As we kick-start the new year, I met up with Lunga Kupiso for my tenth edition – a first for the year – of #MindsoftheYouth feature year.
Lunga epitomises the true definition of being a hustler and a firm believer in what he wants – he is not easily discouraged by circumstances and this was instilled in him at an early age. He is famously known for his motivational #LKquotes of striving to add value in people’s lives. See below the conversation that I had with him.
Tell me about your upbringing and where you come from?
I was born in Johannesburg and was later taken to Idutywa in the Eastern Cape, to a village called Colosa where I was raised by my great-grandmother and grandmother. That is where I lived for the first 16 years of my life.
Life was colourful, pure and authentic at its purest form. I grew up herding livestock and growing crops.
I later moved back to Johannesburg to live with my mother in Orange Grove. This was the first time I was introduced to the city, first time seeing white people, Indians, coloureds and being introduced to English. We used to learn English in IsiXhosa.
In the village we fetched water in the river and in Johannesburg you just switch on your tap and its here, for me this was the biggest fascination.
I struggled to fit in with the city life and after nine months I started saving money and went back to the Eastern Cape without telling my mother.
When I arrived, my grandmother received a call from my panicked mother because she could not find me. My grandmother told her I was with her.
After some convincing, I eventually went back to Johannesburg to live with my mother and went to Sandringham High School where I finished my matric. I struggled to make friends just because I couldn’t speak English and was different. This was the most challenging period in my life.
To people who don’t know you how would you describe yourself?
I am optimistic to a fault. I am enthusiastic about the prospect of a future where we all belong. A future where we all do what is right not to self-serve but to recognise the importance of doing what is right for a safer society for all of us.
What do you do for a living and why do you do it?
I am a full-time student at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) as well as a freelance broadcaster. I do sports commentary, sports analysis, present a couple of documentaries, voice overs and commercials.
What do you enjoy most about the media and communication industry?
I enjoy the fact that everyday you have a choice to choose your moral high ground or comply with its now, new toxic culture at the cost of yourself for success.
Sports has been consistent in your life. What does sports mean to you?
It has given me life, my love affair with sports started in 2008 when South Africa played a test match at the Wanderers Stadium. I was watching it on SABC 3, Kass Naidoo, South Africa’s first female cricket commentator, was being interviewed about the match. I didn’t understand the game at the time, but I watched for more than 2 hours. When it ended, I did my research and Cricket SA’s name came up. The next day, I went to their offices in Ilovo and I approached a lady who was working there, told her that I was watching the game the previous day and I want to learn, work and be part of this company. Long story short, I started helping out at the office and learning more about the sport. It was through these experiences that I learned about different departments in a company. I fell in love with communications and that is why I ended up studying public relations and communications at UJ.
If you were to become the new minister of Sport, Arts and Culture what can you improve or do better?
I would employ people that have a heart for serving not a heart for heavier pockets. I would cut down budgets that go in to serving the department and see how we can better utilise it to improve sports facilities and people’s lives in different provinces. I guess this speaks to my desired end goal, to serve at the United Nations.
What are your plans for this year?
To finish my marketing communications degree with great marks. To be consistent in believing that the decisions that I have chosen are good for me and most importantly to stay resolute in my faith.
It would also be nice if I can meet a life partner to share my life with.
What is your philosophy of life?
My philosophy is to wake up knowing that I am the master of my own fate but appreciate that I am not in control.
What are you willing to struggle for?
I am willing to struggle for my family and legacy that secures the future of my family. I pray for my children daily. I don’t have kids, I don’t have a wife, I don’t even have a partner but everything I do is dedicated to them.
What did you love to do in school and what were your favourite subjects?
I loved Mathematics and serving the school, I used to do stage lighting and sound for assembly.
What are you most proud of in your life thus far?
Standing up for what is right and not compromising on the values that I stand for. I am proud of the steps I have taken to make peace with events that happened to me as a child and later in high school.
What does Christianity mean to you?
I appreciate and love being a Christian because it centres me when things go my way or not. Also, Christianity has also helped me find meaning in my life.
What is your quake book and what’s your current read?
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is one of the books that made me fully appreciate myself
I recently finished reading Jonathan Trott’s Autobiography. Great book about the importance of mental health. I was reminded that just because you are pursuing success it doesn’t mean you need to kill yourself for it.
If today was your last day how would you spend it?
I would summon the entire community put them in a stadium and I would share my story of perseverance, the little that I have achieved and hope that it reignites the passion within them to pursue a better version of themselves.
What’s your favourite quote?
“Even if your best takes second place, be at peace and continue working” – #LKquotes
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” – Isaiah 43:2
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