A 1st for Uveka Rangappa
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the honour and privilege of talking to some incredible women about what it means to be Fearless. Their stories have been ones of amazing courage, unspeakable struggles and absolute resilience. Not only did their stories lead me to wonder if I’ve ever been Fearless, but they led me to actually take a long, hard look at my own life right now and make one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make.
After 25 years of being in news, both radio and television, I’ve decided to venture into unknown territory! I have resigned from my job as a TV news anchor and will be joining a media company as a programme and content manager. I have given up the only role I have ever known and comfortable financial security to do what really makes me happy…talking about everyday life issues and helping others navigate this difficult world!
I’m no stranger to fear though. Like right now I am hiding out in my bedroom, writing this because I’ve just accidentally closed the garage door on my husband’s car, wondering if I should be packing a suitcase for a quick getaway! Lol! But seriously, my first recollection of fear was as a child when I was terribly afraid of the dark. As a teenager I was afraid of failing at everything – failing Math and Science, failing my teachers, failing my parents, failing myself!
You see, I had excelled at everything from the day I set foot in a classroom, topping the grade every single year until I got to grade 10 and I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I became afraid to try in case I failed. But I pulled through and made it to a Journalism diploma – all the while still afraid I was never going to be good enough.
But obviously others, mostly my female bosses, saw in me what I didn’t see in myself and gave me the breaks I needed. That gave me the confidence to excel. My first Fearless experience as an adult was when I left my parents’ home in the small town of Verulam and headed for the big city of Johannesburg in my mid-20s in 2002. I was going to really be a “grownup” for the first time, and I was terrified! But I’m the kind of person who has never let fear stop me from doing anything! I just dive right in and say, “what will be, will be” and face the consequences afterwards!
And that has served me well because being a journalist doesn’t mean you’re not fearful of certain situations, it means you are able to put aside those fears and get the job done for the greater good. And that is what I did in the decades that followed, covering news and doing shows like Great Expectations. There were protest marches, trips to post war Iraq complete with unauthorised landings in Baghdad and facing snipers past curfew, talking to dangerous gangsters on street corners, skydiving, riding bikes and doing donuts in fast cars to show the world that moms aren’t boring.
Experiences like that show you that you can be Fearless, but they don’t mean you’ll never be afraid of anything ever again. Being married and having kids means being afraid every day of not being good enough, not taking good enough care of your family. Being on air, in front of cameras also comes with a certain amount of fear regardless of how long you’ve been doing it. Do you have the right energy, are you asking the right questions, what will the viewer numbers show? I’ve had to grow a pretty thick skin over the years, but I’ve still had to take the criticism on the chin and do it all over again the next day.
And now as I venture into a new world, I know I have done the right thing, at the right time and for the right reasons. And “knowing” and “trusting” myself has made me absolutely Fearless.
PS: My husband’s car survived the “garage door attack” with minimal damage, as did my marriage! My husband forgave me after an excruciating hour of the silent treatment.