Jana Swart: ’Don’t Be Afraid to Express Yourself’

It was a moment during the 2010 Soccer World Cup that Jana Swart realised she wanted to have a career in sport and this happened as a young girl. She has since made her way up the ranks and now occupies the post of Premier Soccer League (PSL) Media Officer for Stellenbosch FC. Swart revealed that she didn’t also envision herself in the media sphere but is glad where her path has taken her. All Photos: Supplied

The iconic 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa inspired a young girl to pursue a career in sport. In 2024, she is the Media Officer for Stellenbosch FC. Meet Jana Swart who didn’t always see herself in the media space but she is glad where the path has taken her.

Swart graduated with a BSC in Sports Science, she then did a degree in High-Performance Sport. It was during her university career that she was required to do community service as per her studies and that’s when she went to Stellenbosch FC. She was part of the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) program where she managed football initiatives in the community. 

Swart slowly but surely started doing social media and pictures for the junior team, she moved to the Diski side and finally onto the senior side, where she is now.

“I didn’t always see myself being in media, but I was clear that I wanted to be sports working with people. Working with people is my passion, helping them to develop their love for the sport and expressing their passions through sport. I guess my love for sports media came in when I started seeing how impactful sports media can be. How much it means in the holistic development of an athlete and how I can play a part in this.”

Stellenbosch FC Media Officer, Jana Swart

Alongside her media career, the 27-year-old has another passion and feels this has aided her in being better at her daytime job.

“I also do a bit of modelling so I also knew I had this part in me that that loves media and that loves the camera, that knows the effect of it. I also have the potential to bring this into the sport, and help people to be part of this,” she said.

Speaking about the memorable World Cup in Mzansi was 14 years ago, Swart revealed how Siphiwe Tshabalala was the catalyst for her career in sport. She said it was just so inspiring what he did in the soccer showpiece at that moment and the impact it had on our country, this revealed the power of sport to her. Like many, not just in South Africa but also across the world, she also credited former president Nelson Mandela who said that sport has the power to change the world.

Swart, however, has pinpointed two successful women who inspire her to bigger and better things, and given their ascendancy in their respective careers, it’s not hard to see what she is encouraged by Banyana Banyana to star Linda Motlhalo and SuperSport presenter Motshidisi Mohono.

“I am following Linda Motlhalo and her career, I think that she is incredibly brave and she is a trailblazer in her career, and always composed in what she is doing. I have been watching her career with great enthusiasm.

“Someone else who inspires me is Motshidisi Mohono on SuperSport, one of the first female presenters in a male sport. When I was growing up, I watched her and admired her integrity and how she was so sophisticated on TV and always knew what she was doing. Eventually, I would love to walk in her footsteps.”

It’s no secret that Swart works in a male-dominated industry but feels this is something that one should not be intimidated by. Her profession has taught her that you have to embrace every moment and don’t be afraid of what the future holds.

“Don’t be scared to think about what is next or where will you be, especially in the sports industry it can be scary because you never know what the future holds. God always has a plan of making it work the way that he wants to make it work for you. 

“If you look at me,” says Swart, “I started studying sports science and then I eventually started working in media. I believe this was the path set out for me and it is a bit scary because I don’t know what the future holds but I am excited for this. Never be scared to just embrace every moment.”

The media officer who resides in the northern suburbs of Cape Town also has a front-row seat as to how the industry has grown for women over the years. Swart says the advancements that have been made are clear to see and this bodes well for females in the world of sport.

“The sports media world has grown a lot, there are a lot more women stepping into the industry, especially when it comes to male sports. It’s also incredible to see how the female sports industry is growing, which in my opinion should have happened a long time ago.”

“The growth has been immense and it’s great to see teams like Banyana Banyana doing well, our Proteas netball team is also growing. I can mention many teams but what this shows is it will allow more women to join the industry. It’s also becoming more competitive for women in the environment, which is amazing because that allows for more growth.”

When it comes to what she feels makes a successful media officer is someone who sees the athlete for the person that they are. Remembering that they are more than just the person on the field that we see every week on our television screens or while attending sports events.

“To be a good media officer it’s important to always treat the athletes as human beings first before you treat them as sports people. This is the one part of them that doesn’t get focused on too much, they always need to perform and they always need to do their best. That human element cannot be forgotten, in my opinion, to be a good media officer it’s always respect the athlete and let them be themselves.”

Swart has found that although she finds herself in an industry that is seen as a high-pressure one she is doing all she can to remain true to herself.

“Don’t be afraid to express yourself in this environment, it can be daunting. Looking at myself, Afrikaans is my first language and I’m not that good with English but that doesn’t matter because I can still express myself in my language. No one is going to judge me for that. 

“I would say just be yourself and don’t be afraid to be you, in the media industry in the way that you speak and present yourself. Essentially that is what people want to see, when they see you on TV or at the stadium they always see an athlete and see you doing your best. However, people also want to see the soft human element.”

She also had some very inspiring advice to the women in the world of sport for the year ahead. The media officer is clear on how she can motivate the various sportswomen and women in sport in what is set to be another big year for the ladies involved.

“Embrace your strengths, focus on them, and develop them, and grow in this part of your life. You also have to accept that the road is not easy and it will take a lot of hard work along the way and a lot of prayers. Lastly, if there is an opportunity always take it, don’t be scared!”


Photo Caption: It was a moment during the 2010 Soccer World Cup that Jana Swart realised she wanted to have a career in sport and this happened as a young girl. She has since made her way up the ranks and now occupies the post of Premier Soccer League (PSL) Media Officer for Stellenbosch FC. Swart revealed that she didn’t also envision herself in the media sphere but is glad where her path has taken her. All Photos: Supplied

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