In the pursuit of excellence

POLOKWANE – Spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Joshua Kwapa has held various positions over the years and continues to pursue knowledge and experiences despite his age.

Kwapa grew up in Moletji and completed his schooling at Pax College, a boys-only boarding school run by the Roman Catholic Church. He wanted to study law and journalism after school.

“A friend and I decided to study journalism and this year I will be starting with my studies in law. I want to do corporate law,” he explains.

“My first job was with the Northern Times as a cadet. I offered to work for free to obtain my practicals for six months, but the company said they would pay me. They employed me after the six-month period and one thing I will always remember is when Hannes Cilliers, the Managing Director, told me to make myself irreplaceable.

“The Northern Times closed and I was one of the first reporters for the Capricorn Voice newspaper. Those were exciting times as I observed, among other things, how a newspaper gets its name and I was deputy editor of the Capricorn Voice when I left.”

Kwapa explains that he worked as a journalist from 1999 to 2004, he worked for the SABC Polokwane as a television reporter. Although it was very different from print media, he says he enjoyed it and would love to go back into television.

“During that time, I received a call from the executive producer of a show called Lekgotleng le Modise.

“He asked if I would like to join their team as a producer and I accepted. It was a live talk show on current affairs, hosted by Tim Modise.

“One day the team did not pitch for the show and I had to host the show. I must admit, the first five minutes were disastrous, but I loved it.”

When this show ended, a new one titled Leihlo la Setshaba, replaced it. It was pre-recorded and was co-hosted by Kwapa. He says it was hard work but he loved it.

He left the media business in 2009 and joined the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism in Limpopo as a spokesperson.

“This was a big change as I then had to do more corporate communication as opposed to newspaper communication.

“Currently I’m at the Department of Transport where I deal with all the transport issues regarding buses, taxis, road safety, and law enforcement such as traffic officials.

“My main job is to provide a positive image of the department and to communicate to our clients what we do and how we go about doing it.”

Kwapa says his experience as a journalist comes in handy with his work as spokesperson as he understands the media world and journalists. He says that spokespersons should not fear the media, but respect them.

“My advice to others following in my footsteps would be to realise you are here to serve people, not yourself. You have to realise you should always improve your communication skills and that the communication environment changes, and understand how all the new media devices work. You also have to be a people’s person.”

His future plans involve making and producing documentaries for television.

“I miss journalism and would like to make television documentaries and I want to explore the world. For now I will be studying law part time.

“I don’t want to go on pension as a spokesperson.”

He and his wife, Yvonne, have a one-month-old son together. He has two older children, as does Yvonne.

He likes to spend his free time with friends and family, watch soccer and read books about business.

 

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For more breaking news visit us on ReviewOnline and CapricornReview or follow us on Facebook or Twitter

  AUTHOR
Maretha Swanepoel
Journalist

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