My 2011: Lessons And All

It's been a while since I have shared some personal information with you guys. A lot has happened and some I just had to deal with privately first before I can share them with the world. 2011 has been an amazing year for me filled with high and lows. 


I generally consider myself a confident person but sometimes, I too, do get shaken up a bit. The biggest issue this year especially with people who are only getting to know about me has been about my sexuality. The most asked question I had on was; Are You Gay? Of course my answer has been consistent in that I am not GAY, I'm Phil. 

I have said it many times that I do not believe in labels as they limit people and come with stereotypical expectations. Since I am not one to conform, I am a kaleidoscope of different personalities and interests, I just would not want to be boxed into a label.

The lesson from all this for me was the fact that people still do not think of each other as individuals. Nothing wrong with that when you are motivated by the humanity to protect and help the other person.

BUT when that lack of individualism is fueled by stereotyping then I have a huge problem. Just because society labels you as BLACK then you should automatically like so called black music or you are branded fake. 

Just because someone labels you as gay then you should be "choma" or suddenly loose your own identity and become "the gay guy". By refusing to be labelled I am not trying to hide anything, I am just affirming my individualism and want you to see me as Phil before you see all these other labels that come with who I date or the work I do. 


I have never been one to have groups of friends. My best friend Themba Hugo Radebe and I have been friends for over 4 years now. For me friendship is not about convenience but rather compassion. I know that nomater what happens in my life, I can count on Hugo to be there for me.

Someone asked me about having friends in the industry. It is inevitable that when you constantly meet the same people you will end up being friendly with some. However I personally made a conscience decision not to have "celebrity" friends.

At first it was mainly because I did not want that to impact the work that I do. It would be hard to be objective when you have to write a blog about someone you consider a friend. On professional level it just did not make sense for me to get too attached to celebrities. 

However the biggest lesson I learned in that regard is that you need friends in this business. The friendship I am referring to is the kind that is based on mutual respect of each other's work. Just because we close doesn't mean you have to expect me not to do my job.

Now that is a tough territory to play on. How do you write something unflattering about a friend and not feel guilty or feel like you betraying the friendship? That is exactly why I choose to be polite to people I like in this business but just keep the affection at a professional level only. It just complicates things.

On a more personal level, I learned that nurturing the friendship that has been there from the beginning of everything is more important than trying to make new friends. Hugo has been with me when I lived in a room in Westdene, he was there when I lived in a R1.5mil apartment in Sandton, he was there when I left it all and started from scratch again. 

He knows me better than my biological family. He is my family. Now, that is what is important. The rest can come and go. I quiet frankly couldn't give a damn about what they think or say about me but should I hear that he is not happy with me, I immediately wanna know why so that I can fix it. 

2011 has been about protecting this friendship we have. Our brotherhood is solidified now and we'll be together for life.


Lol, where do I start? I hope you not tired of reading already. What a freakin year this has been in that regard. We friends, right? (Lol) Please do not judge me. I am trying to find that one person that I can commit to and build a life with but it is hard. Lawd knows I have tried...

This year I have gone through 3 relationships. Not bad I think but I wanna focus on the two that have changed my life. 

My relationship T was doomed from the word go and I being the ever-so-optimistic thought we could overcome the obvious hurdles. Boy was I wrong. 

The biggest lesson from that relationship was the knowledge that I can not change a person unless they themselves are willing to change. More importantly, you can never let someone disrespect you and your home and be the one apologising for calling him to order. It's ridiculous.

I think to a certain extend I was desperate to make what we had work but the writing was already on the wall. I loved T and still do now.

It pains my heart when I see the path that he has taken with his life that is clearly not leading him anywhere productive. It hurts because you do not just not like someone anymore just because you broke up.

BUT I offered him an alternative. Yes I did not come with diamonds and fancy cars but I came with stability and a sense of maturity that I think he needs. It is all good and fun to be all over the show.

If you are young and "hot" then why not have fun with it BUT unfortunately all that come with a price  if you do not have your priorities set right.

The lessons from my relationship with T taught me that I can not be with someone who does not have goals and a vision for his future when my entire life is about pursuing my dreams.

It just does not work. I have learned that in future I need to be with someone who is either living his dream or is as much of a dreamer and a hard-worker as I am. 

Then there was K. My very own Kardashian shotgun relationship. This was insane. We met and within 2 hours after that we were professing our love for each other. We never took time to get to know each other. That was a mistake. 

I am man enough to admit that I take a bit of getting used to. Yes I can be a bit difficult and do like to get my way most of the time. I am very strong willed ... ok maybe a little spoiled too.

I have been on my own since I was 17 so I have had to depend on myself a lot and when someone comes into my life it is very hard for me to just sit back and let him/her lead for a while. I am not good at compromising, that is my problem. 

My thing with K ended as quickly as it started. One minute we were having fun at the Channel O Awards, the following day someone was not taking my calls. Was it because I insisted that we not go to the after-party but go to Melville instead? I don't know.

I have yet to get a clear explanation as to what happened that made us breakup.Yes I say breakup because that whole "let's take a break BS" did not fly with me. What does taking a break mean anyway?

Are we gonna see other people or am I supposed to wait until the person makes up their mind about whether they want to be with me or not? I felt it was silly and a tad insulting to expect me to wait for K to make a decision about my life without me having any control over my role in it. 

As far as I know we've yet to tell each other that it is over but I assume it is since we haven't spoken to each other for weeks now. 

The lesson from K was merely about relinquishment of some control once in a while. I have a strong personality and have my life script all written but I need to open the room for someone to come in and edit few things. I need to let my armour go and allow myself to be vulnerable for a change maybe I may learn something from such experiences.


This has been an interesting year career-wise. I have graduated from being just a blogger but a presenter as well. The presenting has opened a lot doors for me and I am looking forward to what 2012 holds. 

The biggest lesson in terms of my career has been about knowing your worth. It was so disheartening when I realised that some people in this industry think they are doing us favours by employing us therefore they think they can just treat us like dirt and we ought to just take it.

I thought I had a job of a lifetime this year but it turned out to be a nightmare. I have always been unwavering on the issue of being respected as a person even when you are paying me. I would rather starve than work for someone who has no respect for my capabilities or my contribution to the company or production.

When I walked away from a job recently I had no other job lined up but I knew that if I stayed in the job one more week I will be going against everything that I believe in. I was not happy and to make matters worse the job was doing more harm to the brand that I have worked tirelessly to build for years now than good. 

The perks were great but the remuneration for the job was not so I was put in a position where I could continue doing the job and hope that someone will eventually see my worth and compensate me accordingly OR I could quit and go find another job. This industry is my life so I chose the later as the aforementioned was killing my love for  industry slowly but surely.

This was a huge lesson. Having the courage to walkaway from a job just because I was not happy was the highlight of my life this year. Yes some people said I was making a mistake but I believe I was meant for something bigger than that.

I genuinely believe that I will rise above that and prove to myself and them that there are people in this industry who value talent and will give someone an opportunity if they believe in your worth. 

You have got to trust yourself and your talent. When you know that you are not in this business by default then you can be assured that other opportunities will come. 

What Does 2012 Hold?

I am hoping to be pursuing the presenting thing further. I have been reluctant to do TV full time but I think what I do as an entertainment commentator would serve you guys better on a more wider platform and television will afford me that. 

Do not worry, I am still going to be Phil and be honest with my opinions. One of the reasons why the TV project that I have been working on has been stalled is because finding a TV channel that is willing to give us the freedom for me to be myself hasn't been easy. 

I think the only way what I do and the vision I have would work is if I have the freedom to give my views freely without "FEAR OR FAVOUR"

Things are looking good though. I have a reputable company behind me now so hopefully that will accelerate things in 2012. I still can not believe that the owner of this company actually said yes she would love to work on this project with me.

She has been one of my heroes in this business. I always say that the best gift you can give someone who is a dreamer and hard-worker is to believe in them. That's all.

Well to all of YOU my friends who I have never met but you continue to support my work and encourage me to dream bigger and bigger, THANK YOU. This year could not have been this eventful and memorable had it not been for your support. You guys are responsible for every blessing that I receive in my life.

I should be sitting in a village in North West or Oukasie wondering what I could be doing in my life but you guys have given me a purpose in life and a chance to pursue my dreams. As always I hope my journey whether I fail or succeed inspires you to take that one step at pursuing yours. 

Remember: Be a dreamer, I am a dreamer for without dreams we might as well be dead BUT with every dream comes the responsibility of working hard to make it a reality.


Phil Kgopolo Mphela


Anonymous said...

I love you, Phil. Only the best for 2012.

Anonymous said...

Wow Phil what an enlightening piece. Thanks for taking us on your 2011 journey with us. You are truly inspiring and I wish you nothing but the best for 2012. God bless

Anonymous said...

What a great account of your year....would love to be a writer-well I am but just for myself and your blog is a good feeder of creativity! Couldn't help noticing the "no fear, no favour"- are u trying to hint that you'll be working with in 2012?


vumaaa said...

Beautiful bro.

Anonymous said...

Wow Phil, this is soooo good....I wish I could do something like this with my own are a writer for sho.....Wishing you all the best for 2012, may all your dreams come true

Anonymous said...

nice one phil. thanks for sharing. all the best for 2012

sweetyPie said...

Amazing...trully you're an inspiration..

Anonymous said...

I follow your blog with a lot of interest. One of a few quality blogs in RSA today. Good work and keep it up ...

Anonymous said...

I follow your blog with a lot of interest. One of a few quality blogs in RSA today. Good work and keep it up ...

Unknown said...

Good one, Phil. i must say its more detailed and easy to read.....interesting indeed

Unknown said...

Very honest and straight to the point. Who cares about your sexuality?>>>you work its more important than that.

Otto.M said...

wow man ..inspired for days , thanks for sharing , and all the best for 2012 ..

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