We caught up with Zilungile Zimela, our Marketing, Communications & Partnerships Officer. This 29-year-old inspiring woman from the Eastern Cape is the newest addition to our FunDza Family. This is what she had to say…
Q: Who is Zilungile?
Zilungile is a Black African woman, rooted in her beliefs, pride, teachings and love of her people. She’s an Eastern Cape-born social activist, a community builder, and spoken word fanatic. She’s a communications enthusiast with a passion for literacy, the youth, and all things tech and media.
Q: What was it like growing up in the Eastern Cape?
I had the most amazing childhood. I grew up in the lush fields of Port St Johns, where the air is crisp and the kids still play outside, where neighbours know each other and exchange a cup of sugar for miellie-meel, the nkqo-nkqo (knock-knock) vibes, and we still go to the chiefs to first settle a matter before taking it to the police. This way of life instilled in me my sense of self; it has made me the strong-willed woman I am today.
Q: You’re were an Activator, and worked at Activate as their Communications Officer. Now you have joined FunDza to do similar work. What is it about this work that you love?
I love communications and PR, I cannot separate the two. Never mind the technical aspect of it all, which I find fascinating. But the best part is meeting different people from all walks of life, discovering how they live and finding out how you can help tell their story. It’s about telling their story in the correct format and context, connecting South Africans and sharing the amazing things they do with the rest of the world. I love words, the artistry of the spoken and written word. Words have to transport you so I love content development, content generation and content dissemination. And that’s what attracted me to FunDza. The literacy aspect of it all is great. The fact that there are still books you can touch and smell. The interaction with the story. It’s all about getting information from one person to benefit and uplift the life of the next. I love words.
Q: What can’t you live without?
My Mom. My family. My watch, can’t live without a watch (whether it works or not). And Rooibos.
Q: What are some of your best reads and what are you reading currently?
Currently: my morning devotion book, a hilarious meditation book called Chant to be happy, and the M&G Top Influential Women. It’s great to find out who has shaped the world. I’ve read Links in a Chain, Streams to rivers, a lot of Danielle Steel, works by Zakes Mda, Maya Angelou, the Xhosa Bible (the first 5 books), some ‘how to get that funding’ books and articles… The list is long and very varied.
Q: Down time weekend?
I’m a reserved extrovert and have a thing about personal space. I share the same philosophy with Oprah that when you walk into a room, it must rise up and welcome you. I love being indoors – I’m not adventurous at all. So no long walks on the beach and no hiking.
Q: What’s your 5 year plan?
I’m getting married in two years, that’s first. I wanna devote myself to giving back to my community. The only way I can see that I’ve grown is to see other Zilungile’s out there reaching their dreams. I want to travel also, I’ve travelled here at home and want to live a footprint abroad.
Q: What’s your message to young people?
Believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do. Read and educate yourself. Make mistakes, learn from them, forgive yourself and move on. Young people need to find themselves in the circles that they aspire to be influential in. Bring it in, summon things forth and call things into existence. I want young people to believe in their voices and in the conviction of their truth.
We’re so happy that Zilungile is part of our little family and we know we can expect great things from her.