The upsurge of a media personality expert : Nontobeko Sibisi: Nontobeko Sibisi was born and raised in KwaZulu-Natal, where she was constantly exposed to the rich, vibrant culture and indigenous knowledge systems of her people. This, together with her fond relationship with her grandparents, had a huge impact on the documentary filmmaker “telling stories and having meaningful conversations was always going to be inevitable I guess – my great-grandmother was a captivating storyteller, I miss that feeling of connectedness when sharing story – I miss having resonating conversations about story. I want to carry that energy in my work as a filmmaker, now it’s time to collaborate share it with the world” adds the young storyteller. Discover even more info on Nontobeko Sibisi.
Nontobeko has since foundered her own brainchild Okay Sho! Media. A creative media production and virtual solutions company focusing on original African stories and indigenous content focusing on arts, culture, history, heritage and indigenous knowledge. Nontobeko has extensive experience in broadcast TV – conceptualizing, producing, directing, and scripting content for local and international audiences. Her work has been scheduled on various platforms such as Mzansi Magic, SABC TV & Radio, Kaya FM, The Mail & Guardian, eNCA/ETV, City Press, Standard Bank Arts, and The National Arts Festival, DSTV Moja Love Channels, and BET Africa.
Looking back, I was so wild and free with my passions and I was so fortunate that many doors opened including an internship at the SABC after graduating in 2011. So story conversations and I have really come a long way. It’s gotten me here. What do you hope to achieve through filmmaking? My great-grandmother was a captivating storyteller, I miss that feeling of connectedness when sharing a story – I miss having resonating conversations about stories. I want to carry that energy in my work as a filmmaker. I want to practice intimacy, intention and impact in my work – creating a space to gather and be in ritual with or without words.
The media talent also had her first international trip via Nigeria after being selected as part of a cohort of 36 young African storytellers trained to cover the buildup of the 2010 World Cup as well as the African Cup of Nation. The Twenty Ten Project, an initiative by World Press, Free Voice and Lokaalmondiaal. Her work would go on to win local and international awards such The Siemen’s Profile Award in Doha, Rhodes Top 100 Students including our station’s Best News Anchor, Best Radio Presenter & Station’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Documentary Filmmaker and Creative Media Producer – The long and colorful journey finally comes full circle for the versatile media talent and creative entrepreneur. Nontobeko has been recently selected for the 15th edition of Durban Talents, A Berlin International Film Festival initiative part of 6 Berlinale Talents across the globe. Here, she is being mentored by the continent’s leading filmmakers and producers such as Sarah Bletcher, Nadine Cloete, Bongi Ndaba, Iman Djionne, Mohamed Siam, Akosua Adoma Owusu to name a few. She is determined to make stories and storytelling accessible to anyone and everyone who resonates “there’s a demand of African stories and original African content – meaning there’s much bigger interest than ever before in who we are and how we are – we just have to tell and share our stories in intentional yet re-imagined ways” says Nontobeko. When she’s not working on content for audiences she’s intentionally healing on her Higher Ground Africa platform.
Making Nontobeko Sibisi a unique triple threat in her versatility is her passionate and engaging on-screen presence. Nontobeko Sibisi plays a featured character called ‘Sheila’ alongside Zodwa (Sannah Mchunu) on Mzansi Magic’s much-loved show GOMORA. Before that, she was for years a prime-time TV Talk Show Host on Moja Love’s ‘Show Me Love’ alongside fellow panelists KG Moeketsi, Unathi Nkayi, and Abigail Visagi. Some might remember Nontobeko’s vivacious energy as an innovative and award-winning arts and entertainment TV journalist who called out her former employer for their discriminatory “no doeks on-air” policy. This saw thousands dawn their doeks in support of #RespekTheDoek #DoekForNonto #DoekTheNewsroom. Read more information at Nontobeko Sibisi.
Honors & Awards
– Selected for Durban Talents, A Berlin International Film Festival Initiative. Issued by Durban FilmMart Institute · Jun 2022
– Proud alumna puts an innovative spin to 1st virtual National Arts Festival Issued by Rhodes University & National Arts Festival · Aug 2020
– Arts Journalism Awards Arts Journalism Awards Issued by National Arts Festival AND Business and Arts South Africa · Nov 2016; Associated with eNCA
– Commendation; Science and Journalism Profile Awards
– Commendation; Science and Journalism Profile Awards Issued by Science and Journalism Profile Award · Jan 2014
– Science and Technology Award (Student Category) Issued by Siemens Africa ; Profile Awards (DOHA) · Jan 2011
To date the company has successfully collaborated and produced creative media productions, virtual conversations, web-series, Arts & Entertainment TV Shows on a variety of platforms with a core focus on television, radio, digital media, virtual and hybrid events. The filmmaker and TV Director’s work has been scheduled on various platforms such as Mzansi Magic, SABC TV & Radio, Kaya FM, The Mail & Guardian, eNCA/ETV, The City Press, Standard Bank Arts, and The National Arts Festival, DSTV Moja Love Channels, and BET Africa / Paramount Africa. “The industry has changed so much over the last few years especially the needs of audiences – I get really excited offering my clients creative solutions that meet their needs. I work with a lot of passion to add a “different spark” to our projects, this ensures we create honest and resonating content that’s always meaningful to the client and most importantly audience everywhere.” This is just one example of how Nontobeko is using her skills and personality to make a difference in the lives of others.
To feed my yearning for nature, connection and truth – is another big part of me – Higher Ground Africa. It’s a rurally rooted and re-imagined space that focuses on rekindling our relationship with nature and self. Here I combine creative storytelling and African nature experiences to celebrate cultural and indigenous connections to the Earth. That’s Nontobeko Sibisi right now I guess – learning, unlearning and embracing being an intentional artist in what I do. Refining my voice before following up with being proactive in making the visions and the healing come alive through expressive art forms and collaborations.