Despite the toxicity that tends to come with Social Media, it is undeniable that it has become a powerful tool. The Naledi Aphane story is proof of that.
Aphane, a sports journalist from Jane Furse in Limpopo, has gone international. All the hours that she’s put in perfecting her craft and her social media presence have set her apart. She has bagged an international deal with NewsX, an award winning, 24-hour English news television channel in India.
Now a sports-caster there that also works on the channel’s podcast, this move came about ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
“I think they found out about me on social media because I post every single achievement of mine, and most of my work is out online. Everything I do, I put it online so that people can see what it is that I do.”NewsX India Sports-Caster, Naledi Aphane
“There’s a lady that works for their HR. She actually sent me a message via LinkedIn. She sent a message saying that they’ve got an incredible offer for me.”
This story indicates that social media is the perfect tool for exposure. That coupled with her hard work has taken a young, black girl from Limpopo who’s extremely passionate about sport and has been putting in the hard yards to India to accomplish her goals.
“I’m loving every single day of my stay in India. Yes, the workload is a lot, but I am learning so much. I’m getting international experience, which is very valuable. And I’m learning so much about myself. I voice a lot of sporting things here. The podcast, sometimes I’m on TV. There’s also a watch along that we do, which I am still leading. For people to see me for who I am, for people to believe in my talent, the way that they do, for people to want my voice to be on every single sport thing that they have has been amazing.”
Lonwabo Nkohla caught up with Aphane as she lives the meaning of her name – Naledi – Star!
Congratulations on your most recent career advancement. For those that don’t follow you, please tell us how your stint in India at the Cricket World Cup came about? How did NewsX find out about the incredible Naledi Aphane in South Africa?
I think they found out about me on social media because I post every single achievement of mine and most of my work is out online. Everything I do, I put it online so that people can see what it is that I do. There’s a lady that works for their HR. She actually sent me a message via LinkedIn. She sent a message saying that they’ve got an incredible offer for me.
I texted her and then we started talking from there. And then when I started doing my research on the people, just because if something is from abroad, you first of all want to verify everything. Is it not a human trafficking syndicate is, is it not a scam? As I was doing my research, I realised that one of the guys, a prominent Sports Journalist, is on their site. I realised that he’s been following me for quite some time. That’s when I realised that this is a real thing. So I think that’s how they found out about me because it seems like they even know more about me than I would have ever anticipated. So that’s how News X came about.
How did you feel as you were boarding the flight and seeing your dreams come true?
As I was sitting there just waiting for time to board the flight, I went to the bathroom and when I got to the bathroom, tears just started rolling down my face uncontrollably. I could not believe that this is my big break on the global stage now because it’s always been a dream of mine to go international. I think I said this even before in an interview that I did with Tlamelo (Kganakga) for gsport in 2021, that was my aim is to be a Global Sportscaster because that’s what I want to do. I want to do sports on a global scale. I don’t want to be boxed only in South Africa. I fought really hard not to cry but the tears really were just having their way, it felt so unreal that my dream was coming true. I have what we call delayed reaction. Two weeks later in India, it hit me that girl, ‘You’re really in India. You are here to cover a World Cup for an Indian Channel.” It was amazing and I felt really great.
What have been some of the interesting things you’ve learnt about India?
They love Cricket. They are very big Cricket Nation. I think in the whole world, they are very welcoming. I remember there was a time I went to the mall and obviously, you’re different everybody sees that you’re different. So everybody just wants to help you find your way around the mall, whatever it is that you need, you know, they even suggest places that you should go and see and try it out, you know, so Indians are very friendly people. They’ve got amazing cultures. They’ve got amazing people. They are very welcoming. I think for me, that’s been very interesting to see. And that’s been a very interesting thing. And also I’m learning the language Hindi. So probably when I come back home, I will be a little bit fluent in Hindi. Let’s see how that one goes.
As you realise your dreams, how has female representation been like that side, in the broadcasting spaces you’ve been exposed to?
Honestly, I work with a lot of men. I feel like there isn’t, well I haven’t met a female Sports Broadcaster. I work with men every single day and the other 2 people that I work with the ladies are from Zimbabwe. So those are the only two ladies I’m exposed to on a day to day basis and they talk sports and they play cricket. I haven’t met a women in sport broadcasting from India. So there is literally no representation of a female in the sports space. Maybe I am yet to meet one, hopefully.
What has this moment taught you about yourself?
It has taught me that I’m capable, I’m good at what I do, and I should continue working hard and just to never drop the ball. I remember the first week when I was given my schedule. The workload was a lot. You work very long hours because Cricket plays the whole day. So that means extra-long hours. When I got that schedule, I remember just crying to Robert Marawa, just telling him that I feel like I’m being pushed into the deep end. And he said to me, the deep end is beautiful. You’ve got this.
I’m loving every single day of my stay in India. Yes, the workload is a lot, but I am learning so much. I’m getting international experience, which is very valuable. And I’m learning so much about myself. I voice a lot of sporting things here. The podcast, sometimes I’m on TV. There’s also a watch along that we do, which I am still leading. For people to see me for who I am, for people to believe in my talent, the way that they do, for people to want my voice to be on every single sport thing that they have has been amazing.
This moment honestly has taught me that I’m good. I just need to believe in myself. It has also taught me that I work really well with people from different parts of the world with different people. Because I also work with people from New Zealand. I also work with people from the UK. And also, people from different walks of life.
You are ticking a massive box in your career with this opportunity, what’s the next goal for you?
What’s the next goal for you? the next goal for me international still. I’m saying the dream has always been very clear – international, international, international! That’s the next thing for me. In simple terms, I just want to work on more international projects with international companies and yeah, let’s see what November has in store for Naledi Aphane and the rest of the entire year, actually for the rest of my career, let’s see what we’ll be getting up to. That’s the next goal for me. We’ll take it one step at a time.
Here at home, what are you ambitions and future plans?
Oh, this is a good question. At home, I think I would still like to challenge myself to doing sports news bulletins on radio. I’ve never done that, I’ve always done sports shows. I think I still want to work with Robert Marawa on a lot of projects. I used to watch him on Thursday Night Live with Marawa and Thato Moeng. I used to pretend to be Thato.
I enjoy working with him so working on a lot more projects with him would be a dream come true for me. That’s what I would love to achieve coming back home. I know that I also want to work for SuperSport and we’ll see how that one comes along.
Girls and young ladies are dreaming of such boss moves, what advice would you give them as they chase their dreams?
Hard work and put yourself out there. If you do something let’s say, especially in our space, everything is online these days. A lot of people, if they want somebody who’s going to work on the campaign, they check people’s profiles. What’s your brand like? What do you post online? And then if they like what you see, you’re most likely going to be selected. So I would really encourage people to work hard, put in the work never be complacent, never have the “I have arrived attitude”.
Put your work out there. Let people know what it is that you do. Like just be loud about it. Whether people think you’re doing too much or whatever, they might think about you. They’ll always have opinions anyway. So put your work out there.