In September 2010 a young, wild and curious me took a chance at something new… Four years later it is time for me to take that journey again. This time with so much more experience and understanding. Yes, it’s time for me to open the doors to a new Mlungu for Hectic Nine-9.
I really cannot believe that my journey on Hectic Nine-9 has spanned over 4 years. Those years have seen me graduate with my degree from UCT, present the live show, work as a studio producer for live television, start a company, take on my very own radio show and serve the board of a fantastic organisation. In many ways I have shocked myself by the possibilities one can achieve when you are passionate about something. I do, however, feel that I am starting to outgrow my own shoes and I am itching to take that next dangerous step to allowing me to fly towards even greater success.
So yes, on 15 December this year I will be hosting my last show on Hectic Nine-9. I did, however, feel as though I owed you all an explanation and to hopefully make you realise that in no way is my decision to leave based on any anger or fear.
So why AM I leaving?
You know, I wish there was a simple answer for this question. One of the main reasons that I am leaving is that for anybody to be in one place for too long is unhealthy. Hectic Nine-9 has taught me so much in my four years and has seen me grow from presenter into producer and beyond. I do, however, feel like my opportunities for personal growth are starting to deplete and because I am so passionate about growth and development, I would not be living up to my message if I hung around for safety’s sake – it’s time that I spread my wings and experience a new challenge in my life.
To reject the fallacy, no there is nothing that I am leaving Hectic Nine-9 specifically for. Rather it’s an opportunity for me to rediscover who I want to be (the me God wants me to be) and to take the time to explore more opportunities in my field.
There are plenty more reasons I could go in to for making this decision but I feel it would not be appropriate on the web. I do want you to know that I am extremely happy and excited for the future.
Let me elaborate… I am 23 years old and have experienced more work opportunities in my 4 years of TV then most people experience in their entire lives. God has blessed me like that. I do, however, feel as though it would be irresponsible of me to hang on to my opportunities for much longer and to not let other people have the same opportunities I have had. In addition to this, I have a massive fear of being stagnant. I never want to feel like I arrive at work and am learning nothing. In order for me to keep growing as a person, it’s important that I experience new things and take big risks in the hope that it comes with rewards of personal growth. I have big dreams, South Africa, and cannot achieve them by standing in one place. I may have nothing in the immediate pipeline for the future but I cannot create any opportunities while I am still with HN9. I need to experiment, fail, experiment again and fail again… I need to be the best!
So what’s next?
As it stands, I am going to continue with my radio show on Good Hope FM. On the work front, I am also freelancing as a Development Producer in Cape Town. Other than that I am on the hunt for the next big challenge in my life. This might see me work on more television shows (or behind the scenes), it might see me move to Johannesburg, it might see me start a business or 2, it might see me start a YouTube channel or 2, it might even see me move to the UK to explore how places like the BBC do television and specifically how they incorporate digital as an entertainment medium into the way people consume media.
Work aside, I do feel like God is calling me to be involved in more service. I will continue to serve as a director on the board of Life Choices, I will be taking a new position as a youth leader at my parish, the entrepreneur in me is going to be working on a few digital platforms I am wanting to develop – one is an innovative look at religion and specifically Catholicism, and the other is in insurance – using online video content to promote saving in our youth. Other than that I will still be assisting Hectic Nine-9 as a freelance studio producer into the new year.
What has this journey taught me so far?
Wow! I don’t think there is a way that you can speak to 3 million youth on a daily basis and not get affected. HN9 has been my absolute life for the past 4 years and one of the most amazing experiences I have seen was something I saw on Facebook recently. When I had started on the show in 2010 I had accepted a series of fans on my private Facebook account (as I didn’t think I would be there for long). These kids were only 15 or so at the time. Recently I have seen all their posts of glory as they are starting to be accepted into universities and winning accolades. I cannot believe that I have journeyed with our youth during some of the toughest years of anyones life. How proud I feel that our viewers are achieving so much with their lives and inspiring their peers.
Another lesson I have learned is that people do business with people. Not once have I received a vote of thanks or message of praise from a fan purely because of the fact that I am on TV. Rather, I was receiving votes of thanks and messages of praise because of how everyone that watches the show on a daily basis connected deeply with something personal they knew about me. It has been such an important lesson to remember – that people aren’t stupid. They will know if you are being fake with them, so be real ALWAYS! And be the authentic you always – bruises and all.
Never lose hope! If there is one thing that the youth of South Africa should be proud of, it’s their ability to never lose hope. Every day you interact with us on air, I am overwhelmed by your desire to learn, grow and become the person you want to be. It has inspired me to keep going in spite of the many challenges I face on a daily basis.
This isn’t goodbye!
You and I will get a chance to say our final goodbyes on the 15th of December so I have decided to not speak for too long here. Just know that I am not abandoning you. I will always have a special place in my heart for the youth of my beloved country. One day when you are all entrepreneurs, famous TV stars, dancers, actors, lawyers, doctors or even fisherman and policeman, I hope you will send me a message so I can revel in your success with you. Continue to shine positivity and light to your peers and loved ones and never forget that you are not alone in whatever circumstance you may find yourself in. God has a great big plan and you are exactly where you are meant to be. Smile!
I wanted to leave you with a message I received on Facebook in the hope that it will inspire you to use your life to grow other people around you:
It has taken me a whole lot of courage to write to you this message but here goes nothing…
I am telling you this story of mine because I believe sharing something personal with someone brings some sort of healing. I was born with a severe heart muscle condition and recently I’ve been told that I will only live for the next year or two maximum. Seems like a very short time left isn’t it? But each day I have is a gift and grateful to still be here and I always remember that God has my life in His hands and has the final say. When I watch you present, its like you speak to my heart, I felt a sense of peace that came over me. I believe that God was blessing me through YOU and I want to say Thank You for being that blessing in my life. I can’t even put into words the joy and peace I got from you.
You encourages me to let my faith keep me going even in this situation I am in. Thank You for always sharing your wisdom, it really reflects on what a kind and gentle heart you have. You are an amazing person Danilo, beautiful inside and out and I pray that God may continue to bless you in everything you do.
I have grown to love you as this God-Fearing man so Thank You for who you are and I will always be a fan in this lifetime and in the next.
If heaven can’t wait to have me then I can’t wait to tell heaven about you.
Lots of love #DANcers and I know we will see each other on your screens again soon! Please keep supporting me the way you have been and follow me on this digital journey as I try and bring South Africa one step closer to the modern era of digital TV.