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’.
Now, Zanele opens up and shares some interesting tidbits about herself fans may not have known:
- Considers her ‘Selimathunzi’ gig as her biggest achievement in life so far
‘This is definitely my biggest achievement so far because it is my first TV gig ever and it’s on a legendary show that I grew up watching on the biggest TV platform in the Southern Hemisphere. I don’t take it for granted at all and I’m so excited to keep growing on it, oh and happy 25 years to ‘Selimathunzi’! Here’s to many more!’
- Loves rewatching classic films and television shows from the early 2000s
‘I know some of the greatest movies from that era word for word,’ she says as she rejoices about the fact that A Cinderella Story is available to stream on Netflix so that she can take a break from rewatching Friends for the umpteenth time.
- Is either always early or always late
Contradictory, right? ‘I am never late for work. If I’m switching on a mic, best believe I’ll be there early. That’s something I am always sure of. On the contrary, social gatherings? If you’re lucky, I might make it in time for the final song of the night – I’m terrible.’
- Rome left an everlasting impression on her
‘I’m in love with everything about the place. My primary school principal used to tell us stories about the colosseum and I became obsessed and I couldn’t wait to visit the city – and I was absolutely blown away! I got to walk the beautiful streets, ate the best pizza I’ve ever tasted and I can’t wait to go back so I can go inside the colosseum!’
- Zanele had dreams of being a doctor when she was young
‘I think a small part of the reason was that I come from a family of doctors but, more than anything, I wanted to help people. Although my career path ended up in a whole other direction, my time at university broadened how I saw the world and I realized no matter what the profession you choose, you can help people in your own way and it’s something we should all incorporate into our daily lives.’
- Is a champion debater
‘I loved debating so much and as part of the debating team, I travelled to Australia and New York. I placed third in the World Championships in Australia for one of the categories and placed 22nd overall in the whole tournament. I went to New York as a prize for winning a national science debate about nanotechnology & biotechnology. For six whole days, I was the Blair Waldorf of the Upper Eastside. It was incredible!’
- Her most embarrassing moment on air was calling a guest by the wrong name
‘I once called a legendary DJ by the wrong name. I will never forget it! I welcomed him to a live TV show with this epic introduction, called him iconic and went on to say the wrong name. At least the interview went well but I’ll never forget that, nor stop laughing at myself for it!’
- The entertainment industry has taught Zanele to be resilient
‘In our industry, hearing ‘no’, even if it’s just a few times, is something we all have to get used to – but you keep pushing. I believe that ‘no’ is always meant to steer you in the right direction of where you’re actually going because what’s yours will never miss you.
- Zanele has dreams of interviewing some of the biggest names in entertainment
‘My dream personalities to interview would be Trevor Noah, Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington – and it’s all because the same reason: their stories fascinate me. They all had to fight for their dreams. The paths their lives have taken were unlikely given how they grew up and where they came from but they dared to not just dream but to make those dreams a reality. That’s extraordinary and I have so many questions that I can’t wait to ask them one day.’
- Her brothers helped shape Zanele into a sports fanatic
‘I absolutely love sports and I watch everything from rugby to soccer, cricket, netball and everything in between!. I am obsessed. My two brothers definitely played a massive role in my love for sports because, as a kid, I was always outnumbered for the remote. So, sports channels were the order of every day. I can’t believe that today I am thankful for all those times they wouldn’t let me watch my Hannah Montana!’