Meet Scriptwriter Sipho Xolisa Tshapu

It's my very first Inspirational Thursday feature for 2014 and what better way to rekindle this part of my blog than profiling a guy who takes creating your own opportunities to another level. Some people graduate and wait for jobs to be advertised, others like Sipho go out there and create jobs for themselves. I have a soft spot for young South Africans who don't sit in taverns and complain that the government is not giving them jobs.
This 24 year old professional television and film writer hails from the Eastern Cape. He was  born in the rural village of Mbizana in the Ciskei but grew up and attended school in Port Elizabeth before uprooting to Pretoria in 2006 to study journalism at the Tshwane University of Technology. 

In April 2010 he relocated to Johannesburg and started working as a production intern on Isidingo, a position that was meant to last for 2 weeks. Not wanting to go back home and be yet another unemployed graduate, he nagged the executive producer Pumla Hopa and the show's creator Gray Hofmeyr to let me him stay and he ended up volunteering for a full 8 months.

Got that? For 8 months, this guy was working for no pay!!

By October 2010 he was shadowing one of the show's writers at the me Loyiso Maqoma. Former Head Writer Ilse van Hemert saw that Sipho has the talent of being a great writer and offered him a chance to join the Isidingo writing team. 

The same year in November, Isidingo star Keketso Semoko (Ma Agnes) and her business associate Winnie Serite (former Isidingo writer) had been commissioned for a bubblegum film 2020 Orlando East on Mzansi Magic and hired Sipho to develop the story and write the script.

In 2011 Sipho Tshapu became a full member of the Isidingo story team. He wrote and storylined numerous episodes until his departure from the show in February 2013. 

Since his Isdingo days Sipho boasts writing cred on hit shows like Mzansi Magic telenovela Isibaya, Muvhango, SABC 1 drama Ngempela and SABC 2 sitcom Saburi. 

This fellow village boy is also and actor and has appeared on Isidingo, Mzansi Magic film and few theatre plays. 

Sipho is a script translator as well. He has translated for the SABC 1 sitcom Single Galz and the SABC 2 drama Swartwater.

Besides Muvhango he is currently working on other projects for SABC 1 as well as a feature film with theatre director James Ngcobo. He is also conceptualizing and developing the story for a film about Brenda Fassie among other projects.

He would not remember this but I actually met him few years ago while he was still a student, I think, through my friend Sfiso. He had an afro (or was it bongodreds) and he seemed timid and reserved. I am happy to say that on few occasions that I have seen him around lately, he still has not changed much. He still seems grounded. 

Sipho story is truly inspiring, especially given the fact that even with his star clearly on the rise, this storyteller has not let the industry define him. That makes him a deserving dreamchaser of our Inspirational Thursday honor.

The lesson we learn for individuals such as is to not sit on your laurel and wait for someone to give you a career. You knock on doors, show people your skills, somebody will see your tenacity and talent and offer you a chance. That will not happen if you sitting at home with your qualification waiting for job offers. 

I am very proud of Sipho Xolisa Tshapu and looking forward to seeing him grow even bigger in this industry. With his drive, it certainly will not be long. 

Join me again next week when I introduce yet another inspirational young South African on the rise in the entertainment.


Unknown said...

I adore this guy pity I never met him but one day we will sit down nd write the best story ever :)

Inspired by Sipho

Unknown said...

I adore this guy pity I never met him but one day we will sit down nd write the best story ever :)

Inspired by Sipho

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