Editor’s Note: Goaner’s story is one of fearless opportunity-seeking and fundamental self-respect. Despite poor socioeconomic conditions and with little time to spare for personal endeavors, Goaner managed to make his mark on an international level. Now he wants to give back to the country that helped him succeed- but he won’t be answering to anyone but himself.
My name is Goaner Timothy Tutlam, and I am a 3rd year Bachelors of Laws LLB and Art student at the University of Canberra. I am an Ethiopian migrant who arrived in Australia in year 2000 as part of the Ethiopian Olympic team. After spending some years as an asylum seeker, I became a citizen of this great nation in 2007. I have no formal qualification, so I resorted to cash in fruit picking and cash-in-hand security jobs in the off season. I am also a father of two school-aged children who live in Melbourne with their mother.
I enrolled at the University of Canberra in 2009. This was supposed to be my final year of study, but I was compelled to take two and half years off from my studies as a result of both socioeconomic issues and the unfortunate natural disaster that happened when I visited Ethiopia in June 2011.
I started as a DJ in various night clubs and toured Australia many times, but it was not sustainable because I was working for somebody else who wouldn’t allow me to work at the time of my choosing. This affected my schoolwork badly, and that’s why I stopped Djing.
I am also a founder of Miss South Sudan Australia, which organises beauty pageants for young South Sudanese Australians. This organisation has produced three world-class supermodels, and one of the girls we discovered was once ranked 27th in the world. This organisation attracts about 2,000 young people annually in Melbourne.
ABC TV and film Victoria produced a documentary about my organisation and what Miss South Sudan Australia means for the South Sudanese community living in Australia. So far, this documentary was broadcast about 8 times on ABC 1 and ABC 2 with an estimated audience of four million viewers. It was also broadcast internationally on Al Jazeera TV Channel and in South Sudan on national TV (SSTV).
In 2012, the Miss South Sudan Australian Beauty Pageant was also documented by Al Jazeera, and in 2013 it was broadcast. It has been running for 8 years and is now fully self-funded.
Besides this, I am also a promoter and a certified 420 entertainment visa sponsor. I have been organising tours for international artist in Australia for one year now. So far I have sponsored 18 international artists to come and perform in Australia from as far away as Jamaica, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and North America. Just last year I went on a four-month US and Canada tour with four African artists.
As this sponsorship helped me understand migration law, and as a matter of interest, I am thinking of getting a full accreditation in the winter so I can open a migration agency. As of now, my business interests are music promotion and migration.
I have promoted 18 international artist in Australia, 4 in Canada and 2 in US. I am a part-time migration agent working from my home, helping with visa applications. So far I have processed 23 Australian visas, 5 Canadian visas and two US visas. I am still the co-founder of the Miss South Sudan Australia organisation.
My greatest motivation is not to waste my talent for somebody else’s business and eventually run my own.