It’s my world, it’s yours, it’s ours.

Spotlight – Themba Jay

Spotlight on Moja is where we feature and put the spotlight on various places and/or individuals. In addition to what we do, we’re also interested in people’s experiences and stories. Stories about cool places will also be on here. You don’t need to be famous or anything like that, just be awesome, stand for something and have a great story to tell, that’s it.

We’re all different and have great stories, so what better way to share those than here?

I for one have come across some great individuals, all of whom have great stories, have learned a lot from and are destined for great things. This is a space where I’d like to not only introduce you to some of those but also hopefully be able to feature more equally awesome individuals and places.

Next up we have Writer and Speaker extraordinaire himself, Themba Jay. A very good friend of mine I was fortunate enough to work with for a while and get to know quite well in the process. Let’s find out about him:

Thank you for agreeing to this! First things first, can you tell us a bit about who Themba Jay is? Please tell us a bit about your childhood and where you grew up.

First, thanks for the opportunity to be on the platform — I really appreciate it!

So, I am a Storyteller. And I was born in Phiri, Soweto. Four years later we moved with the family to Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg. My most formative years were in that township (in which I still live). My childhood was awesome, now that I look at it retrospectively, because my father ran a car tyre repair and sales business and he had us work with him on weekends and school holidays from a very young age. This means I master anything that has to do with car tyres — don’t let the eloquence fool you 🙂

Themba and his twin sister

Themba and his twin sister

So this also meant I spent half of my life in the streets learning about life and people.

My father played an instrumental role in my formation because he was a confident guy who believed he can do anything he wanted. Running his businesses with him made us see firsthand how he handled people, work, money, disappointments, and that was his goal — teaching us how the world works. Which is why I have the utmost respect for other people and also have so much wisdom at a fairly young age, I saw and experienced life in ways my peers didn’t. It’s stuff you don’t get taught in school, you know. Growing up, it’s worth noting that I was very timid. But I still had the love to talk, so I did it in safe and intimate spces with friends. Until late in high school when I decided I needed to get over my being shy and work toward pursuing what really makes me feel alive. And so, here we are 🙂

Theres so many things out there but for you specifically, what is your main aim/goal in life?

It’s simple, really. I just want to be one of the best Writers and Speakers to ever walk the earth. And in that process, touch as many people as I can through my work.

And flipping that on its head a bit, whats your biggest fear in life?

Losing my loved ones.

What do you do for a living? And specifically, why do you do what you do?

I am a Storyteller: a Writer, Marketer and Public Speaker. I do what I do because it allows me to tap dance with my pen and leave trails of magic that touches people; I love adding value, helping out and teaching as a Public Speaker.

Put another way, I do what I do because I love conversations. I enjoy connecting with people and building genuine and strong relationships with them and at the back of that, elevate them somehow. And writing compelling stories allows me that and speaking helps me to change mindsets. For me, that is priceless!

What motivates you? What drives you to get out of bed every morning?

Three things. One, creating a decent life for my family and loved ones. Two, being the best and remarkable version of myself. Three, touching people and making a dent in the world.

Is there anything or anyone you look to for inspiration? And if so, why?

My father. Since he has passed on, I comb through his life, words, actions, mannerisms, advice and everything he stood for and always, there’s something to gain in the way of perspective.

I look up to my father because he was a genius, had high self esteem, cared about people, loved exploring new things, knew his worth and was comfortable in his own skin.

Its apparent that this life thing is way too short and were told to make the most out of it. So with that, what do you do for fun?

So true. It’s such an interesting journey. For fun, I spend time with loved ones, read a lot, watch great content through movies and series’. I enjoy taking walks and people watching — reading the world. I write a lot to get feelings from my head and heart and out through my fingertips.

And oh, I also have fun talking to myself — soliloquies are absolute fun.

Nostalgia is such a powerful thing, if you had to go back to one moment in your life, what would it be and why?

Because the moment helped me unleash and realise what I am capable of (although there are a few more I can think of), I would go back to the time when I delivered a mesmerising presentation at Cerebra Communications in February 2015. I have always knew I was special and had an impressive ability in speaking, that day I proved it to myself, in High Definition even!


Themba gets a shout-out from Cerebra CEO, Mike Stopforth, during his presentation.

If you could choose three people in the world to have lunch or dinner with, who would those be? Why? And what would you order?

I don’t know what I would order, that would depend on my mood on the day.

The people present would be my mother, younger brother, Muziwandile, and twin sister, Thembisile. I have realised I needn’t necessarily look farther for greatness. Some of the best lessons I have learned and have put me in good stead in my life have been from long conversations with Muziwandile — he’s such a phenomenal mind.

After my family — if I may be selfish and add three more (alternative) people to my guest list — I would happily sit down for lunch with Seth Godin so I can get into his mind about marketing, storytelling, organising and leading tribes, his journey building his companies, writing the numerous books he has written and why art and generosity is so important in our world.

The second person is Gary Vaynerchuk. The reason? I will talk to him about storytelling and marketing in a 2017 and beyond world, the art of content marketing, building a strong personal brand (that’s also lucrative) anchored on who one really is, and the importance of self awareness in life.

The last individual is Jason Fried. Because with him, I will want to discuss the importance of writing well, and documenting one’s everyday experiences as a marketing tool for one’s hustle; building a profitable business around one’s strengths and talents and how to be truly yourself in business (and to a certain extent, completely shun the status quo) and still make it.

These three guys have been crucial in the shaping of my mind to some extent.

Lastly, you are surely on social media  where can people get a hold of you?

Yes, I am on social platforms. I really love using and storytelling through them 🙂

I can be found on …

Website: /

Twitter: @iThembaJay

Facebook: Themba Jay

Instagram: @iThembaJay

SoundCloud: Themba Jay

Thank you for taking the time to do this fam and allowing us into your world for a min!


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