Phemelo Motene on Reflection

July 31, 2019
3 min read

Phemelo Motene was first introduced to South African audiences via a popular soap opera, but a career spanning nearly two decades in the public showed that Motene was so much more dynamic than the role she played on television. As a radio broadcaster, with a daily midday show on national station SAFM, Motene’s conversations moves quickly from hard news and socio-economic challenges, to lifestyle and literature. She also works as a media consultant, helping various platforms reach their audience and build a strong public presence, with integrity. She does all this with a great sense of reflection, and she told The Thread all about this.

What does reflection mean to you and at what point in your life’s journey did you understand or realise the importance of reflection and mindfulness? 
Reflection is something I do regularly.. especially now in my later years. It gives me perspective. I don’t set aside time to reflect, it happens randomly, in the middle of a conversation with someone, while buying a cup of coffee, you will be amazed at what wisdom is all around you if you just listen, and as I listen I reflect.

You talk and listen for a living – as a radio presenter and a media consultant – how do you find the stillness required for real reflection?
Stillness is not something I do well… I find it hard, but I find stillness is imperative for me before I go on air, stillness gives me a sense of purpose and it centres me, when I am still, I am able to produce my best work.

Is reflection something you practice deliberately – like regularly taking time out to be on your own – or is it more reactive, in the moment, like on the drive home from work?
Reflection for me happens as I go about my daily routine, daily occurrences give me a lot to reflect on. I was jogging today and found myself reflecting a lot on the plight of the homeless for instance, it happened because I came across a lot of homeless people while jogging.

Is it possible for you to incorporate mindfulness and reflection in your daily routine, and if so, how do you do it?
Incorporating mindfulness in my daily routine would be ideal, but I am not there yet. It would be great if I was that aware all the time, am not there yet though.

Reflection sometimes means coming face to face with your own flaws or mistakes. How do you thoughtfully process these without dwelling on them? 
Hence I said it’s hard. Reflection depresses me sometimes, it’s the price one has to pay. I haven’t mastered the art of avoiding being down when I face my demons head on.. work in progress.

You have young children, how do you pass on the lessons of reflection to them and how do you practice being a mindful mom?
My kids are great with reflection and I find they are very mindful of their surroundings and the spaces they live in; sometimes more than me, and having them around has been wonderful in making me more mindful. I guess I taught them, but they live it more than I expected. 

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