Portia Moemedi: “You Constantly Have To Prove Yourself”

SuperSport is one media house that has led the game in unearthing young and tremendously talented broadcasters. From Momentum gsport Awards Woman in Radio winner Cato Louw, to the likes of Lerato Phago and now Portia Moemedi. A model, business woman and Rugby anchor.

Her headmaster once said: “If you are looking for Portia Moemedi; she will be on a court or a field or chasing a ball somewhere.” Little did he know that (borrowing from Gen Z language), she was “manifesting”, beginning the story of what will be one of the finest Rugby anchors in the country.

Moemedi is also proof that there’s progress in opening spaces for female talent even in sporting codes highly dominated by men, like the unabashedly macho Rugby. Although one may correctly argue that it has taken a little too long, her journey, thanks to the many women that have paved the way for the next generation of broadcasters, has not been as tough as we know it can be.

The goal and dream for Moemedi goes beyond Rugby, her love for sport in general is so immense that given the opportunity, she’d be sitting behind the big table covering a Netball or Tennis match. She tells Lonwabo Nkohla all about it…

 

Many may have known you as a Model & TV presenter; the two talents have merged, culminating in you joining SuperSport as anchor on Uncontested. Firstly congratulations and how did that come about?
My social media is genuinely mostly just sport related. I think everyone that follows me knows that 70% of my tweets will be Sport. I got a call from SS asking if I would be keen to join the team on the Uncontested table and of course I said yes. Meaning I’ll stop being a thumb warrior for sport and actually engage with it on a bigger platform with like-minded people.

Growing up, how big a feature was sport at home and/or school?
I started gymnastics at the age of 5, netball at the age of 7 and the rest came as I got older. My headmaster use to say “If you are looking for Portia Moemedi; she will be on a court or a field or chasing a ball somewhere.” That’s the absolute truth. I ended up studying sport science, that’s how much I loved sport growing up.


You played netball at school, and I’m sure you’ll agree that your new position and having played a sport at school level are all ultimately connected. Describe how that shaped who you are today?
Like many, I was fortunate to have been introduced to sport at an early age, and I remain thankful for the lessons learned and the many ways these experiences prepared me for life.
Integrity: It was in sport that I learned that not everyone shares the same values or principles, and that for some winning was everything. I was taught at an early age the difference between playing ‘hard’ and playing ‘dirty’, and the importance of always playing ‘my game’. It was also through sport that I began to see the parallels between how players conducted themselves on and off the field. Consistency is key, but integrity IS everything.
Accountability: When I participated in, or competed in any sport I did so with the support of others – such as my parents, coaches, and team mates – and it was through their support that I initially learned the importance of being accountable. However, it was only through the process of learning how to surf; it was through training for my first competition that I truly understood the importance of being accountable to myself. There are many times when we need to invest 100% of our effort and energy despite anybody watching.
Tenacity: The ability to fail and learn from a setback and move forward is a vital life skill. Learning that failure is not the end, but part of the learning experience has far-reaching implications, affecting one’s self-esteem, resilience and mental agility. These skills are vital for success as we grow into adults so as to survive and thrive from life’s setbacks and challenges.


Women in sport broadcasting are held at a standard much higher than their male counterparts: over analysed and criticised – how much more worse has it been for you covering a code like rugby?
To be honest, in my time it is not as bad as it was for the women before me. I think I came into the scene at a time when women before me had paved and continue to pave the path. HOWEVER, there is still that thing of people not taking you seriously JUST because you are a woman. You can have an opinion about something in the sport but because you are a woman it won’t be taken as seriously, your male counterpart will say the same thing and the reaction will be different. It hurts a little but you find yourself getting used to it – which is sad to be honest. The feeling of having to constantly prove yourself also gets tiring but sometimes you have to shake it off and remind yourself that you earned that seat at the table.


From a woman’s point of view, what’s the biggest misconception about rugby?
“Rugby is not watched or played by feminine women, only ‘butch’, masculine, beer-swilling, men-hating women” LOL! There are many female broadcasters and players in the sport that are feminine who wear and love heels, make up and all the other things that make us women.

Tell us more about your baby: Empyrean Communications.
I never knew I was a business woman at heart until I started this, now I can’t stop. Created for the inspired, the naturally rebellious and the deeply expressive, this business was founded on the belief that voices, ideas and dreams deserve to be seen, heard and most importantly, felt. Empyrean is dedicated to creating spaces within both our local and international markets for our clients to share their stories. With exclusive access to an array of media outlets and renowned platforms, those who lean on our knowledge are able to view the marketing industry like never before! More so, our aim is to open up these spaces for small to medium businesses that may struggle to infiltrate the markets. Flexing our creative muscles is what we do best. From our highly optimised content that beats existing algorithms to our unpretentious approach to content creation, we’re here to play, create and disrupt. Our tight knit team of creators are all driven by their belief in conversational marketing, genuine conversations and connection-driven interactions.


With your overall experience in media and communication, what do you think athletes can do to make their brands more attractive to sponsors?

Be as AUTHENTIC as possible! Choose brands that will fit your lifestyle and life without you having to do too much to “sell it”. Brands love people who are authentic to themselves, don’t change yourself and your brand to fit into ONE brand.


Kindly share some pearls of wisdom for a young lady who is interested in sports broadcasting?

You will get a lot of NOs on the way, but do not let that discourage you. Keep knocking on those doors and don’t say no to opportunities; even if you start with a sport that is not your first love – work yourself up. A wise woman in sport once told me that your authenticity is your x-factor; I live by this. In every aspect of my life. Don’t conform for anyone or anything.


Lastly, as more doors open for women in sports broadcasting, what is the big goal for Portia?

The goal is to not just be known for rugby broadcasting. I have a deep love for netball and I still play to this day; I would really like to tap into netball broadcasting. There are not enough opportunities in South Africa for tennis coverage, but if there was, I would certainly dive into that. I genuinely do not want to limit myself to one sport, especially having the love and knowledge I have for the multitudes of sport out there.

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