About

Ola, I am Themba Jay.

A Wordsmith.

I write and edit; I speak and facilitate public conversations; I think and consult.

For some work, I sit in creative and business strategy sessions and contribute my mind. On other projects, I teach.

And long before I knew I was going to write for my supper, from around the age of ten until twenty-three, I was a car and tyre mechanic working in my Dad’s business. The experience was like traveling the world while planted in one immersive place. The Firm, we called it. I met a multitude of fascinating people there almost everyday, learnt a trade, observed how the world works, and spent considerable time with my father.

I was at odds at the time, though. I wanted to play football and wander around with friends. My youthful naiveté blocked the clarity of the incredible value that came from watching Dad solve problems in real-time and build businesses. I had a front-row seat to an intelligent man.

Here’s the kicker: growing up in the tyre repair/sales business taught me to naturally connect dots, be observant and formulate questions. Dad showed me ways to switch on my mind and think. He was relentless about the need to always process, reflect and scratch beneath the mental surface.

I watched a virtuoso strategist solve problems everyday.

Habitually, he bought an assortment of newspapers and had me read the stories for him. He dissected them for and with me afterwards. At the firm, almost every moment was a lesson.

Those years and experiences were my initial training in writing, thinking, strategy and creativity.

My current goal is to sit in more strategy sessions, contribute and learn. Then teach more people about the ideas that I meet, think and write about.

On this blog, I share my ideas — and are building a repository of knowledge — on Writing, Speaking, People, Media, and Strategy. You’ll also find personal essays, notes, reflections, and writing experimentations. It’s my mind, inside out.

Welcome. Ta for stopping by.

My writing

If you are new to this website, below are a few of my pieces to begin with:

Zakithi, 4:44, Jo’burg

Working in a retail store launched my writing

Writing amplifies everything

Notes: Digify Africa panel discussion

Taxi stories: the day I left the front seat

Lessons learnt working at Cerebra

Reach out

You can say Hi, thembaonline@gmail.com, or be a connect on LinkedIn.

Publishing schedule

I publish infrequently. Enter your email below to get notified of new posts.