Former YoTV presenter Vusiwe Ngcobo tackles law
Many will remember former child star Vusiwe Ngcobo for shaking up the entertainment scene in the early 2000s. Who can forget those music videos featuring her and sister Ntombi, both sporting their signature boxed braids or spiked afros?
They made a name for themselves as part of the music group Amaponi, with their brothers Jabu and Nathi.
Ngcobo fast became a face for a generation; she went from singing Chiky Lai Lai to presenting on children’s television programme YoTV.
As she grew older she took a break from her entertainment career to study towards a law degree at the University Of Johannesburg. She's now an associate at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in their finance and banking department.
Ngcobo, a daughter of famous musicians Ihashi Elimhlophe (Bheki Ngcobo) and Ebony (Linah Khama), is adamant that her love for entertainment will never wane. In between her studies, she held down a stint as ring announcer for boxing tournaments televised on SABC Sport.
About her decision to go study fulltime, she says she realised that job security could become a major problem in the entertainment industry in a long run.
“I wanted something more consistent where I could definitely know that this is what I’m doing on an ongoing basis,” she says.
Ngcobo eloquently states that she’s always been academically inclined, professing a fondness for books.
“I’m one of the people that are fortunate enough to be in academics and creative space at the same time. And I didn’t want my academic self to like die down.”
She says she chose law because it opens the door to many corporative careers.
“I don’t have to be a lawyer; with a law degree you can get into so many other fields. You can get into business, into politics… you have many options.”
Naturally, as an artist, she did think about focusing on entertainment law but was put off by the structure of the course. None of the institutions in this country offer it as a standalone course.
“And, because I come from the side of being an entertainer, my thinking was always that if I become an entertainment lawyer, I want to help other people like me. I wouldn’t want to be the person that’s working for the big companies. I would always want to represent the artist. I just found that I wouldn’t have much freedom to do that,” she explains.
Another deterrent about becoming entertainment lawyer she found was that it is work that largely focuses on contracts and therefore lacks variation.
But there are also challenges in her current position at the law firm. Her youth and gender have made other people doubt doubt if she was up to the task, she says. That has made her to work twice as hard to dispel unsavoury perceptions.
“For me that’s fine because the harder I work, the more I get exposed to more knowledge. And that’s what I have always been about, I have always been about bettering myself and becoming a better version of myself in the business that I am in,” she says.