Radio Star Naledi Aphane Aims for the Global Stage

HopeAlive Online Radio presenter, Naledi Aphane, dreams of following in the footsteps of seasoned broadcaster’s Carol Tshabalala and Julia Stuart, as she hopes to make her mark on the global stage. Photo: Supplied

HopeAlive Online Radio presenter, Naledi Aphane, dreams of following in the footsteps of seasoned broadcaster’s Carol Tshabalala and Julia Stuart, as she hopes to make her mark on the global stage.

In 2020, Aphane completed her Media Studies and at the time, HopeAlive was starting out as a brand-new radio station searching for presenters. 

After auditioning online, she was called in to the station where Sport Commentator, Arnold Rankoko, mentored her as she began hosting her own show – HopeAlive Sports with Naledi Aphane.

Aphane highlights interviewing her heroes in sport as her standout moments on the show and is looking forward to breaking new ground as she continues with her journey in the sport industry. 

Reflecting on what 2021 has been for women’s sports, Aphane says Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies winning a treble, Banyana Banyana clinching the inaugural Aisha Buhari Cup and Sasol and SAFA renewing their partnership tops her list.

Speaking with Tlamelo Kganakga, Aphane reveals where her passion for sport comes from and lessons, she has learned so far in the sport media industry.


Naledi, thank you for chatting to us. Please tell us more about yourself and where you are from?

Thank you so much for reaching out, such an honour, Tlamelo. My name is Naledi Aphane, very reserved but talkative young lady that is so passionate about sports, originally from Limpopo.           


Where does your passion for sport come from?

My passion for sport really comes from my grandfather. I was a very sporty kid, I did athletics at school [primary] and I tried out different sports, softball as well. My grandfather loves sport so much, my love for football really comes from him. He would always watch football when all I wanted as a little girl was just to watch cartoons, but I am so glad he did this because whenever we would see Carol Tshabalala, he would say “that is where you belong”, little did he know that he was planting a seed. 

Whenever he went to his tennis practices and games, he would take us, his grandchildren, with and that is where I fell in love with tennis. I ended up playing tennis in high school. I sort of still play tennis but I’m rusty now. 


You are a Sport Presenter on HopeAlive Online Radio. Please tell us how this journey began?

My journey as a Sport Presenter on HopeAlive just has God’s hand all over it. So, I did media studies – radio – completed in 2020 and after that I really did pray for a job in radio. Before completing though, HopeAlive was starting out, new station with no presenters, they had online auditions and a script. I was too excited and missed the script, did my own script (LOL, I thought that is what we had to do) and I did not make it through. 

I am a Christian, so I pray about everything, after not making it through, I remember writing declarations in my journal, I declared that I was going to be their Sport Presenter and guess what, a few weeks later, I got a call from the station manager saying that Arnold Rankoko is looking to mentor young people for the sport show, and I was the first person that the station manager thought of. 

The following day I had a meeting with Arnold and the station manager, and the rest is history. Then on a Thursday, Arnold then said that this is my show, he is just there to help me out. It has been great, few weeks in, I started doing shows alone because Arnold was very busy. It really felt like I was thrown into the deep end hey, but I am glad it happened because now I run that show and it has been named after me ‘HopeAlive sports with Naledi Aphane’, the progress has really been amazing, and I have grown so much. 


What are some of the lessons you are learning as a woman in sport media?

Some of the lessons I am learning as a woman in sport is that I should not undermine myself just because I am a woman, I am as worthy as my male counterparts. 


What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?

My biggest career highlight has to be working with Arnold Rankoko, interviewing the man I have always looked up to, Robert Marawa, interviewing both my legends Coach Surprise Moriri and Hlompho Kekana after so many attempts of trying to have Hlompho on the show. Well, another one has to be joining SAFJA. Also being recommended by Mazola Molefe (seasoned journalist), it has been a great year career wise.


Who are some of the sportswomen you admire and why?

I really admire a lot of them, Carol is the first lady I saw doing sports on TB, so she has inspired me so much. Lindiwe Dube always avails herself whenever I need some help and would always give me tips here and there, I really admire Thato Moeng, Julia Stuart and Sinethemba Mbatha, all these women are doing great. 

They truly inspire me because their work is impeccable. Thato will give you everything you need to know before the game, Lindiwe as well, even the smallest details that anyone might miss, they will give them to you. Julia is amazing and now venturing into the EPL, I am super inspired. Sinethemba, the multi-talented, is a media officer for Banyana Banyana and a presenter on SABC, I have seen her growth unfold and it has been beautiful.


What is your advice for aspiring women in sport media? 

My advice to the young women in sport is to know why you want to be here and always put in the work. Start where you are and with what you have. Make as many mistakes as possible and learn from them because when the big platforms come, you will not be given any room to make mistakes.


What else do you hope to achieve in your career? 

I really am ready for TV! That is where I am right now and moving to a bigger radio station. 


What is your greatest ambition?

My greatest ambition is to work in the EPL. I do see myself beyond the shores of South Africa.


Looking at women’s sport this year, what has been your highlight?

It has been a great year for women’s sport! Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies winning a treble, just making history by clinching the inaugural CAFWCL, Banyana Banyana winning the Aisha Buhari cup in Nigeria, I am also happy about Sasol and SAFA renewing their women’s football partnership – we are truly headed in the right direction. 


What do you think of gsport and its impact on women’s sport? 

The impact of the gsport has been great. Celebrating women making strides in this industry and empowering them is so beautiful.


What are you looking forward to in 2022?

I am looking forward to women in sport being equally celebrated, winning from all angles and just slaying this industry.


Photo 1 Caption: HopeAlive Online Radio presenter, Naledi Aphane, dreams of following in the footsteps of seasoned broadcaster’s Carol Tshabalala and Julia Stuart, as she hopes to make her mark on the global stage. Photo: Supplied 


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