Media Mogul in the making Boitumelo Mtimkulu is a 27 year old Tswana speaking Zulu girl born and raised in Johannesburg. She is a middle child and she says that is what has made her independent and a bit of a rebel. “Growing up I was quite the tomboy, very bossy and talkative. In primary school I was quite shy and timid until I went to high school, I became a little more outspoken and daring.”
Tumee, as she is affectionately known, was involved in everything including drama, public speaking, debating, quiz team and everyone was convinced that she would either be an actress or a lawyer. “I obviously opted for law when I matriculated and started at varsity, only to realize a few years later that law was not my passion. Soon after I graduated, I applied for an internship at SABC and that’s when my journey began in the entertainment industry.”
When Tumee was just 14 years old, she was a child presenter on School TV, SABC 2 and she did the show until she was about 16 and at the time she chose not to continue with it because it was demanding and interfering with her school. From that moment she prioritised her academics and didn’t really care for the entertainment industry. However, music was always the key to her heart and says “I always knew I had a strong love for music.”
During her studies at the University of the Free State, she was part of the campus radio station KovsieFM. She had a show called “For The Love of RnB” and she fell in love with those late nights alone in the studio presenting music, chatting to listeners and learning how to work the desk.
Fast forward to a few years later, she started working at MetroFM and then moved into television as a producer on BET and SABC. She then later worked at the biggest record label on the globe. “I pretty much felt the ceiling creeping in, I suddenly wanted to work on my own name, my own brand, my own legacy. I already had all the networks I needed. I felt that I had so much to offer everyone but myself, so I took the giant leap of faith and started my own thing and that is how ManagedByTumee was birthed.”
Tumee says that working in this particular industry has been challenging for her as she’s experienced the worst scrutiny anyone can imagine, from racism to sexism. In all the areas and positions she has worked in, they had always been very male-dominated spaces so immediately when a female comes on board, they would undermine and challenge her position. “I always worked twice as hard as any man to be taken seriously. I’ve worked in spaces where BLACK WOMEN hated me so much because they didn’t understand how a girl my age could earn the position that I had without scrapping from the bottom or sleeping my way there. I’ve been bullied by ladies who were supposed to be my leaders/superiors, I’ve been compromised and objectified by men, I’ve been exploited, overworked and underpaid just because I did not have the right amount of experience than the rest of my colleagues.”
“You often find yourself as a young beautiful black women having to downplay your attributes and dim your light just to make people accept you for the sake of keeping your job and it takes a lot of strong will to get through it, I can’t count the many times I’d run to the bathroom to cry because of the way people treated me.”
On some of her greatest achievements so far in her career, she cites the very first script she constructed while on MetroFM for Bonang on “The Front Row”. “It was a mess, Bonang probably felt so disrespected, but she gave me a chance. However, they had a brilliant show that day and Tumee stayed on the show from there.
She has also had the honour and privilege to work with the most celebrated and prestigious people one can imagine. Learning from them and just executing phenomenal work together in both TV and Music has been an incredible milestone for her. “I’ve had so many achievements in this regard but I think earning the respect of the people on these platforms and the industry is my biggest achievement so far.”
On what makes her a woman who rocks, Tumee says she rocks because none of her achievements have gone to her head. She is still the same silly, bubbly and down to earth child that her parents and friends know. She still has the same values and principles and treats everyone with the same level of respect they deserve. “I am not defined by what I do, I define what I do by being who I am.” Her dreams for the future include building her own EMPIRE.
“I will be the biggest Media Mogul to come out of Africa. Mark my words.”