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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Tumi Morake & Mpho Osei-Tutu

Individually and while supporting each other you’ve built a brand that’s remarkable and recognisable. How have you inspired each other throughout the years?

Tumi says, “We are each other’s biggest fans so it’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to help one another out with material, a script or even tips for an audition. We have high expectations of each other, career-wise, and we feed well off each other’s success.”

What do you appreciate the most about each other’s business acumen?

Mpho says, “Tumi has a very strong sense of the value of what we do, which is great. She reminds me to breathe.”

Tumi says, “Mpho’s planning and administration skills are essential, especially when executing a project. Basically, he cracks the whip and I bring the fun!”

Mpho, your work has been considered revolutionary in the sense that it provides a unique view of original content. How would you like your work to be remembered?

I’d like to be remembered for being authentic to who I am at any given moment. If my work can be lauded as having added to the cultures of being black, African and human, that would be the cherry on top.

Mpho’s planning and administration skills are essential, especially when executing a project. Basically, he cracks the whip and I bring the fun!

Tumi, how do you maintain your identity as an individual in an industry where you wear so many hats?

I place ‘brand Tumi Morake’ at the centre of everything I do. It helps me recalibrate every time I begin veering off the path of doing what I do best. I’ve come to appreciate that I don’t fit into any one particular box, so ibeing authentically me makes it easier to stand out. I can say, with confidence, that I can never be confused with anyone else in this industry.

The bedroom is not the boardroom. Unless the business issues enhance the relationship, separate them.

How important is investing in a team to help you execute your vision and dream? Who tends to get the final say?

Tumi says, “It’s extremely important because, if you view each project like it was a child, then it takes a village to raise it. The ‘child’ should then also give back to the village at some point, not just financially but also emotionally.

“Our aim with every project is to have a crystal clear picture of what our goal is. Then we select a team, but we allow that team to use their strengths and flair to get us to the end goal. This is also where we allow some flexibility.”

Mpho says, “In terms of who gets the final say, it honestly depends on the project and our availability to engage with the issues. On Kota Life Crisis, for example, I made most of the final decisions. But on Tumi or Not Tumi, she had the final say. It’s important to point out, however, that none of our decisions are ever made in a vacuum.”

For couples looking to do business together what should their approach to successs be?

Here are some guidelines that we’ve learnt work for us:

1. The bedroom is not the boardroom. Unless the business issues enhance the relationship, separate them. This is essential when it comes to managing time – date nights shouldn’t suddenly turn into business meetings.

2. Work to each other’s strengths. This is not an undercover life coach mission, it’s business.

3. Trust. You’re building something together, so trust is vital. Remember, even if there are disagreements, you’re still on the same team.

In the past 10 years, what challenges have you faced in your careers and how did you overcome these?

Mpho says, “Our first project, my one-man show Convincing Carlos, lost us money due to poor planning, despite enjoying critical success. We had to keep reminding ourselves of our long-term production goals, which were, in part ‘to make money and/or change lives [not just our own].’

“Then, two years ago, as a family we had to carry the burden of Tumigate, when all hell broke loose at Jacaranda FM and Tumi was accused – and subsequently cleared – of hate speech. For the first time, Tumi’s career bled into our family life – suddenly we had to have tough racial and social media conversations.

“Tumi was also thrust into a place where she suddenly had to change career gears and manage reputational damage. Our family is committed to helping each other through adversity and we all showed up in every instance.”

How do you balance running a business with raising a family while pursuing your careers?

Tumi says, “We run our family like our business, with focus and a clear desire for certain outcomes. Family is at the top of the food chain. When you’re dead and gone, the only thing you can leave behind is how you touched people. You can’t neglect your business because, at the end of the day, your family would be left with your financial woes. We want to be people twho have added value to the human race. So if we became wealthy but did it in a negative way, the people we leave behind would have to live with that legacy too.”

Mpho, what are the most important codes to live by to ensure you have a stable and joy-filled partnership?

It would have to be healthy communication, common values and living by the motto ‘know thyself… thy business self and thy couple self.’

Author: Bernice Maune

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