A sit down with Craig Ngonyama
I was actually born in Mpumalanga, Bushbuckridge and have three other siblings. I started my primary education there and went off to complete secondary school in Polokwane (back then it was known as Pietersburg). From an early age, I liked analysing graphs and numbers, so I went to pursue a career in commerce by studying at the University of Pretoria towards a BCom (Internal Audit), then a BCom (Hons) in Finance followed by a Master’s in Finance at the same institution. I am now studying towards a PhD in Accounting Sciences with Unisa.
Well, in those days, things were a bit simpler with regards to interacting with other kids. Growing-up was a world of fun, filled with playing games outside our lawn, lots of candy and often than not, getting into trouble. As I became a teenager, things weren’t as simple, and I started to have an inferiority complex as I didn’t quite fit in with the other boys. And of cause, high school was filled with horrible teasing from other scholars as I was a bit more “softer” than the rest of the boys.
If I can remember clearly, I think it must have been when I was 10 or so. Must’ve been that one strange game of impersonating “Days of our lives” characters”. There was a kissing scene where I ended up kissing a boy. It was fun and I knew instantly
Well to be honest I didn’t really do that. As a school rector, my mom had always worked with various types of scholars and was very much exposed to sexuality. My family didn’t expect me to “come out” , which I’m grateful for. I believe for them; it was a normal part of human sexuality.
Finance lecturer, researcher, and a business consultant. My career started off in corporate, I worked for Nissan SA, then went into full academia as I was passionate about teaching and knowledge transfer. I started working as junior lecturer at Unisa, then went to become a lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology. Some of the biggest highlights in my professional life include curriculum design for new programmes, venturing into my own accounting practice and working with Unisa’s Business School (SBL) in Midrand.
BECOMING AN INFLUENCER
There are two things that I have always done when it comes to social media. The first one, as I mentioned is to be myself, in the sense that I post for the moment, I create content based on my happiest times, focusing on the good life has to offer, and of course spreading much needed positivity and love out there. Secondly, is that most people that have either met me, or seen my social media page always state that “I don’t look like someone who is a lecturer in Finance” or “that I must be a personal trainer”. This has always been a weird contrast as I seem to look like someone who is involved in sports, while having the brains of a professor. I believe that contrast has helped me engage with a lot of people and breaking the stereotypical norm of what a “queer person” is, or what a “lecturer looks like”, and so on.
NAVIGATING THE INFLUENCER SPACE
Well, before my sexuality, there is me. So based on that, whatever I do in whichever space, I always try to make it about me, and less about my sexuality. So to answer the question of how I navigate the influencer space, I would say that I am myself , being queer is a part of that person. I have learned that being a person that possess influence has always revolved around being one’s authentic self. In general, I believe people will like whatever content you create based on you being yourself, and not just about one’s sexuality, job title or net worth.
THE PRESSURE OF AN INFLUENCER
Naturally there is always pressure for people to want more or compare themselves to others. I find it inspirational to look at some of my peers and see how far they’ve gone in life. However, I wouldn’t put myself under unhealthy pressure just “to get where they are”. Its about finding the line between “competition” and “inspiration” and choosing the right side.
INSPIRATION BEHIND TRAVELLING
Instagram travel pages and You-tube videos inspired all of this. Three years ago, I used to spend hours looking at various pages wanting to see the world. Now, 16 countries later, I am looking forward to even more time in the air.
I love, love, love cooking, oh my word. I cannot express how much I enjoy cooking for my partner and his family. My absolute favourite quote about cooking by Nigella Lawson states
“I believe that the kitchen can be both a sanctuary and pleasure palace, and that’s something I am more than happy to celebrate, repeatedly”
Quiche Lorraine from a bakery in Vienna called Motto Brot. Absolutely heavenly!