors.

@urCYPRIAN:
I’m not usually a fan of these crazy “5 year or 10 year” deadlines, but i have to ask: looking at it from a realistic point of view, where do you see yourself in five years? And the looking at it from the point of view of someone with your qualification and where opportunities are made available to you, where do you wish to see yourself in five years?

@bopzybee:
Oh good Lord…Haha.

@urCYPRIAN:
Okay, fine, i guess we can all appreciate the mystery and drama once you’ve made it.

@bopzybee:
I was going to say in an ideal world i would have made it by then, but ideal worlds are sometimes so many worlds away so I’ll settle with the mystery.

@urCYPRIAN:
So considering the current South African literary landscape, where do you see yourself fitting in?

@bopzybee:
I think writing takes much longer than the entertainment industry – i think it changes so often so it’s hard to say how I’ll fit in.

@urCYPRIAN:
I can accept that, but do you have any international ambitions; both in the entertainment industry and as a writer?

@bopzybee:
Yes. Every person who considers themselves a creator seeks a larger audience. The birth of blogs, social media (esp. The more popular kind) is testament to this. I’m currently trying my hand at writing a short story which seems to get longer and more interesting every time i sit with it. This is a piece I’ve been busy with now going on a year and a half.

@urCYPRIAN:
I’m so glad to hear that you’re working on a written piece and i think you’d make a great South African ambassador in both entertainment and literature. Care to share any more info on what you’re working on?

@bopzybee:
I honestly haven’t figured out what it is yet. I call it a short story but it came to me as a play. It sometimes changes and sounds so different from what i think i want it to sound like, but it’s taking me on its own path. All i can say so far is that the working title hasn’t changed from the beginning and it’s “The Girl with Dirty Feet.”
For now – it’s about a girl and dirty feet are involved in her story – and yes they’re her own feet 🙂

@urCYPRIAN:
Haha! Keep me posted because it sounds great, vague blurb and all. Now that you have something in the works, are you at all concerned about the support young and new South African writers receive both nationally and internationally?

@bopzybee:
Truth be told i’m disconnected from it at the moment as i’m living and working in Korea. I’d like to hope there’s support but i wouldn’t be surprised if there was no such “structure” if you will. In the same vein, that’s really just something that makes creative industries so interesting – you have to do it yourself. You have to throw yourself into the pit and see how much mud you can get on you. It all requires an insane amount of madness and bravery.

@urCYPRIAN:
I guess accomplishing something after having done it on your own is so much sweeter, huh?

@bopzybee:
It would be. It’d say so much about the person. So, so much.

@urCYPRIAN:
Do you think South Africa, in terms of the publishing industry, undervalues the role of a literary agent?

@bopzybee:
What is that?
Haha. I kid – i know what it is, but my response serves to answer your question exactly.

@urCYPRIAN:
The perfect answer! Couldn’t have said it any better myself. So, nearing the end of the interview, do you think your degree and Honours holds the same amount of weight as its international counterpart?

@bopzybee:
Uhm, as long as there are Ivy League schools in existence, I’d like to think not. Just as a piece of paper on its own? No.

@urCYPRIAN:
One last question before we call it a night: are you a proTwerker?

@bopzybee:
Of course there had to be that one groundbreaking question.

@urCYPRIAN:
The people want to know.

@bopzybee:
Haha! No, not at all.

She’s talented, she’s intelligent and she’s a beautiful soul and if i could bottle her and share her with the world, i totally would.

I can go on and on about how much i love her, but I’ll leave everything to her and her work. One look at her work and a day spent with her, i can almost guarantee that you’ll be singing her praises. And it all would be well deserved too.

Twitter: @bopzybee

Facebook: Boipelo Seswane

Blog: http://www.kitsowisdom.wordpress.com

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