By Aphiwe Ngowapi
Born and bred in the creative city of Grahamstown (now Makhanda), it was destiny that I would fall in love with art when I got exposed to it at school. Later on, I realised that art is love. In the words of Marc Chagall, “Art must be an expression of love, or it is nothing”.
I love being active and am full of energy. I believe that the besides the mind, the body is a powerful tool. That is why I have also always been a curious individual, and from a young age, I wanted to try out everything and anything that piqued my interest.
Uncertain of what I wanted to do after high school and on the journey for independence, I decided to leave the City of Saints for Bloemfontein. I then enrolled at the University of the Free State (UFS) and pursued my degree in Communication Science, where I specialised in Journalism and Media Studies. The years I spent in Bloemfontein were some of my best years because I was exposed to many things and “got woke”. There I also met incredible people and learned a great deal about myself.
After graduating, I spent the next three years working at various jobs in Gqeberha, the Free State and Gauteng. Before my 28th birthday, I realised it was time to come back home to Makhanda, and my experience so far has shown that there is no place like home.
Within a week of being back in Makhanda, I met two inspirational individuals who introduced me to their work in the community and spaces like the Assumption Development Centre (ADC). At the ADC, I did a short course and also became a tutor; this journey would lead me to where I am today – at Grocott’s Mail.
2023 became my year of breakthrough because I would finally use what I had studied at UFS. So I started an internship at Grocott’s Mail. This experience would prove that I had indeed chosen the right course to study because, after years of trying to get into journalism and media, I was convinced I had studied the wrong course. Through this experience, I want to tackle one problem at a time and help make our town the safe town we all know and love, where arts reign.
To sum up my journey and experience, I use Chance The Rapper’s words, “I made it through, and everything I gave to you, I gave to you; you got it, it’s coming”. So I am ready for the next phase of my life; I continue dreaming and making plans for the future.
So when asked who I am, I tend to struggle to answer because I am still trying to figure out who I am. But what I do with certainty is live my best life as Aphiwe Phishy Ngowapi.
(Aphiwe Ngowapi is a 2023 Grocott’s Mail ADC intern, and writes regularly for Grocott’s Mail).