When I was ten, a person I admired was Jane Hicks, SABC news anchor. I told my parents I wanted to be a scientist and a television news reader. They thought the former perfectly feasible, but not the latter. It was 1992, democratic elections were 2 years off, and my parents could not yet envisage such opportunities for Muslim Indian females. (Now media is the buzzword, and there’s a sizeable cohort of us 20 something female South African Muslim Indian journalists.)
Since our origins defines us to an extent, my identity is shaped by being a fourth generation South African of Indian origin. And I’m Zuma’s Bastard, a ” bastard of the democracy” as my esteemed friend Azad Essa so eloquently puts it. Then there’s the (fuschia) headscarf. Yes, I’m a Muslim woman in hijab. It defines my relationship with God, it doesn’t define my multi-faceted personality. It doesn’t speak for me.
During my school days, I discovered myself through drama and public-speaking. Being highly opinionated and verbose, I was presented with a ‘Motormouth’ award in matric. My classmates voted I would become a famous broadcaster. However, instead of becoming South Africa’s Oprah, I chose to pursue my love for science, majoring in Physiology and Microbiology. But I always knew I’d work in media too. At Wits University, I was elected Media Officer of the SRC. I found myself working at a community radio station one summer, was seduced by radio, and thought I’d work in the lab during the day, and moonlight as a talk-show host. Instead, here I am, a fully-fledged news journalist. Thank you fate!
You can contact me at bb[dot]aisha at gmail [dot] com