As part of gsport’s aim to unearth rising women in sport, our #PublicChoice interview this month features Vision View Sports Radio’s Clauiee Grace Mpanza.

Mpanza’s career is taking off like a house on fire as she is rapidly making a credible name for herself in the media space.

Growing up an avid sports lover, Mpanza was encouraged by her father to take part in multiple sporting codes as extra-curricular activities.

In Grade 10, she decided to focus more on her studies and her involvement in playing sports took a back seat. Later, she took a different route to fulfil her passion for the game.

To date, the 2020 Momentum gsport Awards nominee is a presenter, copy-writer and Voice-Over Artist having completed inserts for the GladAfrica Championship and previously for TNL with Robert Marawa and Thato Moeng.

With her growing CV, what keeps Mpanza grounded when the going gets tough? Celine Abrahams finds out!

Thank you for taking time out to chat to us. Please tell us who Clauiee is and your role in the media industry.

Clauiee is, first and foremost before we get to my role, I am a believer. I sincerely believe that everything that happens in our lives is for a greater course. I believe that everything that we go through are jewels that we need to better ourselves, to better the people around us because at the end of the day we are all intertwined in this world. I’m not only living for me but there is a generation, there are people that when I move in a certain way I am carrying them with me. They see that things or dreams are possible because I have been able to do it.

I believe in positive energy, I believe in humanity and I honestly believe that we need to be more kind towards each other because we all face different struggles.

I am also a lover, very friendly and I love sport (chuckles) that is obvious! If I had to sum it all up, I would say that I am a peoples person with boundaries.

Then, my role in the media industry, well I believe in doing everything that you can and because of my age I try to do everything possible! Let me explain before I get into what I actually do.

When you get into production or whatever work that you do, there’s a team that you carry with you, there are people that you work with and I believe that in order for us to work well together I need to understand everyone’s role. I may not be perfect in it but I need to have an idea of what it is that you do so that we can collaborate well.

With that said, I am currently at Vision View Sports Radio where I am a Presenter and I also juggle copy-writing which is what you hear on air is what I write, then we record and mix it – I actually enjoy the process because it’s fun to get to see my work coming to life, it’s really beautiful!

I am also a Voice-Over Artist. I have done a few inserts where we were busy with the GladAfrica Championship over the past two seasons, also a few inserts for TNL with Robert Marawa and Thato (Moeng) back when they still had the show on SuperSport. So yeah, I do almost anything that involves talking (laughs).

Where does your love for sport come from?

“I think my dad genuinely wanted a son but then he got me, ha, ha, ha…So, I spent a lot of time with him. He taught me how to cycle, he encouraged me to play football and do everything.” – Vision View Sports Presenter, Clauiee Grace Mpanza

Growing up, well I am the first born at home and I think my dad genuinely wanted a son but then he got me, ha, ha, ha…So, I spent a lot of time with him. He taught me how to cycle, he encouraged me to play football and do everything. He taught me how to play chess and he loves his sports. A bit questionable about the teams that he supports but I’ve decided not to judge him! So, my family played a big role in what I love today. My mom is also a massive football fanatic.

What was your life like growing up?

It was so beautiful, so peaceful! I mean if I could go back I definitely would. I wouldn’t have to worry about bills or all these other things, right? But, definitely life growing up was very interesting. I remember in my street I was the only girl and I would play with all the boys. We would run, I don’t know why we were running but it was fun!

And, as I mentioned above, my dad put me into every sporting code possible. I played football, I did athletics, I remember doing shot-put, high-jump, long-jump, okay I never played netball – not going to lie to you (giggles) and my mom was so hacked that I didn’t play it because she did back in her day! These were my extra-curricular activities that I enjoyed so much. Unfortunately, when it came to around Grade 10 I decided to focus on my books and then it kind of stopped with the sport.

Fast forward, what is it like being a female in the sporting space now?

“I remember when I started out it was so tough and I shed a few tears in my first year but you learn to grow a thick skin and you learn to push regardless.” – Mpanza on her first years being in the media industry.

I think just like anything and everything in life, it has its pro’s and con’s but once the good outweighs the bad, I think that’s when you know that you are at the right place and doing what you genuinely love. For me it’s amazing I’m not going to lie. Yes, you are going to have to double up the work but I love a challenge. I remember when I started out it was so tough and I shed a few tears in my first year but you learn to grow a thick skin and you learn to push regardless. You learn to take on the good and the bad criticism – shove the bad down the drain! 

What do you love most about being in media and broadcasting? 

I get to do what I love every day! I get to watch sport as a hobby and then do it as work when I report on it. It is fulfilling and I can’t explain the feeling. You get to meet incredible people and not only just the stars that we see but the people that are behind the scenes as well. 

Which women in sport inspire you and why?

Honestly it is different women because I know so many phenomenal women. Some I have had the pleasure of working with, some I have had the opportunity to meet and I take away different things from each of them. Some it could be how they interact with other people, others it is their strength, how they do their research and preparation for a production and some it’s just their essence. It’s really tough for me to single out a lady because I am afraid that I will leave one out and I don’t want to do that.

The why part of your question – well, women are phenomenal, they are amazing and there’s nothing that women cannot do and they are living proof to encourage me to do anything because it is possible. It is incredible to see women fight so many battles but still be so graceful and elegant – it is beyond words to witness! 

You were part of the 2020 Momentum gsport Awards nominees list. How did it feel knowing that there are people out there who are recognizing your work?

Tjo, I shed a tear because I was very shocked. It was really humbling because never in a million years would I have thought that I would be part of the nominees list that was filled with so many great women who are doing absolutely outstanding work in their respective fields. For me, it was mainly humbling, it was a reassurance that I am on the right track and that I will get to where I want to be. I just need to be more gentle with myself and everything will happen at the right time.

What are your views on the gsport initiative?

“I love seeing women come together to celebrate each other, their work and their worth.” – Mpanza on how the gsport initiative encourages women to support each other. 

Oh my goodness, it is absolutely incredible! You know the notion that says that women don’t support and celebrate each other, it is shut down completely by this initiative and that is what I love. I love seeing women come together to celebrate each other, their work and their worth. This initiative is powerful beyond measure and this needs to continue because not only are you putting women that we know out in the spotlight but also those that we don’t know about.

What have been some of your biggest lessons that you have taken away so far in your career?

Woah, Celine, patience! Patience, patience, patience and just looking after your heart while you wait. Sometimes it’s so easy to lose hope while you wait but when you learn to do so everything will turn out okay. A friend of mine once said, “You are as good as your last production.” So for me, what I did five years ago, two years, last year, all of it determines my future. 

Where would you like to see yourself in the next five years?

Tough question! But, I want to continue being in this space, continue growing my craft and help other young ladies by sharing my experience with them.

We are celebrating Heritage Month, what makes you proudly South African? 

Definitely diversity! How diverse we are and how we can come together as one – it makes me so proud! The food that we eat and we get to learn different traits from everyone from different cultures. So, for me it’s just how different but beautiful we are as a nation.