Even when he is struggling to hear me, Tshego Mosupye doesn’t give up. He just makes a plan. This is but a tiny example of how he has approached his career from promo salesperson to winning the MTV Base VJ Search last year.
Now, the Search is back and Mosupye has been travelling the country, hyping up the legions who are there to walk in his shoes before they have to face judges Thomas Gumede, Kelly Khumalo and Boity.
When he hops on to the phone, he’s at the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town where they are setting up for a round of auditions. Raised in Ga-Rankuwa by his grandmother for his formative years, Mosupye was aged about eight when his father moved the family to their own home before they relocated to Joburg in 2000.
It was around the time “I was too much of a class clown,” he laughs. But then he found soccer and the laughs stopped and he became super serious. “Around Grade 9, I tried out for a team called Fordsburg City in Mayfair. Even though my parents were heavily (involved) in my life, the family (that owned the soccer team) played a second set of parents.
“We were a good team and I got better and better at it,” he remembers.
“But when the owner of the club passed on, the dream died as well. Everything was tied to him. I moved on with my life and slowly became very depressed because life was just not happening for me.”
Mosupye matriculated in 2011 and felt he had no future prospects.
“By 2013, the people I had matriculated with were already far ahead of me and I was still trying to get to this dream,” he says.
“Mentally and spiritually, I was not in a good place. My parents would let me know I wasted time and if I don’t pull up my socks, I’m going to miss the bus. I think that also dented the way I thought about life. I thought dreams were impossible.”
But Mosupye refused to stay down. Instead, “I used fitness to get me into the right channels of energies and thoughts,” he tells me.
When 2014 rolled around, he got the opportunity to be a promotions salesperson while he studied fitness.
“We used to sell cheese,” he laughs. “We had to go to these wealthy areas so you’d really have to be well spoken. Sometimes, I’d be talking to someone and they would say to me: ‘You know what? You present this cheese so well that even if I don’t want to buy one, you’re making me want to buy more. Have you thought about trying to be a TV presenter?’”
Mosupye soon started a job at a popular gym franchise and it was there that he was approached to enter the corporate fitness space as a trainer “where I was happier talking to and engaging with people”.
Always one to get ahead by any means necessary, he supplemented these incomes with modelling gigs. He’d post Instagram pictures showing off his sculpted body and instantly get booked.
He laughs out loud when I say he was thirst trapping on the “gram”.
“The fitness aspect of it took off so it’s fine if these modelling shows wanted topless dudes” he teases.
Mosupye heard MTV Base VJ Sandile Ntshingila talking about the music channel’s auditions and was compelled to try his luck.
“I woke up at 4am and knew I’d just be happy to make it into Top 5 Joburg,” he says. “After that, persistence met faith and things happened for me. I was just hoping to start a new journey because I knew whether I win or not, life goes on. I had been good before and life went haywire for me so I knew life would go on.”
He beat Kuhle Adams, who should definitely be on national TV by now, and went on to win the competition. The next few months were an adjustment phase.
“It’s a very demanding job. Being out in the streets takes a lot but I love that this is more about the craft. I want to get better at presenting, delivering content and holding an interview with authority.”
Mosupye is working on being a better version of himself and advises hopefuls to hold on to their authenticity. “We’re looking for the next VJ and I want to tell people: always be about the craft,” he shares.
“The hype will be here one day and gone the next. You need to make sure you resonate with people. But always be yourself. Practice your links and be very confident.”
Auditions for the MTV Base VJ Search hit the East London Golf Club in the Eastern Cape city on August 4 and at Zone 6 Venue in Soweto on August 18. Visit mtvbase.com for more info.