1. What inspired you to become a journalist?

I love telling stories. Coming from a village that even to this day does not receive basic service delivery inspired me to focus on human interest stories.

2. What has been your experience as a female broadcast journalist in South Africa?

It’s been tough. I love what I do, but it’s also brought me the most pain. To this day I still feel as though I’m underpaid. I have a specific beat which is to cover human interest stories, stories of vulnerable people, stories of the poor and unfortunately covering the poor means you also get paid poorly. The best recognition is how people receive my work, how they see its purpose and the need for it in South Africa.

3. What has been a career-defining moment for you?

Every time my work has changed a life or lives.

4. You recently went from being a full-time journalist to a freelancer. How has the transition been?

It’s hard, there really are no jobs and companies simply don’t want to pay. For now, I have settled for a job that pays me way less than my full-time job did. I’m still hoping I’ll be able to secure more work. A positive is that I have peace of mind, as full-time employment had taken an emotional toll on me. I was angry, I had anxiety, I felt unappreciated, underpaid and I lost myself. This part of my life is about finding myself again and looking after my mental health.

5. You cover a lot of human-interest stories. What is one story you worked on that had a lasting impact on you?

In 2021, I covered a story of an 8-year-old boy who had never been to school because he did not have a birth certificate. After covering the story, the young boy was placed into a school, and a year later he came third in his class for mathematics. Last week I found out that he was awarded a bursary.

6. How would you describe the media landscape in South Africa?

Newsrooms are not healthy work environments across the board. I think we need to look at that and take it seriously. Journalists are overworked, underpaid and are battling with mental illnesses. We are human and deserve to be treated better.

Sadly South African broadcast media has moved away from storytelling. Everything is live, live, live, leaving room for error. It also does not give the viewer a full experience of a story. Television is about feeling and moving people, and that is achieved through the lens and with words. It’s a visual medium, not an audio medium. There is also this sense of “FOMO” (fear of missing out) that newsrooms have that if they are not broadcasting live at an event, they’re going to lose viewers. we have three broadcast channels that will give you the same thing, fearing to be different. Newsrooms don’t see value in investing in content that will better serve their viewers.

7. What issues do you still want to explore in South Africa?

I still want to do in-depth investigations, documentaries, and just tell more stories of our hardships, enduring hope and our victories.

8. What is the most challenging part of your job?

Emotionally it can take its toll, because there is so much trauma in South Africa and you are first to witness it raw. The other is that people and communities look to you to ensure that they get the help they want. You become more than just a journalist. Communities call you for everything that is happening in their area, particularly when it comes to crime or service delivery. People call you to ask for money, for electricity, for food, and also  call to ask you to explain things to them.

9. What has been the most rewarding part of your job?

The people I have met along the way. The friendships I have made and traveling our country, experiencing different cultures and learning from people.

10. What advice would you give to upcoming journalists in Africa?

Be authentic. Find the one thing that will set you apart from others, and this goes for every story you do. Have fun, laugh, don’t take everything so seriously,  and look after yourself.


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