By Jonk wa Mashamba
This story of Mpho Mojapelo is full of shock, disaster, disappointment, but what dominates most is his move from the worst to greatness.
Phoenix JaY (32) is Mpho’s stage name. He’s a wannabe director, filmmaker, and scriptwriter… a storyteller and a poet of note.
He was born with an illness which his family did not know existed until he was 30 years old.
This happened when he started experiencing sharp and severe pain in his spine. That led him to faint and to have a laceration of the tongue, almost biting his tongue in 2 pieces.
When he realized that the condition was worsening, he did research, and to his surprise, his condition in simple terms is called club foot (Talipes Equinovoras). That’s a harmless tumor.
But the cause of the disease remains unknown to him and his family.
“I was intrigued that in South Africa that people with this disease are not recognized. There is still confusion as to whether they belong to people with disabilities.
“With the experience I had growing up and the research I did, I realized that, on the international scene, people with club feet are recognized… why not here?”
When Mpho was growing up, he saw his mom being attacked by his father. Therefore, he also became abusive toward his partner.
“And I actually abused alcohol. In essence, I’ve been an abuser to some extent, but I’m now reformed.”
Through his DPL media company, SOUTH AFRICAN ART AND CULTURE YOUTH FORUM (VPmax Agency, Wizard ent and Unik Visuals), he is determined to educating young people about the danger of gender-based violence.
“These companies are run by my brothers with the same vision, drive, loyalty and passion for what we do,” he says.
Mpho, who currently lives in Alexandra, was born in Attridgeville, Pretoria. He spent his childhood in Brits, Letlhabile township.
He lost his job as a marketing manager for a mining company due to alcohol.
“My children’s mother left me because I was an abuser.
“As I was not working, my family turned against me. And I felt depressed because I didn’t know my father,” says the father of two girls.
“I am a reformed person through #No Excuse and SOUTH AFRICAN ARTS AND CULTURE YOUTH FORUM. I believe that my dream as a writer, director, filmmaker, and storyteller will become reality.
“I’ll tell real stories that people will hear and relate to.”
He is currently working on the campaign planned for Good Friday, called ‘Drinking responsibly’, an awareness that alerts about the danger of alcohol.
He has expressed interest in working with the South African Brewery on the campaign.
He calls a man who hits a woman a coward. “Brothers and sisters, let us put our hands together to change society for the better.
“It’s not easy, but it can be done. Let’s look at it this way – over the next 20 years, we will no longer have uncles, brothers, sisters, others and fathers due to substance abuse and gender-based violence.”
Please contact Mpho on 072 524 8180.