While Zanele is breaking barriers and making waves in the local entertainment space, she admits that she never saw her career making a turn into the entertainment space. Zanele had always dreamt of being involved in the field of health science. However, during her second year studying at the University Of Pretoria, Zanele decided to join the institution’s radio station TUKS FM and, from there, the radio bug bit her.
Zanele pursued her passion for radio by enrolling in one of 5FM’s five-day mentorship where she made an impression on the management team at the station. Over the next two years, 5FM invited Zanele to help out where possible where she continued to get extensive experience of what it is like working at a radio station.
At the same time, Zanele took part in nationwide presenter search for SABC 1’s popular weekend breakfast show ‘Mzansi Insider’ where she became the runner-up, won the viewer’s choice poll and walked away with R10 000! “Because it was my first trying my hand at TV presenting it was challenging - but it was also such an affirmation of where I was hoping to go,” Zanele says of the experience. “I didn't win, but little did I know then that my win was just waiting for me along the way.”
As Zanele continued to lay down the foundation in her new career path, a former manager at 5FM moved to a rival station and offered Zanele a job there. The move also offered Zanele her very first radio gig as the host of the station’s 1am – 4am weekday slot. "I got to grow so much at the radio station. From working with some of the biggest names in radio to working the Global Citizen red carpet where I interviewed the likes of Bonang Matheba, Danai Gurira and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka all culminated in me winning a Liberty Radio Bright Star Award where I was recognized as one of the future forces to be reckoned with in the radio industry It was a true honour."
After a year building up an impressive resume, Zanele made the big move back to her first radio home 5FM where she continues to build up an impressive list of loyal listeners while pushing herself in the field. Today, she helps Mzansi navigate to work on the station’s popular breakfast show as the traffic presenter.
At the same time, Zanele’s television career also started to develop. Last year, after making a lasting impression with her Mzansi Insider audition, Zanele was asked to fill in as presenter on lifestyle series ‘Selimathunzi’. After resonating with fans across the country, SABC 1 asked Zanele to join the team full time and is now the show’s official presenter alongside colleagues Siphesihle Vazi and Sprkz.
With an impressive start to her career already under her belt, Zanele has cemented herself as one of the freshest new faces in the local entertainment space – an accolade she is incredibly proud of. “I do not take it for granted that I get to wake up each day and broadcast to our nation and that every Tuesday night, I get to be one of the faces that graces the TV screens of millions of South Africans, on the biggest tv platform in the southern hemisphere,” Zanele says. “To say I am thankful and that it is a dream come true would be an understatement. It is still the most surreal thing to me that I grew up watching ‘Selimathunzi’ on SABC 1 religiously and that I couldn’t get dressed in the morning without 5fm blaring on my radio and now I get to work on both these platforms! I thank God every day and I am so excited for what the future holds. I cannot wait to grow in this beautiful entertainment industry of ours.”
Catch Zanele every weekday morning between 06:00 and 09:00 as well as Sundays between 10:00 and 14:00 on 5FM as well as on ‘Selimathunzi’ every Tuesday evening at 19:30 on SABC 1.