Most nights of the week, from 7 to 9, Naledi Moleo’s mellifluous voice speaks to and through the stormy times of contemporary South Africa as the host of SAFM’s evening programme, The Talk Shop.
Naledi is a champion and friend of Fetola, sharing the good news of small business owners who are making work, work! Our media officer, Liesl Jobson, turns the tables and interviews the interviewer for a change.
- What are your earliest childhood memories of listening to the radio?
I used to fall asleep to Eddie Zondi’s voice on Metro when I was really young. This was back in the 90s. I found his voice so soothing.
- Tell us about the media personality who most inspired you as a teenager?
I later fell in love with Siki Mgabadeli, Vuyo Mbuli and the likes of Xolani Gwala. It was so beautiful to see black South Africans occupy spaces where they were regarded as incredibly smart and were also well respected. …Vuyo Mbuli was entirely relatable. He was smart and funny and came across as that funny uncle that knew everything about everything!
- The mentorship model is one that encourages growth and facilitates real time learning while on the job. What personal mentoring have you experienced?
As soon as I started working as a television presenter for SABC News as a teenager, I had a group of Television producers that really took me under their wing and taught me a lot about the media industry. Mbali Lesabe and Michael Nqwema are amongst those then-young producers that I looked up to.
After having joined the SAfm team I forged a really close relationship with the station’s Executive Producer Nombulelo Tjawa who has given me a lot of political and social education.
- Is there anybody that you mentor?
I have tried to shy away from using the word, “mentor”. I feel it puts a lot of pressure on the relationship. But I have forged a few relationships with young people that are working their way up in the media industry. There’s a young man, Rex Sibasa in Alexandra who has built a small business as a music producer and film editor that I have formed a relationship with. He has gone from working on borrowed cameras and equipment to buying his own equipment so he can produce content. He is phenomenal!
- Some show hosts love the sound of their own voice. You have an unusually generous way of creating space for people to share their stories. Why do you engage this way?
It certainly isn’t a conscious effort on my part. I suppose I’m a really curious individual. I get carried away and my producers complain all the time because I almost never stick to time constraints. It’s the best fun listening to people share their work, research, thoughts and feelings or opinions. We are a very colourful nation and we are really opinionated. I‘m really just having fun.
- You seem to enjoy talking with entrepreneurs?
I love success stories. That entrepreneur that was able to build their business from the ground to something that has a ten million rand turnover. I love hearing how they did it. I want to applaud them but we also want the map… the “how did you get there?”
I will admit that I also love talking about the more sensitive issues in the country: race; education; inequality. Discussions like these are important and close to my heart. We still have a lot to correct as a nation.
- What gets under your skin – in a good or bad way – on the professional front?
People that are comfortable with mediocrity get under my skin. No one is perfect, but we can surely all work towards excellence and try our utmost. Nothing frustrates me more than having to work with someone that is only a “salary collector”.
- You appear to be a social media wiz… how does social media affect you? Is it intrusive? Do you ever feel scrutinised? Or is it simply a tool to connect with the people you interview and your listeners?
I don’t necessarily like social media because I feel that it can be a thief of time. And yes, I do feel scrutinised on social media. It is however a great way to see how people respond to my work, and to get a gauge on where people’s heads are at.
I also see social media as a great platform for interacting with listeners and having them get to know me in more rounded way.
- What tips would you offer entrepreneurs?
You have to keep going. Never stop. Just do the work. It’s that simple.
It’s difficult to stay motivated and as the director of my own company, Le Laka Media Solutions, I know that very well, but we must keep on moving!
Liesl Jobson is an writer, photographer and musician. Formerly a consulting editor of Books LIVE, she is now Fetola’s media co-ordinator. She is the author of Ride the Tortoise, 100 Papers, (which was translated into Italian as Cento strappi) and View from an Escalator as well as three Book Dash children’s books. She enjoys promoting the success of the small business entrepreneurs who make South Africa work.