Episode 033

Nyasha Kadandara

Work hard, and don't stop working hard because it never gets easy.

September 9, 2018

Episode Overview

She’s an award-winning journalist and filmmaker, but Nyasha Kadandara didn’t start out to be a journalist or a filmmaker. In fact in her first year of university she studied…actuarial science!  But she soon found that much as she enjoyed mathematics, being an actuary wasn’t a career path she was cut out for.

She switched her major to finance with the thought that she would eventually pursue a career in investment banking.  Wanting to be immersed in university life, Nyasha signed up to be part of the editorial team for the student publication at University of Cape Town.  Even though her first piece was rejected, she discovered that storytelling was actually her true passion.

After graduating, Nyasha took a job at a local IT consulting firm, but her dream to be a storyteller kept pulling at her. She applied to the prestigious Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York, and was accepted.

Since then, Nyasha has gone on to produce award winning documentaries, and reported across the globe.  She’s currently based in Nairobi, Kenya.  Her most recent work, which was published by the BBC, is a multimedia story called ‘Sex & The Sugar Daddy’.  It’s a controversial and thought-provoking look at the ‘Sugar Daddy’ or ‘Sponsor’ culture that is prevalent in Kenya.

In our conversation, Nyasha talks about why she wanted to tell the ‘Sugar Daddy’ story, what inspired her to follow a career in journalism and filmmaking, some of the greatest challenges she’s faced as a journalist, and the impact she’d like to have in the world.

what you’ll learn in this episode

  • What inspired Nyasha to want to pursue a career as a journalist and filmmaker
  • How her first written piece was rejected by her student newspaper, but this inspired her to keep writing
  • What it was like being a student at Columbia Journalism School
  • What some of the biggest challenges she’s faced so far in her career
  • What inspired Nyasha to want to tell the story of the ‘Sugar Daddy’ culture in Kenya, even though she knew it was a controversial subject
  • How she found and convinced Grace and Jane to share their stories on camera
  • What the public reaction has been to the story
  • The advice she would give to any aspiring journalist or filmmaker
  • What Nyasha is most grateful for
  • Her greatest goal, and who she’d want to share it with
  • What Nyasha’s “I am…” is


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