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Appetite for words

While spending time with Bobo, it quickly becomes evident that she loves all things red. This is not surprising – it is a warm and positive colour representing willpower and courage. Red is also associated with passion, strength and determination.

Five minutes spent in Bobo’s presence is more than enough time to confirm that she possesses all of these traits and many more.

Bobo attended St Mark’s School in Mbabane, Swaziland. “I spent holidays at my granny’s house in Ekupheleni next to the Swaziland border and later on in Mbombela with my mother,” she tells.

“My childhood was filled with stuff to read and I remember how I would page through the newspaper as a preschooler and make up stories by looking at the pictures.”

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From an early age Bobo had a passion for words and information and after finishing school she studied for a BA in communication at the Mafikeng campus of the North-West University.

In her second year she was, unsurprisingly, appointed as editor of the student newspaper.

After graduation Bobo was determined to make her mark in the world of journalism. She joined renowned Mbombela-based journalist Justin Arenstein’s team at African Eye News Service, the first rural social justice wire service in South Africa.

Within a year she saw another opportunity and relocated to Johannesburg where she worked as a siSwati television newsreader for the SABC.

But, as they say, once a Lowvelder, always a Lowvelder – Mbombela called and this time she came home as a radio journalist, still with the SABC.

A go-getter like Bobo doesn’t linger in one place and before long she got a promotion.

“I have been the news editor for SABC Mpumalanga since 2011. We cover stories in the province, Mozambique and Swaziland,” she says.

“Isaac Masemola, my boss and one of my mentors, blessed me by believing in my abilities and gave me a chance to prove myself. I will be forever grateful to him.”

The 2019 national election was one of the highlights of Bobo’s career, as she was the elections coordinator for the SABC Mpumalanga news office.

According to her, the team slept very little for days on end and the excitement mounted as the results started coming in. Journalists were not deterred by fatigue, but rather energised by the collective anticipation surrounding the elections.

The greatest challenge was to cover all of the numerous registered parties, even the smaller ones.

Bobo does not only have a passion for media and journalism. She is also a person who both believes in and lives the age-old concept of ubuntu – Bobo seems to be forever looking for ways to benefit those around her, especially the less fortunate.

And she does this with tremendous amounts of energy. The BookHive is but one such project.

In 2014 Bobo and her friend, Mpumi Mbethe, started a book club called The BookHive. Bookworms meet at different venues once a month to socialise and discuss all things literary. They also present and attend book launches.

The project grew and today The BookHive is a registered non-profit organisation aimed at encouraging disadvantaged children and young people to read.

“My charity partner, Vuyelwa Makhubele, and I go to schools all over Mpumalanga to distribute books,” says Bobo.

“We do not only give out books, but also read to the kids and help them to establish book clubs.”

January is their busiest month and they make a point of visiting a school a week to encourage children to begin the academic year with a taste for learning through reading.

Furthermore, she runs BookHive Mobile, a mobile bookshop that helps new and self-publishing authors to enter the market.

“We host launches and interviews for these writers and sell their books.”

Bobo dreams of expanding the BookHive project to include a mobile library servicing the rural areas surrounding Mbombela.

Although we have only just met her, we know that this dream will be realised before long. She is, after all, a driven go-getter blessed with a passion for learning, education and the upliftment of poorer communities.

She reads nearly everything and her bookcases are filled with a wide variety of genres and authors.

Robin Sharma, Danielle Steele, Paulo Coelho and local writer Sihle Khumalo are four of her favourite writers. Bobo has a special love of inspirational books and some of her favourites include:

The 5am Club – Robin Sharma
The Pilgrimage – Paulo Coelho
The Breakthrough Experience – John Demartini
Mind Power into the 21st Century – John Kehoe
The Art of Hustling – DJ Sbu
The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – Ayi Kwei Armah|
The Untethered Soul – Michael A. Singer
From Cape to Cairo – Sihle Khumalo
The Hlomu Series – Dudu Busani Dube

Bobo can be contacted at [email protected]

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