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 popular lifestyle magazine show Selimathunzi.
As Zanele continues on her quest to dominate the local entertainment space, the star opens up on her first taste of entertaining people, what she believes sets her apart and so much more.
Who is Zanele Potelwa when the mic is off and the camera stops rolling?
Zanele Potelwa is a fun loving girl from the Eastern Cape who has a passion for people and entertainment. I’m on a mission to leave the world a more beautiful place than I found it.
I’m someone who believes that we’re all put on this earth for a reason and all I want with all my heart is to live out my purpose and live out all of my wildest dreams and genuinely, I’m excited to do so.
Where did your love for entertainment begin?
My passion for entertainment was ignited in me long before I ever considered it as a career – 11 years before to be exact. In Grade four, I was cast as the witch in our school production of Hansel and Gretel. Everyone told me I did such a good job and I thought I would continue exploring this path because my teachers claimed I was so good at it.
This eventually led to my love for public speaking and being on a stage. My entire journey stemmed from that moment.
What, in your opinion, is the toughest part when it comes to making it in the entertainment industry within South Africa?
The hurry up and wait process. Some of the greatest names in entertainment will tell you that you need to trust the process and I am firm believer that what’s yours will never miss you and that is what I think discourages a lot of us sometimes.
I think as long as you keep doing what you can with what you have and keep working hard and smart, the perfect adventure always comes along and it’s all about giving it our all.
What is the one talent you wish you had?
I’m someone who can somewhat sing, but if I had the voice of an angel, I’d be Gabriella from High School Musical and genuinely sing everything! I think that people who can sing are gifted in such a profound and beautiful way because music truly heals, comforts and brings people together.
On that note, I’m excited to be working with one of my 5FM colleagues on a track where I put together a spoken word piece which I am excited for everyone to hear.
What attracted you to both 5FM as a platform and ‘Selimathunzi’ as a television show?
I am a young South African who is passionate about the youth in the country and these two platforms speak directly to the youth. These are both platforms that I know inspire and entertain.
I always believe that I was part of these families long before I ever joined them officially because I grew up enjoying them and I remember what I used to feel watching and listening to these two platforms. It’s an absolute privilege now being part of creating that which makes our fellow South Africans feel good.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your co-stars on each platform?
I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most incredible names in the entertainment industry and they’ve all taught me the importance and beauty in hard work.
They’ve also taught me to encourage those that are coming after me as much as I can because these people have truly always gone out of their way to always reassure me about what I do. It’s also been something I’ve been so grateful for and it’s played such a big role in my career.
What would you say sets you apart from other personalities within the entertainment industry?
My energy! I say that because it’s something that always stands out to anyone from directors to listeners – I have an energy that’s unique to me. I would also say the fact that I’m a wild card helps me stand out. I’m one of those people who never was formally trained in anything else but radio and even then, it wasn’t for the longest time.
For me, it reminds me of the fact that I’m capable of so much more and that there’s a whole lot still to come as I continue to grow in this industry.
What, in your opinion, does the local entertainment industry lack?
I think it lacks opportunities. I think that there is so much space for us to grow and so many uncharted areas and ideas for us to explore.
Thankfully, the industry opens up more and more every year, but I still feel that there is so much untapped potential and it has pushed people to become more creative with opening and creating their own platforms.
The digital space has allowed for this in a great way and we see it little by little. Digital creators are becoming so undeniable and they are making it onto the mainstream stage as well.
What are some of your goals for 2021?
In 2021, I would love to host some of the most prestigious ceremonies in the country. I also plan on entering the acting space and continuing to grow in a big way in both television and radio.
Lastly, I also have big things planned in the entrepreneurial space and I have some exciting things planned for my foundation because it’s vital for me to help the community as much as I can.