Interview
Courtesy of Mashudu Modau

INFLUENCED: Meet Mashudu Modau—the Podcaster that Entrepreneurs Revere

This young South African influencer and his podcast network Lutcha, are changing the entrepreneurship game.

OkayAfrica brings you the 2019 INFLUENCED Series. In the coming weeks, we'll be exploring the online communities being fostered by young South Africans who are doing more than just influencing. From make-up gurus and hair naturalistas to socially-conscious thought leaders, get ready to be influenced. Read the rest of the series here.

Mashudu Modau was born-and-raised in Soweto and is a young South African influencer who's using social media to help anyone who's interested in becoming an entrepreneur or establishing a start-up. Modau insists on staying in his own corner and simply focusing on the impact that he can have on his fellow South Africans. At just under 11 000 followers on Twitter, that's quite a number of people who're joining him in that same corner.

Modau founded a podcast network called Lutcha, a platform for African podcasters, comprising of five podcasts which speak to entrepreneurship, branding, marketing, mental health and fitness. The host of the MASHSTARTSUP podcast, Modau focuses specifically on entrepreneurs that have excelled and that are still starting out on their entrepreneurial journey as well.

Describing himself as an "eco-driven specialist, youth entrepreneur and part-doctor" he wears a number of titles but his passion and work center on the start-up space. Modau attributes his childhood curiosity to igniting the spark and eventual interest in business and when asked by MarkLives in a recent interview, whether he feels entrepreneurs are born or made, he said, "Entrepreneurs are made. In the fire. Literally. It's a process of constantly and consistently testing, learning, failing and starting over. Over and over again."

We caught up with him to talk about why he does what he does, the key lessons he's learnt from social media and what his bigger picture is.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


How would you say social media has catapulted your brand or your podcast specifically?

I wouldn't exist without it. It's that simple. I don't see any other way in which I could get all my impact, get all the work that I do without social media. I started on Facebook, sharing as much as I could about incubators, about different resources you could use, about accelerators, all those different things and Facebook turned into Twitter, Twitter turned into Instagram, turned into a website, turned into a podcast which turned into a YouTube channel. It really does begin with social media and we constantly use social media to amplify our message and get it out there even more.

I don't think someone like me would survive in traditional media where the metrics for what makes you a good person to be on those platforms are very different to what the internet is. That's what the internet really is for me.

"The internet is the equalizer, you are in a fair market where you are open to compete with the best of the best, that's the biggest thing."

How would you describe the reception that you have had on social media?

It's very, very interesting. I think a lot of people are just grateful for the resources that I provide but they've always been there; they've always been public. I'm always just focused on making sure that people also stay focused. The one thing about entrepreneurship, is that the stuff that really matters looks really boring. My thing was, "Let's simplify this and make it something that people want to really engage with." Whether it's a Twitter thread on whatever sort of resource that is available or a podcast or video that people want to engage with.

In a recent radio interview, the guy who interviewed me called me a teacher. I didn't understand what that meant, then I looked at everything I've been doing and have done. In a way that is really what I'm doing, it's teaching but teaching in the millennial way, where you're really creating the resources that people can consume, the way they want to consume it as well.

Creativity Is Entrepreneurship With Joe Nawayayoutu.be

What would you say have been the challenges or even threats that social media has presented to you and your brand?

I think an interesting sort of challenge is possibly the lack of respect for copyright, there is no respect for originality and sometimes no respect for value. You can work on something that really, really has a lot of insight, a lot of learning and could really help people, but they won't pay attention because they don't feel like it was presented the way they wanted it—it wasn't "pretty".

The other element of it is a lot of people stealing content and literally just trying to copy and paste and become the new version of whatever I was doing. I've seen different things where people just copy and paste, whether it was podcasts or anything else really. As disheartening as it was, this is the world we live in now, so you just need to constantly and consistently compete.

Do you think that people underestimate the power of social media, even today?

Absolutely. I think a lot of brands and corporates don't understand how much more the platform can become for them. Also a lot of people are underestimating how bad they can be. There is a lot of good and a lot of bad and if you overestimate any one of them, you could really go in a bad direction. There are governments that need to be way more understanding of how powerful that platform can be for them and what they can rally do for them. I think we are only at the beginning of this and where it goes in the next five to ten years will possibly direct where humans sort of progress.

Using these platforms in the right way in order to encourage, debate or whatever, is a good thing and we need to constantly and consistently be conscious of how we use it to empower, educate and encourage people.

Murendeni Mafumo - Purpose in Every Drop | Mashstartup Podcastyoutu.be

People have referred to social media at times as a never-ending echo chamber. How do you get past all of the noise that social media can present at times?

Honestly, I'm not on social media for any other reason than to add value and that's the biggest thing. I honestly always think of myself as sitting in the corner and shouting out random things every now and then while everyone is having an argument in the middle of the room. So my thing is, while people are sort of arguing about this and that, my thing is, here's some information that could help.

Among the critics, the bullshit and the noise, it's really about offering value, offering resources, offering lessons, offering motivation, whatever it is. It's about giving of myself to really help things move forward and really doing that in my little corner. I think there are a lot more people joining that little corner that are going, "You know what? I don't want to just get into your life or I don't want to just meet you but I would like to change your life."

It's never been a game of, "Can I get this many followers so I can get this brand to look at me?" That's never been the game and it will never be the game. For me, the game is always positive value and positively impacting people's lives.

What would be some of your "pro tips" on influencing or thought leadership on social media?

Find your corner, find your voice and stick to it. I think the one thing that is really going away from social media is independent voices and also authenticity as well. I think the reality of what social media is pushes you toward pandering as a trend and constantly speaking about what's being spoken about. It's like I said with the analogy of standing in the corner while everyone is standing in the middle of the room, shouting at each other.

"So while everyone else is chasing likes and followers and retweets, my whole thing is that I'm going to offer value."

I think it's always about offering value and standing in your corner and being very true to the voice that you have, the voice that you've developed and the voice that you constantly want to shout out to the world.

Who are some of your favorite people who are in a similar space in terms of what you do?

I'd say one person is Karen Williams who runs The Throne. She is a brilliant person for the digital age and I think she is really building something that can be one of the most amazing, interesting companies for the future.

Another thing is obviously I love Yoco because its Yoco and one of the most interesting and remarkable startups to come out of South Africa and it's going to come out of Africa as one of the most interesting things that anyone's done. The impact of what they're doing is going to be so amplified.

I would also say Joe Human, who is a podcaster on our network. He focuses on branding and marketing but his whole thing is, "I want to speak, I want to try and add value and teach a lot of people." Also, Juanita Khumalo is amazing. She does wellness and health her focus is really just to help people live better lives.

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Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Africa was Well Represented At The 2023 Grammys​

The West's biggest night in music started off with a bang, a snub, and a whole lot of shimmer.

Music's big night out brought out some of Africa's biggest and brightest to lend their glamour to the red carpet.

Here are the African musicians attending the 2023 Grammy Awards:

Tems

Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The world belongs to Tems, baby! The Nigerian songstress becomes the first female Nigerian artist to win a Grammy award as she scooped her Best Melodic Rap Performance win alongside American rapper Future and Drake on their hit collab 'Wait For U'. Draped in a custom Viviane Westwood evening gown, the singer continues to break records as she adds the latest win to her abundant collection.

Trevor Noah 

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

South African comedian Trevor Noah was tasked with keeping tonight's crowd entertained and in order during the ceremony at Los Angeles's Crypto.com arena.

Rocky Dawuni

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ghanaian singer-songwriter Rocky Dawuni brought along his beautiful daughter Safiyah Dawuni to celebrate his nominated single "Neva Bow Down" featuring Jamaican Blvk H3ro. The two-time Grammy-nominated musician lost out on this year's award for Best Global Music Performance.

Yola 

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

British-born Ghanaian Barbadian singer-songwriter Yola attends the award show for her work in the 2022 musical/drama hit Elvis.

Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode, Wouter Kellerman

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Halala! South African threesome Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini, and Nomcebo Zikodeshowed up to snag this year's Best Global Music Performance award for their hit single "Bayethe." The collaborator's win set the internet ablaze as they beat Africa's Giant, Nigerian artist Burna Boy.

Doja Cat 

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Doja Cat is clearly having a ball with her fashion sense lately, this time, the "Woman" songstress channeled her inner femme fatale in a black leather look by Versace. The singer was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Record of The Year, Best Music Video, Best Rap Performance, and Best Solo Performance.

Eddy Kenzo

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ugandan singer Eddy Kenzo waved the flag proudly this Sunday as he attended as the country's first Grammy nominee to date. The crooner missed out on this year's Best Global Music Performance award for his track "Gimme Love" with American rapper Matt B, but we trust the Masaka-born star will be back with a vengeance.

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Nomcebo Zikode, Zakes Bantwini & Wouter Kellerman Win Grammy Award For Best Global Music Performance

The South African artists won for their song "Bayethe" award at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony.


South African artists Nomcebo Zikode, Zakes Bantwini, and Wouter Kellerman, and scored a win for their hit song "Bayethe" at this year's Grammy Awards ceremony.

The three SA artists won over Nigeria’s Burna Boy, Uganda’s Eddy Kenzo, USA’s Matt B, Ghana's Rocky Dawuni, and Pakistan's Arooj Aftab in theBest Global Music Performance category at the Grammy Awards.

The South African winning trio consists of Nomcebo Zikode, who is renowned as the singer in "Jerusalema," singer, record producer and singer Zakes Bantwini, and celebrated flutist, producer and composerWouter Kellerman.

According to ZALebs, during a prestigious Grammy's brunch dedicated to African nominees a day before the award show, both Zikode and Bantwini expressed excitement about the potential win. According to the publication Zikode had stated that she felt like she had already won the award.

“I’m hoping that South African people are going to be proud of me, we’re hoping to take this one but hey, if we don’t take it, it’s OK, I feel like I’m a winner already,” Zikode said at the time.

This is the first time Zikode and Bantwini win a Grammy. Kellerman won the award in 2015 for his album Winds of Samsara.

Previously, some controversy surrounded the song "Bayethe," with OkayAfrica reporting reporting that Zikode would be taking Open Mic Records to court after the singer alleged that the South African record label had told Spotify to take down the song over an intellectual property dispute. It is unclear where the lawsuit currently lies.

Several fans of the record took to social media to gleefully congratulate the South African artists for the accolade.

Watch the music video for the Grammy-winning "Bayethe" below.

“Nomcebo & Zakes just won a GRAMMY for Bayethe 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎 #Grammys2023 #Nomcebo #Zakes #Bayethe”

Watch the music video for the Grammy-Winning "Bayethe" below.

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Mr Eazi Accuses Bad Bunny of Copyright Infringement

In a heated tweet, Mr Eazi called out Puerto Rican star Bad Bunny over the use of a Joeboy song.


On Monday, Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade, popularly known as Mr Eazi, posted a few tweets that called out Bad Bunny and his team at Rimas for using Joeboy'sartistry without properly crediting him in the song "Enseñame a Bailar," and for "denying [Joeboy] and the producer... their share in a song they wrote composed and even performed in."

The record in question is Joeboy's Empty My Pocket," a happy-go-lucky, rhythmic Afrobeats record released in 2022.

In a separate string of posts, Mr Eazi states that Joeboy's "Empty My Pocket," was infringed upon, and in a separate LinkedIn post, he calls the incident a case of "ill intent and abuse."

In that LinkedIn post, Mr Eazi writes:

"I am writing this to Highlight Rimas Music and Bad Bunny for the copyright infringement toward afro beats superstar JoeBoy, Denying him and the producer credits and their share in a song they wrote composed and even performed in as Joeboys vocals are used in the Remas released version.

The Team at emPawa Africa have attempted to sort this issue amicably since May of last year with our mutual legal teams. But the intent of Rimas Music is clear ie to blatantly appropriate young African creators' work for their gain without Attribution.

I founded emPawa Africa to protect and support African Creative Entreupreunors and Artists with a virtuous ecosystem. Believing that Afrobeats and Afropop would be today what we wished then it would become.

I am sharing this story even if Plagiarism accusations and copyright infringement lawsuits are nothing new in music, but in this specific case, it is an ill intent of robbery and abuse. As it is taking someone's Song recording it and interacting with condescendence because we are African and independent label?

We understand business, we know the value of our culture and friendships
."

Nigeria's Joseph Akinwale, professionally known as Joeboy, got this start in 2017 on Mr Eazi's record label emPawa Africa. His genres, which include Afro-pop and R&B, have made him one of Nigeria's music fan-favorites. Bad Bunny's team is yet to reach out.

Photo: Getty Images

8 Essential Queer African Podcasts

Podcasts offer a space for intimate conversations to happen, and a place for people to connect where they may not have had a chance to before. We spotlight some of the African podcasts that have become known for creating a safe, welcoming community.

In recent years, the question of whether podcasting is the future of radio or if radio is the future of podcasting has often been raised due to the number of podcasts emerging and challenging traditional media in the continent.

Last October, through its Africa Podcast Fund initiative, Spotify offered a $100,000 fund to thirteen creators from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana. The goal of the fund was to help platform African podcasters on a global scale and shift the historically restrictive view of stories about the continent. While this is useful for the growing space of podcasting in Africa, the fund was allotted to mostly mainstream and widespread African podcasts, leaving queer and underrepresented voices in the margin.

Here are eight queer African podcasts that give the LGBTQIA+ community on the continent a voice.


Afroqueer

The logo for the AfroQueer podcast, which consists of a microphone and layers of color around it.

Produced by Senegalese American journalist and oral historian Selly Thiam and Ugandan Kenyan Aida Holly-Nambi, AfroQueer has been around since 2018. The podcast documents queer Africans "living, loving, surviving, and thriving" on the African continent and in the diaspora. Funded by the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund and the Ford Foundation, the podcast has built up a significant amount of episodes dedicated to LGBTQ+ experiences. From a first episode that spotlights the Sierra Leonean lesbian activist FannyAnn Eddy, who was murdered in her office in 2004, to Our Husband, The King, a lowdown about the precolonial monarch, Mwanga II, and an episode on The Gay Wedding That Broke the Nigerian Internet, AfroQueer, is dismantling stereotypes, and celebrating the love stories of queer Africans.

Listen to AfroQueer here.

The Pride Diaries

An image of the Pride Diaries logo, which is the words written with a mic standing in for the letter 'I.'

According to the creators of The Pride Diaries, nothing is off limits. Produced by Nigerian journalist Mariam Sule (who goes by Rain Bow)and mixed by singer Joyce Olong, each episode seeks to amplify every aspect of queer life in Nigeria and beyond. Rain Bow started the group in 2017, after a series of open and honest chats with a group of queer friends left her feeling affirmed and uplifted. She created a Whatsapp group that soon morphed into what The Pride Diaries has become: a place to help young queer Africans find a community. It's also a resource center for those in need, and a place to learn more about aspects affecting queer life. One such episode, titled 'What’s happening with Ghana’s LGBTQ community' sees queer activist and PhD student Shakia Asamoah giving a detailed history of homophobic bills proposed in Ghana, talking about the complicity of the media in an arrest of twenty one people in Ho in 2021, explaining allyship, and detailing how queer Africans in the diaspora can help those on the continent.

Listen to The Pride Diaries here.

Mannetjiesvrou

An image of the Mannetjiesvrou logo, which has a pair of scissors over the title.

In Afrikaans, ‘mannetjies’ means ‘manly’ and ‘vrou’ ‘woman.’ Even if one doesn’t understand the language, the big scissor in the logo of Mannetjiesvrou outlines what the podcast is about: a space for lesbians, especially those who speak Afrikaans, to gather. Mannetjiesvrou has been consistent in continuing the conversation of the queer woman, whether in Bloemfontein or in Rustenburg, South Africa. Examples of episodes that have been popular include one about exploring the subtly erotic stories of Jeanne Goosen; another is one that traces the lives of the hosts growing up in South Africa. Produced by Angie Gallagher, Candess Kostopoulos, Christi Kruger, and Phia Smit, the podcast can be accessed on a number of streaming platforms.

Listen to Mannetjiesvrou here.

Purple Royale

An image of the podcast logo, which is set against a background of white and purple intersecting lines.

Since 1995, the Government of Zimbabwe has carried out campaigns against LGBT rights. In 2006, the “sexual deviancy” law, which criminalized any actions perceived as homosexual, was passed, endangering the existence of queer minorities in the country. Purple Royale is one of those necessary spaces where the issues and stories of transgender lives in Zimbabwe are addressed. Touted as an audio diary, the podcast was founded in 2019 by Alessandra “Bree” Chacha, Transsmart Trust and Children’s Radio Fund. A recent episode standout episode explored the life of a trans orphan in Zimbabwe who, growing up in a rural village, is forced to live in the streets. The podcast is also very active on Instagram where they share episodes and behind the scenes stories.

Listen to Purple Royale here.

GaySA Radio Podcasts

An image of the GaySA Radio logo, which has a rainbow flag under the letter 'A.'

Founded in 2015 in Pretoria, GaySA Radio is managed by two friends, Henrik Baird and Ethan Baird. At its early phase, Hendrik involved GaySA Radio with a number of urgent LGBTQ+ issues, one of which included leading a successful campaign to have US gay-hating pastor Steven L. Anderson banned from South Africa. GaySA Radio, touted as the first online gay radio station in Africa, runs 24/7, and by offering a wide range of content, including music, talk shows, and other programming, the station aims to let its listeners (whether a member of LGBTQIA+ community or an ally) know that they are not alone, and that they are part of a larger family. Since 2015, the online radio station has progressed into a podcast and supported new podcasts such as the first Nigerian queer podcast, NoStrings. It's also partnered with competitions such as the Mr Gay South Africa and Mr Gay World.

Listen to GaySA Radio here.

NoStrings Podcast

An image of the No Strings podcast logo, with a picture of the host looking at the camera.

Nigerian journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist Mike Daemon hosts the NoStrings podcast. Laying claim to being Nigeria’s first LGBTQIA+ podcast, it was founded in 2015, barely a year after gay rights were criminalized in Nigeria. The podcast is aimed at highlighting the everyday life and struggles of queer Nigerians. Episodes range from talk shows to interviews and conversations. Although it currently has only a couple of episodes on Spotify, the podcast has a website where over 40 downloadable episodes are housed. Highlights of the podcast include the famous Nigerian British transgender model Miss SaHHara, where she discusses gender dysphoria and the difference between transsexuality and transgenderism, and the Nigerian writer Chike Frankie Edozien on his book, Lives of Great Men, which is considered Nigeria’s first gay memoir. One of the most recent episodes is an exclusive interview with Cindy Amadi on her role in Ìfé, a movie directed by Pamela Adie about lesbian lives in Nigeria.

Listen to NoStrings here.

The Secret Life of a Queer Nigerian

An image of the podcast logo, featuring a rainbow-colored dog.

What is compelling about this podcast is that the host, Dada Princez, not only provides information about the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria, but also shares tips on how to stay safe as a queer person in the country. In an assuring and intimate way, Dada approaches all the topics featured with a steadfast attitude: whether it's breaking down the stereotypes associated with being a lesbian, discussing the discrimination against queer protesters during the #ENDSARS protests in Nigeria, and or tackling the issue of sexual abuse in the queer community.

Listen to The Secret Life of a Queer Nigerian here.

Asase Ba

An image of the podcast logo, featuring a drum with a Ghanaian flag underneath it.

In Twi, ‘asase ba’ means ‘earth’s child,’ and according to Michelle, the host of Asase Ba, the goal of the podcast is to amplify the diverse voices of earth’s children. Besides oral tradition, the podcast shines a light on Ghanaian stories that often remain untold or are silenced. On its website, Asase Ba archives resources about queer identities, cultural work, and indigenous spiritualities in the country and beyond. Michelle, who is Ghanaian Canadian, has been using the podcast to challenge the status quo and bring marginalized voices to the fore. Founded in 2019, Asase Ba podcast is now in its fourth season.

Listen to Asase Ba here.

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