Secrets To Success: Lala Tuku
When it comes to entrepreneurship, South African women are bolder than their international counterparts with 70% of them aspiring to become entrepreneurs.
This is according to the Veuve Clicquot International Women Entrepreneurship Barometer that was recently unveiled by Maison Veuve Clicquot at the recent Veuve Clicquot X Women experience.
We caught up with one of the speakers Lala Tuku Founder and Director of Corporate Icons Media and Co-Chair of Africa Rising International Film Festival.
Q: Your hashtag #AbreakwithLala has opened up conversations that many young women would never have the opportunity to have. What is a common question women ask and what is your answer?
A: Most young women I come across are interested in my journey. Questions vary, however, there is a common theme and questions - “How did you make it? How did you get ahead? There is a sense of desperation and fear as they are faced with the harsh realities of the industry with regards to access.
My interpretation of their questions is “how do I get a seat at the table? How do I gain access to the rooms where decisions are made and ensure my voice is heard? How do I get the opportunity and therefore the break?”
Experience has taught me to be well prepared, confident, and persistent, to equip myself with knowledge and the necessary skillset, know my worth and be resilient in all my efforts.
You have to believe in what you are contributing to the table, so when you get there you don’t make the mistake of selling yourself short. I have learned the power and importance of harnessing good relationships and creating a good network around myself.
Continued hunger for knowledge is also very important. Lastly, as much as possible, shut out the voice of fear and go for it! If there are no seats, you best be bold enough to bring your own chair.
Q: When you started to work, you wanted to be a director, and heard a lot of no’s. You say that “the reason I was given was that there are no black directors, let alone female.” Have you seen that change over the last few years?
A: We are seeing a change but it is very slow. Television has definitely made more progress than the film industry, especially when it comes to films that make it to cinema.
We need to be more intentional in our efforts to see more women in key technical roles - from directors, cinematographers, editors and writers.
Q: You are outspoken about the need for women to enter into media roles outside of acting. As an example, the need for women writers to write truthful female roles. Are there any writers or examples of this that you see pushing this forward?
A: As long as there is a handful of women head writers, women will remain misrepresented. Transformation needs to start at the conception stage where three dimensional female characters are written.
In the past 5 - 8 years we are starting to see a shift and a change in the story world and in government programmes that are geared to fast track the development of women in this area.
The Female Filmmaker Project is a programme developed by the NFVF to increase opportunities for emerging writers and directors.
Bongi Ndaba and Dudu Mabaso - we are seeing young female head writers at the helm of incredible productions such as Rea Moeti with an upcoming Showmax show, Sunni Faba on the Herd; Thuli Zuma on the period piece Ifalakhe; Mbalizethu Zulu on Impilo: The Scam; Lwazi Mvusi on her feature Farewell Ella Bella.