Fingers Crossed

March 18, 2014 — 5 Comments

So Mtuseni has his first interview for an internship tomorrow. It’s at Kasie FM — a community radio station south of Johannesburg. They do a lot of informational programming, so he’s excited about possibly doing research for topics and assisting a producer. Mtuseni loves music, but he also wants to make a difference in people’s lives through radio.

According to Google Maps, the station is a 53-kilometer trip from his house in Lanseria, north of Joburg. Knowing how difficult transportation is for him, I told Mtuseni to try and get a mid- to late-morning appointment, but the station manager told him 9 AM. This means Mtuseni will need to take four minibus taxis… and will leave his house at 5 AM. He’s never done this route before, so he needs to figure out which taxis to take where: there are no published schedules or routes. I’m hoping he gets there on time; Johannesburg rush-hour traffic is pretty bad.

Then there’s the challenge of making it there if he does get an internship. He only needs 100 hours to graduate, so if he could do a 10-to-2 or 10-to-3 shift five days a week, he’d be done in four or five weeks… and could avoid traffic. They’d still be hellish weeks (and he’ll be tired and crabby — at least with me) but it’s doable. He says he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get an internship. And given that the YFM Academy he applied to last week announced their selections two days later, that’s another intern opportunity missed.

Boston+Media+House+radio+studioSo today he went back to school to polish up his demo in the studio for the interview. I think back to the end of 2012, when Mtuseni told me he was changing his major to journalism because he was intimidated by the radio software and thought he’d never learn it. I told him to reconsider — radio has been his dream since we first met — and to never make a life decision based on fear and avoidance, to always move toward something and not away from something. Luckily, he stuck with radio and is so damn happy (and confident!). Today he was “just chilling in the studio” working on the demo. Wow… how far we’ve come.

But this is only the beginning of a new phase. Hopefully he’ll get the gig tomorrow — but the South African economy is tight and super competitive. Send good vibes to Mtuseni today…. he’ll be interviewing at 3 AM east coast time tomorrow. He’s flashing a victory sign here, but I’ve got my fingers crossed…

Follow and share updates about the Long-Distance Dad book project on Facebook!

5 responses to Fingers Crossed



    this came at the perfect time: the exact week my teenager starts a cushy internship in downtown Phoenix over spring break… She will drive her own car and she just left after mining my wallet for a few bucks to stop off at an independently owned coffee shop vs Sbux… I have sent her this post so she understands. Having spent time in Brasil, Argentina, Panama and Belize she could imagine living situations similar to Mtuseni’s. For that she has some perspective, but I find I need to keep reminding her… thank you for your timely post. Best, Renee



      Yes, I always get perspective via Mtuseni. When I complained about being cold in this winter without end, he said “But there you can press a button and change your circumstances.” No heat or electricity in his community.

      And no funky coffee shops. I told him to eat breakfast before the 4-hour trip to his interview so he wouldn’t be dragging, but he said he won’t. He never eats breakfast because he “wants there to be enough bread” for his little brother and sister. And that’s not for lack of hunger; when he was visiting me in the US, he made Dagwood breakfast sandwiches that defied gravity and logic!

      Good luck to your daughter. Hopefully that bodes well for Mtuseni and his intern quest.



        Thank you. I think we all need luck, but some of us more. I consider myself part of the web of humanism… not just Americanism, so that idea that spreading the love and support to fellow humans works better for me than “why don’t we take care of our own people…” Hopefully your story picks up traction. And I’m starting with the person in the mirror. Plan to show Mtuseni’s story to my daughter tonight. – Renee



    Good for him! Wishing him well.


What do you think?...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s