Seasoned sports broadcaster, Cindy Poluta, is thriving, despite the #21DayLockdown in South Africa, and it is not just sport that is occupying her time.
A week before South Africans were forced indoors, Poluta launched a business called Tree Sweets, which delivers fruit and vegetable to certain parts of Johannesburg. During lockdown, it has kept her “super busy”.
Her employers, Talk Radio 702, have accommodated her working from home so she continues to contribute to the station’s content, including a podcast interviewing various professionals, about staying motivated during the lockdown.
This seasoned sports broadcaster is a former gsport Woman in Radio award winner, having walked away with the title in 2015.
She spoke to Celine Abrahams about life in lockdown, her journey in sport and her thoughts on how women in sport have progressed.
Cindy, thank you for taking time out for gsport. Firstly, how are you dealing with lockdown and having to adjust to a new system of being behind closed doors?
Thanks so much for featuring me on gsport – it’s been a while since I’ve chatted to you guys. Technically I’m not behind closed doors as much as many other people. Radio is an essential service, and so I am lucky that my employees have allowed me to work from home during this time.
I have also started a small business – which launched the week before lockdown happened and is part of essential services to (Tree Sweets delivers fruit and veg to your home in certain parts of Johannesburg) – so that has kept me super busy.
What is it like having to juggle work and family 24/7?
Now that my children are older they rely on me less – which is great because they also understand that I’m on the radio (even though at home) and they know only to come to me if its an emergency between 6 – 9 am.
How are you keeping yourself motivated?
I’m busy with a podcast series called #LockedAndDown with Talk Radio 702 and SADAG – daily I chat to psychologists and various professionals on emotions, feelings, fears and how to stay motivated during lockdown – so that has helped me cope as well and kept me busy too
How has this period impacted on your work considering that sporting events have been cancelled?
Sport is always changing and is always unique – it’s not always there. People don’t realise that often during Christmas time we struggle for content to put on air, but most people are on holiday at that time and don’t realise. As a broadcaster it’s about trying to find angles and stories to include every day. Also at EWN Sport we have an amazing team of reporters who have really been super creative in the way they have compiled other content during this period. Not having live sport on tv on the weekends has really made me sad though. I miss it a lot.
Do you have any concerns of the financial implications that could result from the COVID-19 pandemic on publications?
I have general financial concerns on what COVID will do to society as a whole not just the media industry. I know many friends who can’t work during this time, which means loss of income – and those who are working (including teachers) have been told to brace themselves for pay cuts.
What would a typical day in the life of Cindy Poluta look like today?
Alarm goes at 3:45am. Radio show from 5:30am- 9am, half an hour after the show content meeting (via zoom), record podcasts which should take me to around 11am. Make my children lunch – load my car with deliveries for my business (Tree Sweets), deliver to houses. Come back home start prepping supper, clean the house, domestic work etc. Load the car with 2nd round of deliveries, go to houses. Come home finish making supper, wash the dishes, clean the kitchen, make sure the children are ready for bed. Shower. Get everyone into bed – try watch some tv, fall asleep around 10pm
In your career, what would you consider as your biggest highlight?
All of it – the whole thing, I would be amiss if I said there was one particular moment for me. I’ve been in broadcasting for over 20 years and every day has been amazing.
What are you still aiming to achieve in the future?
To learn how to meditate effectively and get into the habit of doing it. To build my physical and mental strength.
What are your thoughts on women’s sport in the country and its development over the years?
I think 2019 was a phenomenal year for womens sport in SA – with Banyana, Proteas women cricket, Spar Proteas netball etc – I think people are finally giving womens sport the recognition it rightfully deserves
Do you think media houses are doing enough to promote women’s sport?
Yes, I do think media houses have improved their coverage of womens sport in the last few years – although some could do better. There has been a major shift in South Africa and I think we’re ahead of international media houses in this regard
What are your thoughts on gsport’s vision of leading the way to give women in sport a platform to share their untold stories and to celebrate their successes?
I think gsport plays a vital role in increasing the exposure to womens sport and coverage of it. gsport has been a great voice for women in sport, and their work is superb.
What has been the biggest lesson that you have learned over the years that you would share to young girls who are looking to break into the industry?
Don’t give up. Know your stuff – know ALL sport, not just one particular sport. Stay tough. Don’t go into the industry because you want to be famous. Go into the industry because you have a passion for sport. It takes 20 years to build a career – nothing happens overnight
Reach for the stars but keep your feet on the ground.
Photo 1 Caption: Seasoned sports broadcaster, Cindy Poluta, is thriving, despite the #21DayLockdown in South Africa, and it is not just sport that is occupying her time. Photo: Cindy Poluta (Instagram)
Photo 2 Caption: A week before South Africans were forced indoors, Poluta launched a business called Tree Sweets, which delivers fruit and vegetable to certain parts of Johannesburg. During lockdown, it has kept her “super busy”. Photo: Cindy Poluta (Instagram)