There is something special about Rorisang Thandekiso. She is 'not the average girl on the radio.' And you are about to find out one of the many reasons why, when she makes her debut on Metro FM with her brand-new show, Lifted, on 4 April 2020. An insanely talented multi-hyphenate—she’s a musician, (remember ‘hittin’ the spot and jamming’ to Muzart in 2013?)— a content producer, radio and television personality, speaker and so much more.
‘Clothed with strength and dignity’ indeed, Rorisang is the essence of black girl magic in all it’s glory. The former YoTv presenter initially wanted to study International Relations and was into public speaking and debating in high school. But she ended up in the entertainment industry. Her work ethic, authentic and genuine personality has opened many doors and we believe that she is just getting started.
What are your thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic?
It’s an interesting time on many levels. Interesting and scary. Scary in the sense of how quick things can change. If somebody would have told us two weeks ago that this would be our reality, it would have sounded far-fetched and pretty dramatic. But this is our life right now and it is, what it is.
I think that in the midst of all that we face, there is an opportunity to find things to be grateful for. The first thing that may want to creep in is fear. But for me it feels like a forced reset button, one where I am finding myself in a constant state of gratitude.
My heart goes out to families that have been impacted directly and indirectly. As a creative, I look at myself and my peers in the creative industry, it’s a scary time for our careers. We depend on so many external factors. It’s been a real eye-opener and has forced us to think creatively in terms of make a living and sustaining ourselves. A sad time but an interesting time for reflection.
How have you been coping with the nationwide lockdown?
Funny enough, I have really been okay. For me, 2019 was a rehearsal. I spent most of the year in bed recovering. (More on this below). So, the days don’t feel that long for me. If this was 2018, I would have been losing my mind. I had five jobs, was super busy and would’ve been like WHAT am I going to do with myself?? I have not felt it that much to be honest because I’ve just come out of a very long recovery period. And I think to some extent my body still needs some downtime. It’s been perfectly fine for me. I really can’t really complain yet.
When did you find out about Metro FM and what was the first thing you did when you found out?
I find out just a little over a week ago actually. Funny thing is they spoke to me two or three years ago. And there was a conversation some time last year and usually it’s just that. You can never walk out of these conversations and think something is going to happen.
So, when I finally got that call, it was AMAZING! I celebrated with ice-cream, pie or chicken wings, something that I LOVE to eat. (Laughs). But seriously, I called my mom and we just prayed together over the phone. It was a beautiful moment to see some of the things that I had been dreaming about materialise.
Tell us more about your new show, The Lift, (why the Lift?), what can listeners look forward to?
A lift represents a couple of things. It is a space you walk into where everybody has a different destination, where we all come from different backgrounds, but using this one medium or tool to get to where we are going. I want to create an environment and platform that is for everyone and where no one feels like they are isolated or kept out. It’s also something that lifts you up, I want people to feel uplifted when listening to the show. And to level up, you know?! (Laughs)
How did your experience at TOUCH HD prepared you for this new role?
TOUCH HD was a great experience for me. It taught me so much about the radio world. I was used to an audience that is usually there—with television millions of viewers are ready to receive you. But with online radio I had to work to get listeners. I really appreciate what it represented, what it stood for me, and how it expanded me. It was a great conversation starter for me in the world of radio. TV can spoil you because there are things like inserts, and things that can people can actually see. Radio is a conversation. It’s capturing people, so TOUCH HD was my playground in exercising that side of me. I hope that people will get to see more and hear more of me in this space.
American Christian poet, author, and all-round superwoman Jackie Hill-Perry recently wrote a riveting opinion piece, titled ‘God is always up to something.’ She quoted John Piper, saying ‘God is always doing 10 000 things in your life, and you may only be aware of three.’ These words are so apt right now.
MetroFM opening a door, (especially during such a time as this), is amazing news. But it also comes at a time in your life where you’ve been going through some challenges in terms of your health. Please share a bit about this— and how it has strengthened your faith, and shaped and shifted your way of thinking and being?
I love what Jackie said, I saw that post and was so inspired by it. It got me thinking my health struggles were, I don’t even know how to put it…but the worst time of my life and still a great challenge for me. And to a large extent I think I was caught off guard. You know when you feel you’re at your best in life and something just comes and hits you sideways??
For the past four years, actually in November it will be my fifth year struggling with my health and actively trying to figure out what is actually wrong with from a health perspective. It’s been a long five years and the hardest season of my life. The four years were horrible! I was literally in pain every single day; I lived with pain and even figured out a way to cope. There were good days and bad days, AND it was also the busiest time of my life, in terms of career.
But 2019 was sort of like the crescendo, where everything just exploded. I had two major surgeries in the space of three weeks, I was diagnosed with so many things, endometriosis, fibroids and cysts. And I spent most of the year just recovering.
My biggest hurdle was recovering mentally, I was not prepared on how overwhelming it would be. Just gearing myself up again and learning to depend on others to help me do basic things like going to the bathroom and learning to walk again was really difficult. It took me eight to ten days to learn to walk again after my last surgery. It was a LOT.
However, through it all my faith grew. I now say I have a little bit of cheek towards the devil. There are certain things that I just don’t stand for now. I’ve just gone through too much to let him overpower my mind. I’ve fought that battle so many times, now I’m like ‘you are not coming at me that way!’
But more than it has taught to me to connect with people. Me being vulnerable with my journey, my illness and with my recovery has helped me to connect with people across South Africa and the world. Where I have been able to get into conversations that I would have never being able to get into. I have been a support system to people I don’t know and people that don’t know me, have been a great support system to me with voice notes, DM’s where we would talk and pray together. This season has really show me the power of connecting with people in a real way. And I’m so grateful.
Social media is not just about liking pictures and people liking your pics and putting your best foot forward. Sometimes it’s putting your worst foot forward. And being amazed at the love, support and encouragement from people you don’t know. And sometimes I found it easier talking to people I didn’t know because I didn’t have to be strong, I didn’t have to have it all together, I didn’t have to have or fake a good day, I could simply say I’m having the worst day.
It was a faith booster for me. Because I saw how God will really anyone and everyone. He will speak so LOUD that you can hear Him and feel Him. This season really was where I could feel God’s love left, right and center. Like I said, It’s made me bold to step up to the devil and be like what, not here, today satan!
What is more likely to happen—Muzart blessing us with another album or Rorisang releasing a solo project?
Both are highly possible. Muzart! We love each other, I think so, we are in love with each other. And when love reigns magic happens. Anything is possible.
And in terms of a solo project, I’m back in radio now which means music is in the forefront again. I’m listening to music more, engaging it and I’m having music conversations, that’s how I fell into music the first time around.
It’s definitely not impossible. Both are not impossible! (Laughs).
Who would you love to collaborate with?
I would LOVE to do something with Thandiswa Mazwai. I would love to collaborate with The Muffinz, Kwani Experience and would love to vibe with Shekhinah, I think we would have a lot of fun! And Black Coffee!! To this day (I hope he reads this article), he still owes me a song.
How would you describe your personal style?
One word. COMFORT. I love to be comfortable. I work in an industry that is very fast paced and also very superficial where people are always looking perfected, glammed up and at their best. There is nothing wrong with that, but for me I am more efficient and effective when I am comfortable. So, I try to look dope in very comfortable clothes. I want you to say ‘oh my gosh you look nice’ – but I’m not like ‘Oh I can’t wait to get home and take this off.’ I want to be able to wear it all night, and take a compliment and still be able to wear it again. I’m all about comfort.
What are you currently reading?
The Sin of Certainty by Peter Enns.
Your got to ‘lift me up’ track?
Amour Tés La by Snarky Puppy.
And the brothers out there who want to know; what is Rorisang looking for in a man?
Right now, I.AM.NOT.LOOKING.FOR.A.MAN. (Laughs). I am trying to get healed, recover and get my life together.
But when I do, I am looking out for a person who has journeyed with himself and is comfortable with who they are. Someone who has journeyed with God and is comfortable with who God says they are. Someone that is loving and kind not to me, but to others, first. I want to see him love on others, before I see him love on me. Someone that loves people, because that’s my personality, I would hate to be stuck with somebody who keeps going, “When are we going home?”. I want someone that wants people. A man that is okay with the world not being okay, and willing to do the not so okay seasons in life with me.
Catch Rorisang Thandekiso on MetroFM from 2 - 4am on weekends from 4 April 2020.