Episode 071

Nyasha Kadandara

Be Open to the Unexpected

June 16, 2019

Episode Overview

This week, we’re revisiting a conversation with my dear friend and award-winning journalist and filmmaker, Nyasha Kadandara. Nyasha just had a huge win at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival! Her Virtual Reality film ‘Le Lac’ won the “Best Digital Narrative Award” at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival in England. The film, which Nyasha spent almost two years working on, tells the story of how Lake Chad had shrunk to a tenth of its former size, and the impact on the communities that depend on the lake.  Nyasha took the bold and unusual step of giving the lake a poetic voice to tell the story.

“Be open to the unexpected.” – Nyasha Kadandara

In between our giggles (it’s always so strange interviewing a friend and fellow journalist!), Nyasha talked about her passion for storytelling, and how that led her to leave a career in the corporate world to pursue journalism and filmmaking.

You see, Nyasha actually studied for a business degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT), with the intention of becoming an Actuary! She volunteered on the university’s student newspaper, where much to her disappointment, her first article didn’t get published.  But that only inspired and challenged her to become a better writer. By the time Nyasha was in her senior year, she had been promoted to editor-in-chief.

After graduating, Nyasha got a job at a local IT consulting firm…but she wasn’t happy.  She realized that what she really loved was storytelling. Nyasha finally decided to take a chance and go after her dream of becoming a journalist and filmmaker.  She applied, and was accepted into the prestigious Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

Since graduating, Nyasha has produced several award-winning documentaries including  ‘Through the Fire‘, ‘Queens and Knights‘ and most recently ‘Le Lac.’ Another recent documentary ‘Sex & The Sugar Daddy’, which was an intriguing yet controversial look at the ‘Sugar Daddy’ or ‘Sponsor’ culture that is widespread in Kenya, was published by BBC.

Listen in as Nyasha shares her inspiring story, and she shares her thoughts on the impact she wants her work to have in the world.  

what you’ll learn in this episode

  • What inspired Nyasha to pursue a career as a journalist and filmmaker
  • How rejection by her student newspaper inspired her and made her even more determined to become a better writer and journalist
  • What it was like being an African student at an Ivy League university
  • Some of the biggest challenges Nyasha has faced so far in her career
  • What inspired her to want to tell the story of the ‘Sugar Daddy’ culture in Kenya, even though she knew it was a controversial subject
  • 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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