I caught up with the ever stylish and bold Suliwe Sihlwayi, a well-known face in and around the Bay. Suliwe is the presenter and producer of her show “Gals Night In” on Bay TV, Channel 260, and for a change she was the one on the receiving end of questions. Suliwe is a free spirit and wants this freedom to be felt by everyone in the room
SS: Besides being a TV show host, what else keeps you busy?
SULI: I’m a full time student at NMMU studying towards a BA MCC degree this keeps me very busy! When I have the drive, time and energy for it I DJ and on weekends I host a radio show with my two talented, dramatic, informative and funny co-hosts Charlie and Lusi at Madibaz Radio. I read, books have become my friends. I sometimes neglect them, but I always go back. Music also keeps me company, finding it, listening to it, and playing it at the station or clubs is great.
SS: We notice that you are building a brand around your name, what tools and platforms are you using to do this?
SULI: Hmmm i don’t know if I’m building a brand more than I’m making a career out of something I love i.e. TV, entertainment etc. Just like an accounting student would do when he/she is working towards that final board exam. I’m just tryna make a living from something I love. The concept of building a brand terrifies me because I connect that with having to be a certain way or stifling my sometimes spontaneous self for this purpose of building thus monumental brand. I don’t want that and also I don’t have a team working with me or for me, I just have these platforms in which I operate from so I just try to make sure I do my best and let that speak for itself.
SS: What does feminism mean to you?
SULI: We live in a patriarchal and sexist society. It isn’t neutral how things are setup and women are most affected, men too, but women are in serious chains man! The genius thing that this setup was able to do is make the chains that we wear (men and women) a part of our wardrobe and we then wear them willingly. So feminism for me is a movement that wants to first show you those chains and then help you remove the chains and then once you see the difference, the load that’s off you, help others remove their chains too. That’s in my own words ….but my shero bell hooks defines feminism as a “movement to end sexism, sexual exploitation and oppression.” So you see it’s not gender specific because we are all affected by patriarchy. It’d not a fight for women against men.
SS: What plagues women in media the most?
SULI: Having to fit a certain stereotype of what a women is and should be. This plagues all women, in public and in private spaces, but I think because media perpetuates and enforces a certain view in a massive and instantaneous way, that society inevitably buys into, for women to contribute in this field they have to conform to that view/ideal.
SS: How can you help this situation?
SULI: By breaking down the doors and to keep pushing back you know. Freedom was never given to anyone, you fight for this thing and you just hope others see your fight so that they can join and help make things easier for everyone else.
Suliwe just has a presence about her, you can’t miss her! Great things are coming your way DJ Sulz :)