Broadcast Journalism Student Amukelani Banda on Grabbing Opportunity

Being a commentator is not an easy art. If people think public speaking is daunting, try narrating, describing and dissecting action, in any sporting code, to a listener or a viewer, in a way that will paint a clear picture of the game as it unfolds. With this said, anyone who is bold enough to take up this art should be hailed as brave. 

Thanks to the Supersport Schools initiative, we’ve been introduced to rising star in sport media, Amukelani Banda. Amukelani is a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism student at Boston Media House. She recently made her debut in the commentary box at the SuperSport Schools netball tournament at Hoërskool Menlopark and that has sparked an interest in this complex but magical art. 

“I got the SuperSport Schools opportunity on LinkedIn through one of my connections Thando Mjiyako who’s a sports commentator at SuperSport Schools. I did not intend on going into commentary, I wanted to go into presenting, however God had other plans for me.”

What started as an active student who participated in most sporting codes at schools has now culminated into a young broadcaster that’s ready to take on the world of sport. 

“My love for sport began back in primary school. I was an active child, I participated in every sport that was offered at my primary school and I excelled in every sport.”

Another star that has cemented her name at SABC Sport, Soweto TV and Supersport, a gsport Women in Radio winner at the Momentum gsport Awards stage, Itumeleng Banda, has inspired Amukelani. Through Itu, Amukelani has realised that anything and everything is possible for a young black girl who aims to set ablaze TV/Radio presenting in sport.  

“I would say Itumeleng Banda influenced me into the sport media industry. I saw myself in her and I knew that’s the niche I wanted to go into in media.”

SuperSport Schools netball tournament commentator, Amukelani Banda 

SuperSport Schools exists to grow school sports and young athletes. The beauty of it though is that the next generation of media practitioners are also beneficiaries of this platform. From Pitch side presenters, commentators and analysts – SS Schools is playing an integral role in grooming the next generation of broadcasters. 

Amu, as she is affectionately known, corroborates this: ”SuperSport Schools has made a great impact for students because they can use SuperSport Schools to their advantage by showing off their potential and talent to the world and not just their fellow peers and parents.”

“SuperSport Schools also provides students the opportunity to shine as aspiring athletes and future stars of tomorrow. It has given the broadcasting team who are people looking to breakthrough in the media industry a great platform to show off their skills and expertise in their disciplines. SuperSport Schools opens doors to other opportunities in the industry.” 

Sports Commentary has now been a staple of the sporting world for over a century. Its history can be traced back to the late 19th century, with the emergence of radio broadcasting. Who knew that years later, this art of story-telling will be a hub of talent and maker of legends.

Banda says she doesn’t want to limit herself to netball commentary: 

“I want to specialise in all kinds of sports, I don’t want to put myself in a box. I’m keen to cover football, swimming, athletics, cricket and rugby.”

The hashtag #OpenUpTheIndustry often trends in South Africa, as many call for the industry gate keepers to give a chance to young blood, to stop using the “tried and tested” for each and every opportunity. 

Through initiatives such as Supersport Schools and the Diski Challenge, we’ve seen a rise in young talent and that should close the gap and allow more people to get the opportunity to chase the broadcasting dream.

“I think it’s a great idea because there are a lot of talented individuals who are trying to break into the media industry.”

As Amukelani takes strides in a new but exciting adventure, a journey where she can turn her dreams into a reality, she one day hopes to work for one of the giant sport media houses.  

“The big dream for me would be working for Africa’s biggest sports broadcasting companies such as SuperSport, BBC Africa as well as international media houses such as ESPN, BBC Sports, Sky Sports and NBC Sports.”

“My advice to young ladies, hoping to hit the big time in broadcasting would be to build connections in the industry and to work hard for what you want. Remember that hard work pays and we all need to start somewhere to get to the top.”

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