Young South Africans: Media

A chapter of the Mail & Guardian‘s 200 Young South Africans You Must Take to Lunch

Tsepiso Makwetla
Tsepiso is the face of SABC’s prime time news broadcasts. A journalist, she started her broadcasting career in 1995 at Cani FM. She spent the next five years at Primedia before moving to the SABC in 2001. Tsepiso has been at the public broadcaster ever since and worked in the news department as writer on the English newsdesk, bulletin writer and presenter at SAfm.

In 2003 Tsepiso moved to SABC Africa to co-host its flagship current affairs show 60 Minutes Live. In 2006 she returned to SAfm to co-host the drive-time current affairs show, PM Live, with Jeremy Maggs. They both later moved to the breakfast show AM Live. Tsepiso now hosts the SAfm breakfast show on her own, while also presenting SABC’s Sunday current affairs programme Interface. She is also back at the news desk with the News at Seven.

Lunch spot: Kai Thai, Homebaze

Iman Rappetti
Iman is going places. Currently an anchor and reporter at e News, she took journalistic honours this year when she was bundled from a Union Building’s press conference after asking a particularly cheeky question of President Thabo Mbeki. Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad ordered her out after she asked the president whether he had seen warrants of arrest issued for top cop Jackie Selebi.

“I became a journalist because I thought that was the best way to actually make a difference in this world — I am not a ‘watch from the sidelines’ kind of person.” Iman has worked at the SABC, on Iranian television and for Talk Radio 702. She also writes in her spare time, composes her own music and sings.

Lunch spot: Wang Thai, Sandton

Debora Patta
Debora is the most powerful woman in South African journalism. She is editor-in-chief for both and e News, the cable news channel launched on June 16.

Patta has crafted an identity as a journalist who stands up for the ordinary man and woman with her take-no-enemies interviewing style and investigative reports aired primarily on 3rd Degree, the current affairs programme she anchors.

In addition to being South Africa’s television news doyenne, she has published two books: one on Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard and another on Michaela, the baby kidnapped at birth who captured the nation’s hearts.

Lunch spot: Bellagio, Blu Bird Shopping Centre, Atholl – great Mediterranean food plus a sushi bar. Who could want anything else?

Nkepile Mabuse
Nkepile joined CNN as an Africa correspondent from, where she was most recently executive producer of 3rd Degree, the investigative documentary programme. At CNN, she has quickly won her stripes and expanded her beat beyond South Africa’s borders. At she covered a wide range of domestic and international stories and worked as a researcher, reporter and producer. She is a previous category winner of the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year and received a merit award in the Vodacom Journalist Year of Award for bright young stars.

Lunch spot: Pronto in Craighall Park — the best pasta in town

Nikiwe Bikitsha
Nikiwe is an anchor on CNBC Africa, where her velvet voice and her firm but quiet strength has won plaudits across the continent. Prior to this, Nikiwe was current affairs anchor on the agenda-setting morning current affairs programme, AM Live, which she co-hosted with John Perlman.

She worked as a trainee news reporter at Cape Talk and Talk Radio 702 and describes herself as a political animal who reads constantly. In the next 10 years Nikiwe intends studying further (she is currently reading for an honours at Wits University), especially in the field of African development. She loves spending her spare time with her family (which includes a lively five-year-old son), running, reading, going to movies and the theatre and travelling.

Lunch spot: Allora in Sandton

Katy Katopodis
Katy is a member of the South African National Editors’ Forum and was recently awarded for her excellence in the field of journalism by the Lyceum Club of Women. A journalist who is always in search of a good story, she believes that it is a reporter’s responsibility to report accurately, fairly and credibly. If the sentiment sounds familiar it’s probably because you have heard it at some point on the radio.

Katy has been editor of Talk Radio 702 and Highveld Stereo Eyewitness News for the past seven years. She leads a credible and successful string of journalists and is committed to mentoring young, new reporters. She has never shied away from controversial stories or volatile situations and has found herself in the crossfire on more than one occasion. She has interviewed high-profile personalities and politicians such as Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton.

Lunch spot: Cappello in Illovo has the best Sushi I’ve ever eaten (and that’s not because I’m closely connected to the owners — the sushi is really great) while Tres Gatti in Parkhurst has the best prawn pasta

Ben Said
Ben is one of the more perspicacious television reporters, putting out political and general news reports that are a cut above the rest. He works at and cut his television teeth as a freelance producer at Reuters Television in London, where he developed a hard news edge. He occasionally anchors on, but prefers fieldwork. Ben grew up in Cape Town and moved to London with his family when he was 12. He also worked at Kfm and at UCT’s public affairs division.

Lunch spot: Al’s Grillhouse, Rosebank

Robyn Curnow
After reading for a master’s degree in international relations at Cambridge, Robyn returned home to work as a regional correspondent for CNN. Earlier this year, she presented CNN’s special coverage of the Zimbabwean election. Robyn worked first as a talented young journalist at the SABC before spreading her wings to the global networks. As a freelance correspondent and anchor for CNN, she covered the death of Pope John Paul II, the London bombings and the Asian tsunami.

Lunch spot: Nice bookshop in Parkhurst

Thomas Sipho Mlambo
In 1993 Sipho was the first black student to win the Transvaal Annual High Schools’ Speech contest. Proving that he was brain and brawn, he was also a first-team rugby player and 100m champion.

In 1997 Sipho responded to an advertisement for a television sports presenter and by 1998 had started his career with SuperSport. After two years of the graveyard shift he went on to cover major international sporting events. He has since become the main anchor for all SuperSport’s football properties and hosts several magazine shows. He covered the 2006 World Cup in Germany and, celebrating a rare accomplishment of 10 years as a sports presenter, he was treated to the semifinals and final at the 2008 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana. Sipho can also proudly say that he was part of the contingent that brought home the right to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Lunch spot: The Butcher Shop, Sandton Square

Moipone Malefane
A university graduate in Journalism Studies, Moipone started her career doing in-service training at the South African Press Association. She has since spent her days crafting and honing her skills as a seasoned political journalist.

While in training, Moipone was expected to cover a range of areas and issues and realised the value of reporting on general news. After four years of gaining the necessary experience she discovered her area of interest and joined the Star as a political reporter responsible for covering the Gauteng government. In 2005 she went on to join the Sunday Times politics team.

Moipone has made her mark as a journalist and in 2007 was honoured with the Mondi Shanduka Award in the Analysis and Commentary category.

Lunch spot: Fishmonger, Illovo, Johannesburg

Redi Direko
We loved that Redi Direko did something about women’s abuse this year. Appalled at the incident where Nwabisa Ngcukana was manhandled by taxi drivers for wearing a miniskirt, Redi took up the issue on her daily talk show on 567 Cape Talk and Talk Radio 702 and led a march (in a gorgeous miniskirt) to the Noord Street taxi-rank. She anchors the prime time news programme on e.24 daily and continues her talk show, which is growing in popularity. Redi has worked at the SABC on a range of television programmes.

Redi is also a keen newspaper columnist and works as a voice-over artist and a documentary producer. Last year she co-produced a profile-documentary of President Thabo Mbeki for the Unauthorised series. It was promptly canned and finally broadcasted after months of lobbying and prompting. As if this plateful is not enough, Redi is also a marathon runner.

Lunch spot: Allora, Sandown

Leigh Bennie
She may be best known for her appearance on M-Net’s first season of Big Brother, but Leigh is also the girl with the golden voice on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk weeknights between 7pm and 9pm.

Hailing from a small village nestled in the Usuthu valley in Swaziland, Leigh spent two years studying before starting a career as a traffic controller. However, once she entered the world of reality TV her life changed and she found herself on the doorstep of a dream about to materialise. She landed her dream job with Primedia Broadcasting as a presenter and has never looked back. Leigh continues to surround herself with all things creative and believes that her choices thus far have paved the way for a successful career.

Lunch spot: Dominiques, Cresta, Johannesburg

Kieno Kammies
Straight-talking, funny and slightly controversial, Kieno has racked up 16 years of commercial broadcasting experience. He spent the bulk of his commercial radio career at Primedia Broadcasting, hosting talk shows on 567 CapeTalk and Talk Radio 702. He then went on to pursue a venture in music radio, hosting one of the country’s top commercial breakfast shows. He regularly shares his success story with businesses, detailing his metamorphosis from a youngster on the Cape Flats to a professional at the top of his industry. His story includes details of exclusive interviews with high-profile individuals and how a simple decision to make a good cup of coffee led to his success. His motivational talks also look at the issue of weight loss and its value for work and life. Kieno is currently at Primedia and hosts and MCs anything from black-tie events to government events and golf days.

Lunch spot: Giles, Craighall Park

Desiree Terblanche
There aren’t many women newspaper owners in South Africa, so Desiree is a trailblazer. She is editor-in-chief of Zululand Fever, the community newspaper of Richards Bay and its surrounding region. She holds an equity stake in her successful new title together with Naspers and the Witness Group.

A journalist at heart, Desiree has been published widely and in 2004 was named a new literary voice when she won the Fair Lady/CNA new writer competition. Her passions include training young women in various aspects of her business. In her limited leisure time she reads, collects books and goes to the beach with her pets.

Lunch spot: Charlie Crofts, Richards Bay Waterfront

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