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LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! SEASONED SPORTSCASTER LINDIWE DUBE TAKES UP SPACE IN THE SPORTS MEDIA INDUSTRY Author: Sijabulile NdlovuIt is undeniable that 2023 will historically be remembered as a turning point for women’s sports, as throughout the year, we have witnessed phenomenal milestones being reached across the globe. From sold-out stadiums at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand to Africa hosting its first Netball World Cup in the Mother City; 2023 has been a phenomenal year for women’s sports. The media has undisputedly played a significant role both as a vehicle to transform society’s views about women’s sports, as well as normalising its coverage across various media broadcasters. Furthermore, boundaries have also been broken in the historically male-dominated industry of sports media, with women sportscasters reaching phenomenal heights in their careers and paving the way for young women who aspire to join their male counterparts under the bright lights. SuperSport broadcaster Lindiwe Dube is one such trailblazer. As a presenter at South Africa’s leading sports broadcaster, with multiple accolades under her belt, Lindiwe Dube is a force to be reckoned with in the sports media industry. Hailing from Daveyton, East of Johannesburg, the award-winning sports journalist and presenter aspires to be a beacon of hope for young girls with big dreams. IN THE SPIRIT OF CELEBRATING WOMEN IN VARIOUS FACETS OF THE SPORTS INDUSTRY, THE MAMELODI SUNDOWNS DIGITAL MAGAZINE CREW HAD AN IN-DEPTH CONVERSATION WITH LINDIWE DUBE ABOUT BEING A SHAPE-SHIFTER IN A MALE-DOMINATED INDUSTRY, AS WELL AS WHAT SHE MAKES OF THE STRIDES THAT ARE BEING MADE IN WOMEN’S SPORTS. You have extensive experience in the industry. What inspired you to pursue a career in sports broadcasting? My passion for sports inspired me to pursue a career in media broadcasting. I wanted to be more than just a sports supporter. I grew up in Daveyton, a township with a rich history in football. That is essentially where my passion and influence came from. My career in broadcasting began in 2012 when I was an intern at YFM. Having the desire to challenge myself by working in a male-dominated industry also played a big role in me choosing this path. Most importantly, I wanted to be a beacon of hope for young girls, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds. Mentorship is a popular phenomenon in sports media. Did you have a mentor or anyone that you looked up to during your freshman years? I had the privilege of being mentored by SuperSport Producer & Director Nono Cele. Throughout my career, I’ve always looked up to other seasoned anchors such as Carol Tshabalala and Thato Moeng, amongst others. What has been the highlight of your sports broadcasting career? There have been quite a few highlights for me. My top three would be:
- Being named as one of the recipients of the PSL Chairman’s award in 2019 - Working on the inaugural MultiChoice Diski Challenge (DStv Diski Challenge) - Covering the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool There have been significant strides in the representation of women in sports media such as the increase of female analysts and presenters. How important do you think this is? Representation is very important. The presence of women in sports enables young girls to dream and envision themselves in similar positions. It also affirms young girls of the reality that anything is possible. Whether you want to be in front or behind the camera, in the director’s chair, or work as a commentator. Which changes for gender parity have been the most notable in the industry for you? What continues to stand out for me is the recognition of women in sports and endorsements by big brands. I strongly believe that we still have a long way to go. We have made some progress but there is always room for improvement. Women's football is growing across the globe. What role has the media played in ensuring its recognition? The media has played a massive role in growing women’s sports. Most notably it has created more visibility. Brazilian star Martha da Silva recently spoke about how she was able to inspire young girls because they watched her play on television. The Women's Netball World Cup had an all-female broadcasting team. How important do you think this is for women in the sports media industry? SuperSport has always believed and invested in women. They made history in the Netball World Cup and continue to advocate for women in sports. Young girls need to see themselves in us. The FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand has been one for the books. What has been your highlight of the global showpiece? Three African teams reaching the knockout stage has been one of the biggest highlights for me. Moreover, Banyana Banyana and Nigeria made it to the world cup and put on stellar performances, despite challenges off the field. What advice do you have for young women who aspire to pursue a career in sports media, particularly when it comes to being discriminated against because of their gender? Women in any industry or field of work have to double their efforts because everything we do will always be scrutinised. I believe in hard work because it beats talent. Discipline, mastering the basics, respecting the craft, good time management, and maintaining good working relationships are my top secrets to success. It is also important to stay hungry, learn as much as you can, believe in yourself, and be authentic. Despite the many challenges in women’s sports globally, there have been many significant improvements over the past few years. Speaking about what can be done to improve the coverage of women’s football locally, Lindiwe mentioned the importance of sponsorships and having more brands on board in the women’s game. The inspirational sportscaster believes that we can take the women’s game to great heights through collaboration and determination.