TENDAI MAPHOSA

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Tendai Maphosa is a Zimbabwean-born and raised finance and data protection professional currently working with a Luxembourg- based fund manager. He’s always had a keen interest in documentary filmmaking and uses his media production house Soundproofilm to create diverse content. His documentaries are known to push social and cultural boundaries; some of his videos have earned over 550k views. Tendai’s latest project, The Feeling Station, is a candid and no-holds barred podcast that shares anonymous tales of relationship break ups.

by
Rhoda Molife
rhoda@houseofmutapa.com

Finance, film production and music – how do you fit it all in?

It’s become somewhat of an art-form over the years. The key to making it work is leaving each of those where it belongs after a cut off time. This is much easier to do with the work stuff because 5pm is 5pm right? The work laptop stays in the office after 5pm and the camera and music equipment are put down at 6pm on a Sunday. I must admit, it’s harder putting down the creative stuff because I often get lost in the moment. I have to stick to that routine otherwise everything falls apart.

 

What inspired your fascination with film?

My journey into filming has a bit of an unusual start. My mother had a brain aneurysm that suddenly went pop in 2012. Whilst she was in hospital, I decidedto create a video journal of her road to recovery. She didn’t make it, but the emotion on people’s faces when they saw everything they’d done in anticipation of her return was priceless. When it ended, the
spark to get into filming was already lit.

And with music?

I come from a musical family. My dad (endearingly known as Papa) and my sisters have amazing voices. At Queensdale Primary School I was the drummer for the percussion band. Papa noticed my love for instruments, so he bought me a small Yamaha keyboard when I was ten. I taught myself to play and the love for music has continued to grow since then.

You play the piano right? What other instruments do you play?

Yes, I do play the piano. I also play the bass guitar which I taught myself when I was in university. My cousin Tinashe Faku (may his soul rest in peace) was a great bass guitarist and watching him play inspired me. So, I saved a few dollars and purchased my first one. It was a blue Legend guitar. It wasn’t the greatest, but it’s the reason I spend hours listening to music and grooving along today. Now I can’t tell which one I love more between the piano and bass guitar.

How did you birth Soundproofilm?

When I was in university, I had a small music production facility with a good friend of mine, KayomboKamawu, that was called Soundproof Audio. With the growing interest in film, I just decided to make the name more relatable to the visual side of things and Soundproofilm was born.

Your latest project is The Feeling Station – what’s it about?

It’s a podcast that gives the listening audience a front row view of relationships and why they didn’t work. It creates a therapeutic and safe environment for people to share their break up stories anonymously, without feeling judged. Although some experiences are more dramatic than others, they all present a valuable lesson that listeners benefit from. It airsevery Saturday.

How did you conceive the whole idea?

The podcast was inspired by a very good friend of mine who shared her break-up story via Facebook Live. She had been in a mentally abusive relationship for three years and didn’t know it. The way she told her story and the lessons she shared afterwards just got me thinking about the countless people who would like to let it out but didn’t want to be known.

I gave it a little thought and the podcast was born – that was three months ago. It’s been an amazing journey that has reinforced the value of talking openly. I sense you like to push the boundaries…for the greater good of course…! Boundaries are great because they create form. But at the same time, those same boundaries create limits that I feel should be broken. You always get greater results when you push boundaries. Think about cricket. You get higher scores every time your ball goes over the boundary. It’s the same with everything around you. Push intellectual, social, financial or whatever boundaries surrounding you and you can almost be guaranteed you will have greater returns.

As a child you wanted to be…

Honestly, I can’t remember, but I think I wanted to be a computer scientist. That dream came crashing when I didn’t do as well as I wanted to for my O’ Level computer practical exam. I couldn’t deal with the grade I got, which wasn’t bad, but it was enough for me to call it quits.

What are two favourite childhood memories of growing up in Zimbabwe?

That’s an easy one. First memory is munching every mint crisp chocolate bar there was available. The second is drinking every bottle of Cascade juice I could get my hands on. As you can see, the best memories about Zimbabwe are all about food 🙂

Living in the diaspora is…

…In a word…interesting. The diaspora is what you make it. A lot of my experience has been down to choices that I have made, both good and bad. In countries like the UK, information is everything. The more you know and are exposed to, the more you can do.

Your 2 biggest challenges have been…

Finding my own feet with no family around and building meaningful friendships and relationships. It’s easy to build connections and solid networks in Zimbabwe because culturally, communities are a big thing back home. So, everyone knows someone
that knows someone. Whereas here, it’s quite different. Culturally, people are individualistic meaning they stick to themselves a lot. Cracking that barrier to start connecting and growing that network was pretty tough.

How did you handle those challenges?

Coming from a family of five awesome kids, being the only one out here is pretty tough because family is everything. I’m grateful for WhatsApp because I can keep in touch via phone and video. In addition to this, I fly home every year to connect with my family
and that makes all the difference.

The second challenge is not as big an issue anymore. Corporate networking happens a lot at many of the data protection conferences I attend. Building meaningful professional relationships has become a lot easier and most of it has to do with growing up, I guess.

How do you balance work and family life?

The key to making this happen is leaving office work in the office. I stopped taking work home a few years ago and it has made all the difference.

The best thing about what you do is…

There are no rules! Do you know how awesome it is to do stuff where creativity is the driving force and rules?

The first thing you do when you wake up is…

…You don’t wanna know!

And the last thing at night?

I research on employment market trends so that I have a clear view of the things I need to start doing now to remain relevant in 10 years’ time.

What’s the dream?

To kiss finance/banking/data protection goodbye and run a fully-fledged media production house.

Follow Tendai here:
IG: @tintolinto, @feelingstn, @soundproofilm, @destafrican
Facebook: Tinto Linto

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