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Mahjay aspires to empower young women

Bataung Moeketsi

FORMER radio personality Mahjay is taking time away from radio to grow her business and empower young women.

In a recent interview with the Xpress People, Mahjay said her travels to Kenya in 2013 as the president of the National Youth Action Movement (YAM) and her work as a sexual reproductive health promoter for Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) inspired her to empower young women.

“Through LPPA, I travelled to Kenya in 2013 and managed to build a network of young leaders like me,” Mahjay said.

“This was when I was inspired to start my own initiative Mahjay4you to empower women in all aspects of life under the name: marriedinmy20sbuthavenotlostmyambition.”

Mahjay’s initiative is aimed at young married, divorced women and single mothers and is intended to “remind them of their worth despite the responsibilities they have”.

Born Thapelo Maja in Mohale’s Hoek, Mahjay is a Mafeteng resident who obtained a certificate in Sign Language Interpreting in 2014 at the National Association for the Deaf in Lesotho. She also holds a diploma in Education which she obtained from the Lesotho College of Education in 2016.

She said growing up was both “beautiful and hard” for her after the loss of her father to a stroke in 2007 but also says that did not stop her from being the vibrant, talkative and intelligent young woman she was.

“These attributes qualified me as one of the best debaters in Mohale’s Hoek debate competitions.

“The same qualities landed me in careers of both teaching and Sign Language interpreting,” she said.

Mahjay made the career change from teaching LGCSE students at the Learn-It programme that operated from St James High School to becoming a radio personality in 2017 after taking her grade 12 students to the Ultimate Radio studios in an effort to help them “find their way to their dreams”.

She said the trip to the station inspired her to undertake research and take short courses online to learn more about radio.

Mahjay approached the management of MXXL Space Age Radio in 2017 to gain experience as an intern and later became a presenter on PCFM the same year after PCFM presenter, Teboho Ntaote, encouraged her to apply for the post.

“This (PCFM) is where Mahjay I was refined both spiritually and mentally.”

She said her listeners’ experiences and those she came across in her life transformed her into the “wonder woman” she is today and that her time at the station taught her that “failure is not a killing process but a record of one’s efforts to better their life”.

The 26-year-old ended her stint at PCFM in April 2020 and said that God, her husband and listeners sustained her in her radio due to the inherent challenges among them low income. Despite the shortcomings of the local media, Mahjay’s work as a radio presenter helped build her brand.

“Media in our country has a long way to go in terms of appreciating and rewarding talent. If a young person wants to be in media in this country, you better find ways of generating income because your monthly salary will not sustain your needs.”

Apart from having been a radio personality and a teacher, Mahjay is also the founder of MAHJAY MAGIC, a cosmetics company she founded in February 2020.

Mahjay is also passionate about human rights activism and has been working in humanitarian services at the World Peace Initiative (WPI) foundation since 2015.

She received training in 2016 as a global peach coach in Bangkok, Thailand and also travelled to Malawi to learn more about meditation and the mind. Her training helped her become the Country Coordinator of WPI in 2017.

Having set her media career aside, Mahjay says she will be taking time to discover other capabilities, grow as a business woman and continue her sexual reproductive health promoter work.

She also hopes to study psychology in the near future.


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