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Moment of triumph

Living intentionally to uphold the meaning her name carries is 29-year-old Triumph Mbiva, wife, mum, transformational speaker, presenter, television producer, and co-founder of T & T Multimedia, a content/television production, and marketing company.

Born in Justicia Village in Bushbuckridge, Triumph loved the arts at school, particularly drama and poetry, which she participated in to help her gain confidence. “As a hopelessly over-weight teen, I desperately needed a distraction to help me build up my self-esteem,” she says. “I failed matric and ended up working as a waitress and cashier in White River. The challenges I faced in my teens simply reaffirmed my childhood love of writing and poetry, which I used as my escape, a place to vent and confide my feelings.”

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While waitressing at Wimpy in White River, Triumph decided it was time to put her deep love of writing and poetry to use, making it more accessible and hopefully bringing joy to a larger audience. “My idea was to propose a poetry slot to Ligwalagwala FM, and even though I was a bit hesitant, thinking it would never work, I also believed God works in mysterious ways; when the time is right and destiny is calling, doubts and lack of confidence lose their grip on you.”

Triumph recalls how she walked into the reception at Ligwalagwala and while explaining herself to the receptionist, the manager walked out. “He asked me to come into his office, and after listening to my story, offered me a spot co-hosting a youth show on Saturdays. I continued to work as a waitress during the week while working at the radio station on Saturdays, and when the season was over, I knew I had found my calling and purpose. I remember thinking that I was right when as a child I had always believed that God had meant for me to speak to people; I am a storyteller at heart.” Triumph went on to find permanent employment at Radio Bushbuckridge, where her talent and love of radio was honed and sharpened.

Soon after, Triumph went to Johannesburg for a visit, and with big city lights shining brightly in her eyes, decided to stay, as she wanted to study and pursue her television career. But life has a way of throwing us a curveball when we least expect it.

“Being in media and entertainment was my childhood dream, but instead of blazing a path for my ambition as I thought they would, those bright city lights cast shadows of self-doubt and discouragement crept in. The thing is, we believe we are so capable and clever, until we measure ourselves against others; that is when doubt and inferiority creep in. As the saying goes, ‘comparison is the thief of joy, robbing us of our moments of greatness’. I convinced myself that I had no chance of competing and matching up against other people my age who were already in the media industry, and decided to get a formal job.”

Desk-bound, Triumph was miserable, knowing that this was not her dream. “It just felt wrong; the fact that I had denied my calling weighed heavily on me,” she says. “In my heart, I knew that while anyone can be handed a mic, not everyone with a mic has a message. I decided that self-development was the answer, and I enrolled in speaking and presenting classes to enhance my natural talents.” Triumph strongly believes that opportunity is out there, but you need to keep your eyes open to see it.

One such opportunity for her was Mrs. South Africa, which she realised was a tool she could use to get back her confidence and gain the momentum she needed to get back on track. “The inevitable self-doubt crept in. I thought I couldn’t match up to the other contestants, beautiful, hugely successful in business and philanthropy, and well-known public figures in their own right. But I told myself that I could, that this journey was an important learning curve, and that I had just as much to offer, in my own way, as anyone else. It’s about what you take away from something; I may not have won the crown, but I did go through the same developmental process, which is more to the point.”

Triumph still remembers the first question she was asked as a finalist: What does the word “triumph” mean to you? “I told them I wanted to live up to that name, to find my potential, to put in the effort and the courage to be who I want to be,” she smiles. “Slavery is in the mind, and you must learn to liberate yourself from it. You can be the wealthiest person on earth, with the world at your fingertips, but if your mind is trapped in thoughts of inferiority and fear, you are not free.”

She goes on by saying that young South Africans should move from being jobseekers to job creators, which is how T & T Multimedia was founded. “Trudy Zulu and I came together to fulfil our dream of producing indigenous, inspiring and uplifting content that is entertaining and relatable,” explains Triumph. “Our qualifications and experience in working with brands helped us to fuse marketing and brand management with our business portfolio. There are some opportunities and ideas that only come about after you take the first steps.” Triumph talks to business partner Trudy more than anyone else; she explains that T & T Multimedia is still in its infancy and needs a lot of attention. The two are constantly looking for ways to thrive and become one of the best female-owned multimedia companies.

Triumph stresses that family and recreation time is crucial, saying that she believes that great ideas are only birthed in a place of harmony and peace with yourself. Whatever your achievements, they are made all the sweeter by not having sacrificed time with those who matter most. Inspired by a burning desire to become more than her circumstances, Triumph has always been determined to beat the odds.

“I grew up in an impoverished community far from the reach of electricity, clean water, and basic services. But my aspiration is to become a student of my own success, even if it means doing it without a model and a frame of reference.” Her home office, which she also calls her war room, is her favourite place to be, and where she does all her brainstorming. “I’ve travelled the entire world and back, but nowhere feels like home quite like sitting behind my office desk does,” she laughs.

Triumph and Trudy also host an inspirational television lifestyle show produced by T & T. Currently shooting season two, Triumph describes The Catch-up Corner as having a fun approach towards discovering the lives and unconventional stories of influential people. “The Catch-up Corner seeks to inform, motivate and thrill its audience, bringing an element of entertainment, including music, food, fashion, and travel,” she explains. “We build on the foundation of traditional talk shows, aiming to update, transform and invigorate by means of well-rounded and thoughtful informal conversation.”

Triumph’s philosophy in life is “You can do it!” and she explains that in this light, the main goal of The Catch-up Corner is to motivate and inspire, especially in an era in which depression has become such a common ailment. After all, Triumph says, motivation never goes out of style, and by sharing our stories we unconsciously liberate others. The Catch-up Corner is on DStv channel 265.

Like thecatchup_corner on Facebook or follow @triumph_mbiva on Instagram

Photographer: Belinda Erasmus

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