East London’s Wandiswa Ntengento is reaping the fruits of her labour as she flourishes in Johannesburg as a senior producer for an international media company BBC World News.
The former Cambridge High School pupil got a taste of journalism as a volunteer reporter for their newspaper.
“I instantly knew that I would one day become a journalist. I also submitted essays and poems for my high school yearbook annually, and my passion for writing intensified my desire to be a journalist,” she said.
Ntengento said she had always wanted to work for the BBC and was quite obsessive in researching the skills needed to work at the organisation.
“I took different media jobs in order to match the expertise they needed from a candidate. While studying journalism at Walter Sisulu University (WSU), I worked as a news anchor at Link FM weekdays and volunteered as a camera operator at TBN Africa during weekends,” she said.
She also freelanced for community newspapers and learnt French to solidify her place in the world.
“I finally joined the BBC BCC in 2015 as an intern and later that year got an offer to be a producer for a business TV show. Fast-forward to 2018, and I’m now a senior producer at the organisation,” she said.
This driven woman attributes her resilience and ambition to being involved in community media and the challenges of limited resources.
She said added that community media was a breeding ground for talent and it was the responsibility of media managers to nurture future journalists.
Ntengento’s road wasn’t an easy one as she had to make a choice to drop out of her diploma in order to pursue being a practicing as a full-time, professional journalist.
“I decided not to continue my studies after I had been selected to be one of six journalists from around the world for the International Women’s Media Foundation Fellowship (IWMF) in Uganda.”
Though her greatest challenge wasn’t graduating on time, the opportunity opened international doors.
For her future plans, Ntengento plans to join the World Bank where she can influence policies and issues affecting the development of Africa.
“Thankfully I’ve had the honour of visiting the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, DC last year. I probably have 10,000 ten thousand more steps to go but I’m willing to work for it,” she said.