Tieho Matsuma: “I’ve Always Been Curious About the World of Sport”

With more than three years journalistic experience working in the media industry, Tieho Matsuma has become a force to be reckoned with.

Since graduating from the University of Free State with a Communications Degree, Matsuma began her career shadowing at The Star newspaper, which later saw her earn an internship with the print newspaper.

Having started her journey with sports in Primary School, the sports enthusiast has now been part of numerous high-profile campaigns as a sports influencer and content creator.

Speaking with Oarabile Diphoko, Matsuma chats about her journey in the industry so far and making her mark as a multimedia journalist.


Welcome to gsport, Lungile! Please tell us more about who you are and where you hail from.

Oh wow… where to begin, firstly, Lungile is my second name. My name is Tieho, ke Mosotho, born and bred in QwaQwa, Free State before my family  moved us to Bloemfontein – where I did majority of my education from mid-primary to higher education. I come from a loving and supportive family where both parents are still present. I’m 29 years old. I studied BA Communications Science specialising in Media Studies and Journalism, and I’m currently pursuing a BA (Hons) in International Politics through UNISA.


Where does your love for sport come from?

Since I was a little girl I’ve always been curious about the world of sport which, first stems from my involvement in my sporting activities at school – I’ve played many sporting codes from gymnastics, netball, tennis, hockey, athletics, university res soccer, etc.

When I was little, my classmates used to call me “springbok” at how I would effortlessly do things like obstacle courses where skipping over things was done with ease. Secondly, my dad and I watching football games together and because I’m also a daddy’s girl, going to stadiums with my dad was always my favourite thing to do. All of this, and more is the root of where my love for sport comes from. I come from a family that’s always loved football, my late uncle owned a football team – African Warriors based in the Free State. And since his tenure, my favourite time was always being at their games and supporting the team with the family. Sport has always been a part of my life.


Amongst other things, we know you are Sport Content Creator. Can you tell us about some of the projects you have worked on?

In the sports content creation, I’ve had the privilege of working with brands like Mr D, Heineken and Castle on promo campaign influencer gigs, as well as lifestyle stories I’ve written using my role as a journalist.


As a multimedia journalist, including being a news reporter and radio producer, how do you find the balance between all these roles?

As multimedia journalist, I do a lot of functions within the journalism industry. I write news stories for print, broadcast, or any other communications media. I started my journey in journalism as a news reporter for one of the leading newspapers nationally, to moving to community media and back to a bigger regional platform as a radio producer.

I think finding a balance in these different roles is all about focussing on one role at the time. I never try to be a hero by accomplishing everything at once. My journey has been unique in this way because I’ve always stepped in a role after another, but also setting boundaries and letting work be work, and not letting that infiltrate home time.


Doing sport radio at Lesedi FM has come to an end. What are some of the lessons you have learnt during your time in that position?

Yes, my journey in radio came to end after a year’s spell, and the position I occupied in that year was that of a Sports Producer – I’m eternally grateful for the faith and belief entrusted towards me to help the station in their long-term goals of continuity and to have done that in my beautiful Sesotho language was one of the most fulfilling experiences.

It forced me to go back to my roots, as someone who grew up speaking English at home and school, to tap into my mother tongue language was great. I learned a lot about myself as a person, how well I work under pressure and how I handle conflict situations. But most of all, I think this was a journey where I grew a lot emotionally. I am still learning to take criticism with a grain of salt because one thing I have learnt is you’re never going to make everyone happy, and not everyone will like you. I just need to keep moving forward.


From your experience in the media space, why do you think it’s harder for women athletes to get sponsorship deals?

I think it all boils down to lack of support for women’s sport and/or athletes in general, and people in positions to give that support financially going for the more profitable – which would be men sports and/or athletes.


Looking at the state of women’s sports in South Africa, how can media continue to close the visibility gap?

I think media’s role to close that gap is to constantly cover women’s sport and/or athletes, and we also need to see more women analysts analysing men’s football and that being okay for them to do, without being met with condescending comments.


Which women in sport do you look up to and why?

I have always looked up to Carol Tshabalala, Melissa Reddy, Jessica Motaung, just to name a few. All different, yet making a huge impact in the sport industry.


What advice can you give to young girls who are trying to break into the sport industry?

As someone who runs to God first for encouragement, I think it’s only fair that I say keep God first and everything else thereafter, and you’ll see how blessed your life will be. Everything I have is all to the glory of God. Secondly, seek the support of your loved ones in all that you do. And, never forget the people who have always been there.


Lastly, what can we look out for from Tieho Matsuma?

I am looking forward to going back to journalism: writing and publishing stories as a sport journalist/reporter. I still want to produce content for radio/tv, so I am looking forward to seeing what other opportunities are out there. The sky is limitless, I can achieve anything I set my mind to. The world is my oyster.


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