My name is Pearl Muthivha. I am 35 years old and hail from the beautiful township of Soweto in Gauteng. My media career spans eight years. I started as an intern producer at Soweto TV. I hold a degree in communication science and currently doing my honours with UNISA.
Before being employed at Cape Town TV, where I am head of production, I was employed mainly as a freelance producer for SABC 2 productions such as La Familia and Afro Café, and was line producer for Hectic Nine 9 on SABC2. My experience in television as a producer and line producer has prepared me for a role heading a department.
I am passionate about what I do, and this passion is embedded in the person I am today. My role at Cape Town TV is that of offering mentorship and training to upcoming producers, by sharing the necessary skills I have acquired while producing various shows.
Working in community media, specifically as a black leader and a female, has had its challenges, which I have over the years learned to turn into my strengths. You are constantly faced with issues of sexism and racism in the workplace.
I was employed as a producer for Soweto TV when I was still very young. My age was a constant issue when having to pitch shows or prove that I understood the television industry. Race was another great obstacle as previously the industry was heavily white dominated compared with now. This made it even more difficult for me to enter the market or convince anyone else to believe in my ideas.
Working at Cape Town TV as head of production has also presented many obstacles, leading sometimes to self-doubt. Again, I have constantly been challenged by the issues of race and gender, with race in particular being the greatest obstacle.
I noticed a similar trend when I first started at Soweto TV, that my skin colour would be an obstacle to my reaching where I was heading, but the mentorship I received kept me sane and grounded. I am grateful that I was mentored by the finest in the industry, who prepared me well for being the woman that I am today: strong and influential.
Embracing your colour
Over the years I have learned to embrace my skin colour, particularly in a management position, having realised that I should not limit my abilities and talents based on this. There other great challenge I’ve encountered working for community media, particularly in leadership, is managing people and them seeing your vision as female and being black. I found myself constantly having to prove my abilities to others and win their trust, more so than my white counterparts. But as I already mentioned, I have constantly been faced with this issue, which has prepared me for such a time as now. Ultimately, what doesn’t break you only makes you stronger.
I am planning to further my studies and do my master’s, with the aim of transferring skills to other women who were not as privileged to attend varsity as I was.
~ Pearl Muthivha is head of production at Cape Town TV.
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