Lindiwe Dube celebrated her 30th birthday this past Friday.
On Sunday she was named, to her surprise, one of three recipients of the Chairman’s Awards at the PSL Awards.
Her personality is full of life, gaining her the nickname “Bubbles”.
“I’m a township girl through and through. I was raised by a single mother with my three siblings. That’s where my influence of sport comes from.
“I grew up next to a soccer field, eGroundini, and every weekend they would have games and competitions every weekend that’s where we would be,” said the sportscaster.
She was a real tomboy, even though her exterior today reveals her “girlie” side.
“Growing up in Daveyton was hard but through it all we experienced the greatest love that my mom gave us despite the little she had. We are united as a family and talk every day without fail.”
It was her mom, Mugile, who instilled that love for family in them.
“We had dinner together every day. My mother would make amagwinya (vetkoek) for us.
“We didn’t have TV or electricity growing up because we lived in an informal settlement. So the only time I would watch DStv was when I was visiting relatives in December.”
Her broadcasting journey started in 2012. Like many other families living in informal settlements, illegal electricity connections were a way of life.
That is when she got the chance to watch sport personalities such as Robert Marawa and Carol Tshabalala on TV.
She explained: “I didn’t have a journalism background. I completed a one-year programme in advertising at the Imagination Lab in 2008 and thought I was going to end up working for an ad agency.”
She dabbled in sales but didn’t enjoy it much and ended up working as a receptionist for two years.
Her lucky streak won her tickets to the Soweto Derby, an outing via Metrorail she made special for her brother, Sibusiso, who had never been to the FNB Stadium.
In 2012, while watching the Afcon final, she realised broadcasting was a career she wanted to pursue. She even told her mother that she would be quitting her job to do so.
After two failed attempts applying to the Y Academy, a YFM internship initiative, third time she was lucky.
“I just wanted to get my foot in the door The Y Academy was the launchpad I needed, regardless of it not being a permanent post.”
At the academy she learnt the foundations for her broadcasting career. But when the programme ended in 2014, she was jobless again.
“I slipped into a depression, I would sleep the whole day and my mom would always say ‘Kuzolunga’, and I would ask ‘when exactly?’. She would tell me to pray.
“I didn’t even have money to buy airtime to apply for jobs.”
Fast-forward a few months and her dream to work at SuperSport and Power FM came true.
Power FM had offered her a post, and shortly after that, in September, she saw a Twitter post about the SuperSport MultiChoice Diski Challenge looking for presenters.
“I thought this was my chance. I could work at Power FM on weekdays and then at SuperSport on weekends.”
She made it through to the final rounds. More than 400 women auditioned for the position, but her knowledge of sport put her on top.
Dube declined the Power FM gig and started the transition from radio to TV.
In addition to the Diski Challenge, she worked on Future Champions and netball productions.
“I did have my challenges. The netball games were in Pretoria and I lived in Daveyton. Games would start at 6am and end at 8pm.
“I did not have transport so I ended up spending six of the eight working weekends sleeping in the boardroom at work to make it on time.
“I put in the work. I could see that they could see the potential in me.
“As women in sport, we are constantly proving ourselves. We work twice as hard because, whatever you do, you are going to be judged. I am not just a pretty face, I know what I am doing.”
In August 2016, she bought a car, which made things easier.
Dube then started working on bigger productions, and even the Soweto Derby.
“Every day I am trying to up my game, because you never know who is watching.
“God has opened so many doors for me so soon. You can never rest on your laurels.”
Dube’s family’s support has meant the world to her. In appreciation, she built her mom a house just in time for Mother’s Day.
“My mom has been through so much with us and this is something she always wanted, but she is a domestic worker and there was no way she was going to build herself a house.
“To be able to do something like that for her, while she is still alive, is a blessing.”
The Chairman’s Award that Dube received on Sunday is still fresh on her mind.
Her schedule was cleared for her to attend the PSL Awards in Durban. When Irvin Khoza announced the recipients, she didn’t ever think her name would be called.
He mentioned the legendary Siyabonga Nomvethe and Cedric “Sugar Ray” Xulu. “He started talking about me. I wasn’t sure at first but could hear it was my story.
“I had to ask the lady sitting next to me what I was supposed to do once Khoza called my name. I was dazed, in complete disbelief.”
Dube now mentors girls and is always reminding them that they can be anything they want to.
“Our journeys will never be the same. A lot of people don’t know. They see you on TV and think you’re just an overnight success. More than anything I want my story to be told.
“I want to inspire the girl-child. If I can grow up in an informal settlement and go on to work with legends, then anything is possible for the girl-child.”