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Local television and radio personality Zanele Potelwa is fast-becoming one of the biggest names in the local entertainment space today. Zanele is a voice on popular youth station 5FM where she serves as the traffic presenter on the station's weekday breakfast show 'The Roger Goode Show' and hosts the 10am- 2pm slot on Sundays. Fans can also find Zanele on their television screen as a presenter on SABC 1's lifestyle magazine show Selimathunzi.
Zanele Potelwa, traffic presenter on 5FM's ‘The Roger Goode Show’ and presenter on SABC 1’s Selimathunzi<
You've been named as one of the freshest new faces in the local entertainment space. How do you feel about this?
Can you pinch me first? Oh my word! It truly excites me. Just a few years ago, I was doing radio for fun and thought my life was going in a whole different direction and now I get to work on some of the biggest platforms in SA. It’s definitely something I don’t take for granted. It also excites me because I can’t wait to see what the future holds - this fresh face is ready!
If I'm not mistaken, growing up you wanted to get into the field of health science. How did you find yourself in the entertainment space?
I can honestly thank the 5FM family. I visited for five days as a mentee when I was still interested in radio as a hobby and honestly, learning from the bosses and watching big names like Roger Goode and Thando Thabethe do their thing inspired me to start pursuing radio when I was 21.
So I kept visiting 5FM, helping out with anything I could - from making coffee, to filing paperwork, to working guest list - I was there and ready to work and well now, we’re here.
You're the traffic presenter on ‘The Roger Goode Show’. What's it like working with the team?
Chaotic and hilarios!!! Roger calls us the Adam’s family of radio and I think it’s because we’re all so different, but for some crazy reason, we get on like a house on fire. It’s the most fun anyone can have in the morning. I get to work with some of the best in the business, so yes you’ll feel the pressure, but they make it so much fun and it’s truly like a 6-9AM lesson every morning. I learn so much from Roger Goode, Sureshnie Rider and Robbie Kruse and I think more than anything, I enjoy getting to hang out with them on this show that they’ve made into a an epic home for listeners from all over SA every morning.
Not only are you on radio, but you're also a presenter on SABC 1’s lifestyle magazine show Selimathunzi. How did this happen?
I entered the Mzansi Insider Presenter search in 2017 and two years later, they needed someone to fill in on Selimathunzi. My SABC 1 family called and asked if I could do so and of course I jumped at the opportunity. After a few months of filling in, they asked me to stay and I could not be more grateful that I’m now a Selimathunzi presenter. Didn’t I ask you to pinch me?! What a privilege.
What is it like working with Siphesihle Vazi and Sprkz?
Amazing!!! Those two aren’t only an absolute vibe and forever has us laughing, but they leave me inspired with everything that they continue to achieve. I see them as television kings who take on every single interview and TV hosting gig with such ease. with such ease. They’ve been so welcoming to me and I honestly just love our Selimathunzi family!
Could you share with us what’s really behind your mask - literally and figuratively speaking?
Literally? A nose and mouth that can’t wait to see the outside world again! Figuratively? A girl who just can’t wait to live out their purpose in every way possible!
I try to make sure every thing I do moves me closer to that and in the process of it all, in the grander scheme, I hope to help as many people as I possibly can and really make a difference, while we achieve all the crazy dreams on my heart.
Where are you based during lockdown?
‘In New Zealand’ is what I’d love to say because they’re living everyone’s dream of a covid-free country right now, but in reality, I’m at home in Fourways, Johannesburg with my three siblings. If our squabbles over who’s doing the dishes during the lockdown period didn’t break us, nothing ever will.
What are the safety protocols taken to ensure that your colleagues stay safe in studio? On Radio and on TV?
For radio, we’re all broadcasting from our homes with our laptops and a microphone. The other morning, I hopped out of bed at 5:50AM and was delivering my first traffic bulletin by 6:03. This new normal is crazy, but it’s really forced us to advance incredibly well in terms of technology.
For television, masks and sanitizer are the order of every shoot and of course, social distancing. We’ve changed the way in which we position ourselves for interviews, to allow for social distancing and it’s been working very well. I’m so glad that for both mediums, the show goes on!
When you're not on air, what do you do? How do you socialise these days?
Someone tweeted the other day that walking is the new ‘going out’. I could not agree more. I knew that mountains had to move before I start being serious about exercise, but I just didn’t know that mountain would be a pandemic. I’ve started being more active and as a result of my new hobby, I know more of my neighbours now. Ive also found more time to be on social media and even conduct some live interviews on my Instagram with some pretty inspiring people in the entertainment space.
Are you watching any series? Reading any books at the moment?
I’ve absolutely loved Bridgerton and Lupin on Netflix, to the point that I’m thinking of rewatching them - yes, I do that. I’m about to start watching The Office, because I’ve never given it a chance and apparently it’s incredible. In terms of books, I’m about to start reading Nicolette Mashile’s Number 1 Best Seller, Make Your Move. I think it’s just what I need for 2021.
What's your theme song for 2021?
My theme song for 2021 is ‘Best Friend’ by Saweetie ft. Doja Cat. For me, has just enforced just how much you need to be your own best friend as well, and really look after yourself, especially because of these crazy times we find ourselves in. This track reminds me of that. I also can’t help but feel like a million bucks while listening to it and we all need more of that in 2021, after the crazy stunts 2020 was pulling last year.
What is the first thing you plan to do - if and when the lockdown lifts?
I’m running to the first music concert I can find - preferably Cardi B’s postponed one. I need (yes need, not want) to sing along to ‘Bodak Yellow’ surrounded by thousands of other humans. Even if it means long lines, an overcrowded space and someone possibly stepping on my sneakers - that all honestly sounds like a dream as we sit in lockdown.
2021 has just begun. What's next for you?
You can definitely expect to see me play in many different spaces, such as the entrepreneurial space - right now, we’re starting small with some glam masks - and hopefully soon, the acting space too.
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