Introducing the voices behind one of South Africa’s top and most promising podcasts for young, black women. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Mgowo was launched in 2018 by strategist, Sinesipho Ngcayisa and voice actor, Mixo Mathebula who were keen to chronicle their journeys through adulthood on a platform that would allow thousands of others to share in these reflections. From family, love and womanhood to healing, rage and gratitude; there is no place that the duo is afraid to go in the discussions had on their show.
“We decided to start SMgowo because we just really wanted a space to reflect outside of our journals and heads. There’s just been really something impactful about our thoughts living outside of our heads. Verbalizing things makes them more real and holds you accountable to the fact that life is a process and a project you work on daily. We felt that there wasn’t enough of that out there, especially from black women across all ages” – Mixo and Sinesipho.
Streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud and Google Podcasts, SMgowo – as the show is affectionately referred to by its loyal listenership – enjoys consistent engagement from its listeners both on their preferred podcast-listening platforms as well as social media which plays a big role in how this audience consumes content; wanting to feel a sense of community while unpacking their “mgowo” (the process of going through something).
“Edison Research undertook a survey into audio listening in September, and the results show that there is plenty of room for growth in South Africa. Just 10% of metropolitan South Africans listen to any podcasts in a typical month, compared to 33% of people in the US, or 22% of Australians,” -The Media Online.
The space for growth in South African podcasting certifies platforms like SMgowo as trailblazers in the industry and almost ensures that their place in the future of African podcasts is secure.
Named one of True Love Magazine’s Class of 2020 Women Running Things, Sinesipho and Mixo had this to share on being content creators utilizing a growing platform:
Q: What is the process of making each episode before it gets streamed by a listener?
A: We literally just come up with a topic on the morning we record based on us asking each other how our week was. We tried to have a content calendar and it is a great guide, but the process has been so much better when we’ve been intuitive and organic. We think this is because of how much easier it has become to be more vulnerable on the platform but also because it no longer feels like just creating content but a part of the work, we are doing on ourselves.
Q: Podcasting has been identified as the next major broadcasting/publishing content vehicle in the world; referring to your listenership – is it being consumed this way in Africa and South Africa?
A: Podcasts are easier to consume in the same way that music is easier to consume than film. In a country with the data limitations that we have, it makes sense that podcast consumption is growing in a local sense. Our numbers have grown a lot in the last year and it’s encouraging to see so we think that the limited barriers to podcast creating mean that there will be more creators and consumers, just as we saw with the boom in Youtube content creation.
Q: What do you want the listeners of SMgowo to feel when they listen to each episode?
A: To be honest right now we just want young people all across the continent to be connected and brought together by our podcast and the conversations we have. The most important thing is the now and how its enabling all of us to reflect, maybe the legacy will be each of us getting to know ourselves a bit better and knowing that the work being done to understand ourselves and each other is cumulative, that it will serve those who come after us just as those we reference have served us.