Thabile Makapela celebrates her IsiXhosa roots on Newzroom

Thabile Makapela - IsiXhosa - Newzroom
Thabile Makapela - IsiXhosa - Newzroom

Thabile Makapela celebrates her IsiXhosa roots on Newzroom

Former kids’ news presenter, Thabile Makapela, celebrates her IsiXhosa roots when she presents the weather on Newzroom Afrika’s daily Iindaba Zethu bulletins.

Hailing from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, Makapela always knew she wanted a career in television, and since February this year, has been able to deliver content in her mother tongue.

“A highlight in my early career was interviewing then President Jacob Zuma, a truly mind-blowing experience in any young news anchor’s life.” 

As an active mentor, her advice to upcoming journalists: Embrace who you are; and know and understand that you are unique and enjoy what you do.

Iindaba Zethu gives viewers access to diverse views to promote an understanding of the daily events – including the weather – that affect South Africa’s population. These could include information on inclement and dangerous weather warnings, such as the recent high winds and wild seas wreaking havoc along the country’s coastline.

Mzansi Wethu’s first IsiZulu and IsiXhosa language news bulletin, Izindaba Zethu/Iindaba Zethu broadcasts daily on DStv channel 163 at 19h00.

What led you to a career in news?

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a love for television, and this love led me to a career in news.  I knew I belonged in broadcasting since my primary school days.

What is the most memorable news story you have covered in your career?

The most memorable story that I've covered in my career was when I was a kids’ news anchor and went to question the former President, Jacob Zuma. That experience was mind blowing, because as a young person in my early twenties, and still new in the news anchoring world, I did not expect to engage with someone so high profile. I was attending a story in Pretoria during Child Protection Week, and I was afforded the opportunity to interview the then President. I was excited and enjoyed all the attention that came with it, especially being a Kids’ anchor.

You have been an anchor on Indaba Zethu since it launched in February, how has that been?

Presenting on the show is so exciting, I look forward to each bulletin like it's my first.

What makes anchoring in IsiXhosa authentic to you?

Presenting in isiXhosa makes it even more fun! It is my mother tongue so I can play around with the language while being informative.

Tell us about how working with the iconic veteran news anchor Dr Noxolo Grootboom has been? How has she mentored you?

Working with Dr.Noxolo Grootboom has been an experience that I'll treasure forever. She has become more than just a mentor, more like a mother and a friend.

What is the legacy you would like to leave to the younger journalists rising up the ranks?

The legacy that I would love to leave to the younger journalists is to embrace who you are. Know and understand that you are unique and enjoy what you do.

Tell us about your hometown.

I am from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape and most of the people from the area do not consider media as a typical career path. I was a very active child and I'm grateful that my family and community gave me a platform that made me realise what I loved to do.

When you are not providing news to your fellow South Africans, what can you be found doing off camera?

When I'm not on TV, I can be found exploring my love for radio. I love public speaking and mentoring.

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