Zukiswa Tshaka Believes a Women’s Sport Channel is Long Overdue in South Africa

Zukiswa Tshaka, a young writer, was inspired by the need to expose the neglected talent in a small village called kwaQili, in rural Matatiele to join the media industry and tell these untold stories.

“I always wanted to be the voice of those that cannot be heard. I wanted people to know about rural Sport, grassroots level sports,” says Zukiswa.

The youth in South Africa faces innumerable challenges, but women face even more, for example; while most male journalists can attend a night game without thinking twice, a woman will have to make a few calculations, a lot of considerations and possibly end up not attending that game because it’s safer to stay at home. Tshaka lists that as some of the challenges and hindrances as she hopes to grow her name and brand within the sport media space.

Despite the challenges the Matatiele native is inspired to one day own her own agency that represents players from the rural areas. “One of my major dreams in the pipelines is owning a Player Management company. I would love to have my own company that represents players from rural areas.” Fortunately, she is already well underway with that dream as she’s had a few names show keen interest in being under her “stable”.

Lonwabo Nkohla sat down with Zukiswa Tshaka:

Tell us about your love for sport? When did it all begin?

It all began in rural Matatiele when I saw young people who were talented not getting recognition, no one knew about them. I wanted to change that, let people have the access to that talent we have in rural remote areas. It all began in a small village called kwaQili.

Take us through your journey as a journalist, where did it all start?

I started my journey in media when I chose Sport Management as a qualification I wanted to pursue. Media came as a second love to Sport and I discovered that in Sport there was media. I always wanted to be the voice of those that cannot be heard. I wanted people to know about rural Sport, grassroots level sports. My love for media grew more when I joined a media company in 2014 after I had graduated. And from there the rest is history.

What have been some of the challenges you have encountered on your journey? 

There are so many challenges in this industry being as it changes every now and again. This year you are journalist next year you are unemployed. One of the major challenges I had faced was since I’m a freelance journalist it’s hard to score interviews if you are not working for a well-known publication so I had to discover myself first so people can associate with my brand. As a female journalist also it’s hard to attend late night games to report on as I feel sometimes it is not safe with the high level of gender based violence it is not easy unless you have your own transport.

As a writer and a story teller that has covered a lot of sport, where would you say we are as a country in giving women’s sport coverage?

Women’s sport is one Sport that is close to my heart this year alone I have covered the T20 Women’s World  Cup that was held in South Africa. I feel corporate world , sponsors, broadcasters are coming to the party in terms of everyone getting to watch or know of women’s sport.  I’m certain if not half of the country knows of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup and Netball World Cup that will be staged in Cape Town. I cannot say we are there yet but we are gradually getting there.

Where can we as the media improve?

Every publication should have the women’s sport section I think we can get far.  People want to know what’s going on with certain athletes, the likes of Caster Semenya, people want to know if the Springboks Women are playing or not. Inform as much as possible. I also think it’s about time we have a women’s Sport Channel. A channel dedicated to women’s sport. We have the national women’s soccer league in the country it needs more coverage, we are subjected into watching two games only in a week, we need more.

With so many incredible women in sport that come before your time, who inspires you?

I admire Cynthia Tshaka, Carol Tshabalala and I adore the work done by Thato Moeng, they all inspire me and all bring something different and they should be given their flowers while they are still alive.

Are there any highlights and most memorable moments in your career?

The past year and early this year I was called by SABC News Channel for analysis on women’s sport and Umhlobo Wenene and some of the SABC radio stations followed suit so far those are the highlights of my journey in Sport.

Take us to five years from now – where do you hope to see yourself.

One of my major dreams in the pipelines is owning a Player Management company. I would love to have my own company that represents players from rural areas. I already have players that are playing in amateur ranks. I want unknown players to be known – it can be boys or girls.

If you had the powers to grant women in sport their wishes, what would it be?

I would love to witness a show produced and researched by a woman, anchored by a woman and analysed by a woman and the touch line reporter being a woman. We deserved more.

I love what they doing in Netball the President is a woman and I would love that to happen in soccer it’s about time, women deserves higher positions in sport.

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