CityLife Arts

Q& A WITH 5FM Presenter Zanele Potelwa

Zanele Potelwa, also known as “Young Boomerang” by The Roger Goode Show, joined the station as a young, eager presenter along with the 5Squad last year. 5Squad were a group of newbies the station gave on-air opportunities to and Zanele shone from day one. Today she reads traffic on The Roger Goode Show (Monday – Friday, 06:00 – 09:00) as well as hosts The Takeover, Sunday 10:00 – 14:00. She recently landed a presenting gig on longstanding SABC 1 lifestyle show Selimathunzi.

CITYLIFE/ARTS: Congratulations on the presenting gig on Selimathunzi. Tell us about your journey on the show?

Zanele

Zanele: Thank you so much. I still can’t believe it’s real – somebody pinch me. It all started with the presenter search that SABC 1 held in 2017 for the show Mzansi Insider. I was the runner-up of the search and 2 years and 2 months later, I got a call asking me if I could stand in on the longest running magazine show in SA, Selimathunzi. I did so and today I am forever grateful to the legendary producers of Selimathunzi and of course SABC 1 for deciding that the stand-in girl over the past few months, could stay and I now get to say I am a presenter and one of the new faces on the biggest television platform in SA. Somebody pinch me again! 

Q: You are passionate about radio and television, when did this love for broadcast start?

Zanele: I originally wanted to be a doctor, but as they say, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans and man did God laugh! I realized in my first year of doing a BSc that the science field wasn’t for me and it just so happens that the hobby I looked for while studying towards my BCom turned into my full time job.

I joined Tuks FM which sparked the interest, but my ultimate selling point of broadcasting was when I joined the 5FM 5-Day Mentorship programme – the awesome management allowed me to hang around a little longer and observe the radio industry as a mentee.

From there, the rest is truly history, because I fell in love with every part of entertainment! I also think watching the likes of legendary Roger Goode (whom I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to work with now), the iconic & beautiful Fix Moeti and all the incredible humans I’m now lucky enough to call colleagues do their thing, in their space, inspired the bright eyed 21 year old me – at the time. 

CITYLIFE/ARTS: You have a great can-do attitude – how do you keep yourself motivated?

Zanele: In 2019, purpose became a very big thing for me. I believe we’re all here to do something, complete a mission of sorts and I try my best to work as hard as I can towards fulfilling that purpose and honouring that feeling of knowing that I have every responsibility to live up to my potential and beyond. My Christian faith, my optimism and my belief in hard work are definitely some other big contributors to it – all of which I can thank my beautiful mom for. 

CITYLIFE/ARTS: You started at 5FM with being part of our annual internship programme and made such a great impression on the team, what advice do you have for youngsters trying to get into the entertainment industry?

Zanele: I would say firstly, take every opportunity with both hands and run with it, especially when it’s something as simple as making coffee, because that’s your audition for the bigger tasks which are coming – be faithful with the small tasks, so that the bigger can fall into your hands. This brings me to my second point, you never ever know who is watching.

My first real job wasn’t at 5FM, but it came from someone who knew the kind of person and worker I was, as a result of us working together a couple of times at 5FM. I don’t believe in ever doing anything for other people, because I believe that what we love deserves our best, always, but from my experience, it is 100% true that you never know who is watching. 

CITYLIFE/ARTS: What’s the best part of working with the 5FM family?

Zanele: Do we have all day? Man! I love so much about being part of the 5FM family. From how much creative freedom you have as a broadcaster, to the absolutely incredible people that I get to work with and also party with because we love good times – when there’s no pandemic of course. It’s not only one of the most legendary stations in SA, but in terms of the 5FM family – every listener in SA and abroad –  it’s home to the people who wake up on the wild side of the bed, the lovers of good times and happiness and it’s home to some of the most insanely hilarious humans. Our listeners make us laugh every day. 5FM is 100% just that – a family and I love it! 

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