This sports fanatic knows its tough to be a woman broadcaster in a still male-dominated field, but her answer is hard work, and its paying off in more ways than she could have imagined.
At 23, Lebo is co-host of the Sports Indaba on Kaya FM with Kwena Moabelo, and she recently joined SuperSport Update as a freelance journalist and reporter.
She is inspired by South Africa’s soccer legends, and wishes she was around when Ace Ntsoelengoe mesmerized fans with his dazzling displays. Lebo also dreams of commentating on a live match in a major tournament.
If she continues to work as hard as she does, and continues to dream big, South African sport can only benefit.
This inspirational woman epitomises many values that gsport strives to emulate, we’re proud to announce Lebo Thinane – our Woman in Media for November.
How did you get into sports broadcasting?
By accident, really! The original sport presenter moved to Durban and I was asked if I could it give it a shot. I did, and I’ve been doing it since. Before this, I was a news journalist and anchor. I’ve always loved cricket and soccer, though, because of the tomboy in me.
What are your current projects?
I work full time for Kaya FM Sport and I just joined the Supersport Update channel as a freelance journalist and reporter. It’s a big challenge; things are so much more different in television than on radio. For instance, it takes ten people to put together a television sports bulletin, whereas in radio I do everything myself. And television jargon is hectic, but I’ll master it. There’s nothing I cannot do if I apply my mind to it.
What do you love most about radio?
It’s immediate; you can reach so many people all at once.
How do listeners relate to you?
I guess they are only just getting used to a female presenter co-hosting a sports show. Slowly, but surely, we’ll get there.
What has been your fondest career highlight so far?
Interviewing the late Kaizer Chiefs legend Ace Ntsoelengoe and Jomo Cosmos boss, Jomo Sono. I guess listening to the stories that they told and what I heard about how good these players were in their hay days, I wish I was born earlier to have witnessed it myself; how these people literally hypnotized you when they had the ball.
What is the biggest challenge working in a male-dominated field?
Constantly proving to male sports lovers that I was not appointed to this position just because I’m a woman. I am just as capable of doing this as the next person. I guess the other thing is always the criticism; it almost seems like it comes ten fold as compared to my male counterparts. It’s as though they wait for you to make a mistake and, boy, does it become a big deal. But the key is always to learn from your critics and move on.
Who are some of the sports broadcasters you admire?
Thomas Kwanaite, I suppose if it was possible to steal someone’s knowledge of sport, I’d probably do it. Kass Naidoo (I swear she didn’t pay me to say this).
How can we improve the state of women’s sport in South Africa?
Increase reports around it, not only report on Banyana Banyana, because they’ve qualified for some championship in Nigeria. Media is a powerful tool and can change how society thinks and feels about women in sport. And hell, celebrate women in sport. I think they still don’t get the recognition they deserve.
What would be your ideal job?
Commentating a live match at the major tournament, like the World Cup…
Favourite sports stars:
I adore Oscar Pistorius, Italy’s Alessandro Del Piero, Belgium’s Justine Henin-Hardenne, Annika Sorenstam.
I have to say Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein.
I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn’t looking good either.
gsport’s theme for November is INSPIRATION. What inspires you?
Waking up every morning, knowing that a new challenge lies ahead. That I have another opportunity to educate and inform someone about what’s going on in the world of Sport. I’m also inspired by people who make a difference; selfless individuals.
Who are your role models?
I’d have to say SuperSport’s Thomas Kwenaite; I want his wealth of knowledge and his experiences. I want to be like him in, like, ten years time; have a massive knowledge of sports of every kind.
My mother is also another great role model, she’s come through so much to raise us all by herself. I admire her strength to keep it all together even when things weren’t going right. She makes me want to a mother.
Advice for aspiring women sports broadcasters?
Read, read, read anything sports related, (I can’t stress this enough) listen to other people’s opinions. Ask questions when you don’t know.
Watch sports programs, matches – attend them if you can. But above all else you really love sport. Prepare to work your butt off!
Go to our October Woman in Media – Keletso Totlhanyo
Go to our September Woman in Media – Karien Jonckheere
Go to our August Woman in Media – Kass Naidoo
Go to November’s Leading Ladies
Go to November’s Feature Articles
Go to the gsport Newsroom