– by Thando Dyantyi

My name is Thando Dyantyi – I grew up in a small township called Khayamandi, near Stellenbosch. I was raised by a single parent whom never had a chance to achieve her dream of becoming a professional business woman. Living with my mom was the best thing that ever happened to me because she was always there for me. She inspires me daily to do great things. I also give honour to the Lord, who without Him I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today.

The townships can be dangerous
Growing up, my mom would tell us stories because we didn’t have TV at home. It was special because she would look at us with a beautiful smile and began telling us stories – that is what I would say shaped my life to become the man I am today. I remember the day she came back from work with a small radio, that radio became our best friend. Every time she came back from work, she would ask us to turn on the radio while she was busy cooking. Growing up in that environment really made me see the world differently from my early age; but as a young boy from the township I was also once influenced by many things that were happening around us, up until I realised that I was losing my direction in life after my close friend was killed by the gangs, due to his wrong doings. 

Introduced to Jesus
In 2008, I decided to join Kuyasa Kids – a performing arts group, a group that helped me to grow emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Being a member of Kuyasa kids introduced me to Jesus and I became a born-again child of God. That made my mom very proud of me once again. She would ask me every time when I came back from the rehearsals, “How was it and did you enjoy?”. She knew that was the right place for me and she would encourage me to keep myself around Kuyasa Kids members at all times.

How did I realise my dream?
I found my dream on stage when we were dancing, singing, and giving life to hopeless children in Africa – that made me realise that my life was a story of hope. Through dancing and singing, many kids were getting something to eat, that really motivated me to tell positive stories that would give hope to many people out there. Then, after I passed my matric, I couldn’t go to varsity because my mom couldn’t afford to pay for my tuition; but I had to continue living my dream of storytelling through Film School Africa, where art gives life. With the movies I made at Film School Africa, I managed to win the nation award as a “Best Director of Ubuntu Young Film Festival”. But it didn’t end there, I also won number of awards from Film School Africa, but one that I am so proud of was to win the audience award, which is known as the “Movie of The Year”.

Hard work pays off
In 2015 I managed to get a bursary from Film School Africa to go and pursue my dream of becoming a professional Filmmaker. Today I am a qualified graduate with a BA Degree in Motion Picture Medium. Because I remained positive, as a result I won “Best Multi Cam Director” and “Best technical directing team” in our 2017 graduation Film and Television festival, and I turned my hopeless family background to be my motivation to work hard, to be the reason to keep going until we win. It was never easy for me to be where I am today, but because I wanted to make my mom proud I had to work very hard and remain positive at all times. 

My mom was my inspiration
I do radio presenting and producing because my mom still listens to radio every day and night. I do television because my dream is to tell positive stories and help people to see the beauty of the world through visuals. I started my production company because my mom once had a dream of becoming a business woman and a radio personality. Even my production company is still driven by the beauty of storytelling that was introduced to me by my lovely mom, Nokulukelike Dyantyi. We are all about unmasking the beauty of the world through the lens. Our mission as TDMK Media Production is to tell life changing stories and inspire all nations to be positive. Therefore, I am proud to say that I live my life to give glory to God for giving people who inspired me to be where I am today. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for Kuyasa, my family, Film School Africa, and Stellenbosch Academy of Photography and Design where I am currently working now.

You can do all things!
Today I believe that for all the doors that are open in my life, they are not open
because I am smart or better, but they are open because I had courage to knock when they were closed. Therefore, it is my dream to make it possible for someone else too. Trust in Jesus, follow your passions, and be bold and confident with all that you do. #BePositive.

JOY! Magazine (July 2018)

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