Having not made it passed the first round of the Goodhope FM Campus DJ Search in 2009, Khanya Siyengo had something to prove. Fast-forward four years, he is now being noticed for being a finalist in this year’s competition. He also made it to the Cape Town top 3 of the MTV VJ Search and took part in an online presenter competition organised by Jo-Anne Strauss, the ex-miss South Africa. Khanya also MC’s at gigs in Cape Town. This year, Siyengo has really put himself out there and has put a new meaning to ‘everyday we hustling’. LIVE hung out with the hustler himself to find out why he is (or should be) your favourite tall guy.
LIVE: Who is Khanya Siyengo?
KS: Khanya is your normal tall guy, 20 something that loves sports, people and more than anything just a dreamer who believes he can do anything he puts his mind to. Siyengo is the last name I proudly carry!
LIVE: When you were growing up (much younger and hopefully shorter) what did you want to be?
KS: Growing up I wanted to do a lot of things. I tried a lot of things and enjoyed quite a number of them. Academically I saw myself as a lawyer (blame Boston legal), a professional basketball player and a politician. I wont lie at some point being the President was on the cards as well (you never know). I came to notice the similarities in all these things later; I wanted ways to express myself!
Khanya is currently a basketball coach, MC and aspirant entrepreneur. While juggling all this, he is also one of UCT Radio’s rising stars
LIVE: Did you do any official courses/ studies to get to this point?
KS: For radio, no but in order to be well informed I studied a Bcom degree. Studying toward a qualification means you are always reading and learning. When you in an industry that constantly changing being well informed helps you progress.
LIVE: Being 195 cm tall, Siyengo calls himself ‘The Tall Wonder’
KS:In primary school I was teased heavily about my ears. They called me Dumbo. In high school I was teased about being tall and thin. I also noticed that whenever people meet me for the first time, their eyes almost pop out in amazement at how tall I am (I don’t know why). So I took something that used to make me feel bad and insecure and made it a strength.
‘The tall wonder’, ‘THE emcee’ and your ‘favourite tall guy’ are terms Khanya calls himself, but before you go thinking that he is all ego, the guy has a soft spot too. Khanya says that his little sister is, ‘the coolest chick around’ and that she inspires him. (AWWW!)
LIVE: Do you think a person needs a big ego in the entertainment industry?
KS:Not at all. It’s often said that the characteristics someone shows on the outside, is actually what they lack in the inside. There’s really a thin line between confidence and ego. In entertainment you need to have confidence in your abilities and not carry an ego as there is never a promise of tomorrow.
LIVE: What are some of the challenges you have faced?
KS: I had spent some time working in the corporate sector, and I was earning the bucks. So I went from earning major to earning nothing. This was a challenge, as I had to change my mindset and lifestyle. Also in an industry where everyone thinks they can do the exact thing you do, you really have to be on your A game at all times. So I’ve had to learn new disciplines where I’m constantly working at my craft.
LIVE: On your Facebook page there is photo of you with a group of girls around you. Is Khanya Siyengo a ladies man?
KS:Hahahahaha. Not at all! I’m really not a ladies guy; I’m more of the Fifa with the guys kinda guy. I’m always out of my comfort zone when it comes to the ladies. I should frame that picture!
LIVE: Do you have a romantic side?
KS: I think I’d like to be romantic, right now I don’t think I am. I mean I’ve done the roses as a surprise . Had the whole beautiful view vibe. Actually I think I could be a romantic, yeah. Tall guys are soft.
LIVE: What was the sweetest thing you have ever done for a girl (if any thing)?
KS: In my University, at a popular hang out spot (pub/club) I bought my girlfriend a bunch of roses and gave them to her in front of all her friends and other people. She cried and I knew I did well. Also threw a surprise party at a club for my girlfriend, she cried tears of joy again so I did well (again)
LIVE: Have you ever embarrassed yourself in front of a girl while trying to impress her?
KS: I always embarrass myself. It’s my nature so it’s never about a girl.
LIVE: Speaking of embarrassing moments – have you had any while doing your radio show? MC gigs etc?
KS: All the time! My first MC gig in front of 2000 people I literally got booed off the stage. The boo’s picked me up and took me off stage. On air in the studio alone I forgot to switch off my mic and had a full conversation with my mom on the phone. The listeners tweeted me telling me my voice sounds different when I talk to my mom. She’s my mom though eish.
LIVE: What are some of the challenges you face in the entertainment industry?
I think the challenge is finding ways to remain working. You can be popular and all that but you need to keep working on your game all the time. The greatest challenge for me thus far is staying focused on my goals.
LIVE: What are your career highlights so far ?
KS :The year 2013 has been a highlight
1)Introduction into radio,created the show Bread and Butter
2)I’ve had the good luck of interviewing some of the “stars” in the game, thanks to my radio team
3)finalist for the Base Vj search. The year before I had made the top 40 and in 2013 to make the top 10 in the country
4)The Top 20 for the Jo Ann Strauss online presenter search, really lucky because we did a rush job on my entry and we luckily got in.
5)Finalist for the Goodhope FM Dj Search 2013
6)Being interviewed on Hectic Nine SABC 2 show
7)My basketball team ending the season with a unbeaten record. My boys really work hard so they deserve it
The biggest highlight for me is to wake up, open my fridge and have food in it, because I got paid for MCing a gig. I’m doing what I love doing.
LIVE: what is the best advice you’ve heard ?
KS: “Keep working”- Vincent Manzini said this to me
In the entertainment industry you need people that inspire you especially because there is always someone telling you, you can’t achieve your dreams. Khanya said that it’s important to have a tunnel vision when things get hard. His advice is to focus on your success and steer clear of negativity.”You have to take the pain, take the hurt but you need to get through it,” he says while thinking of some of the setbacks that he has faced personally, “if you’re broken, you can always go up from there. For me that is always the next morning.”
There will always be setbacks and sacrifices before success. The quicker you get over it; the quicker you can work (usually very hard) to achieve your goals.Dwelling on disappointment is a waste of time (and energy that you could be using to make things happen for yourself). The tall guy nods in agreement. “You must be able to give up everything – that’s how badly you must want it.”
Khanya says success is about waking up in the morning and knowing your life is in-line with what you were built to do.
Catch Siyengo on UCT RADIO 104.5 FM on Monday and Thursday from 6-9pm
Images of Khanya sourced from Facebook and Success image sourced from Google.