She’s the bubbly reporter spreading good cheer every evening with feel-good stories on eNews. Linda Mali gets to know the lady behind the news.
How did you get into journalism?
I was studying marketing and did a business graduate diploma when I got a call from someone at eTV who asked me if I wanted to audition for a position for a weather presenter and I thought ‘cool I’ve often wanted to say “you can expect a strong south easter in the cape coast” while pointing to the map of SA!’ so I thought ‘why not?’ and I went, not taking it seriously at all. A few days later I got a call to say I got the job – I couldn’t believe it. I went for extensive training because prior to that, I had no idea what a low or high pressure system was! A few months later I was offered a news anchor position. I nearly fell of my chair! I anchored weekend news before doing weekday news. Growing up I was always a little story teller, interested in other people’s lives. I think reporting human interest news was a bit of a calling – the job is perfect for me and I love it.
What are some of the important traits a journalist must have?
At the end of the day as a journalist you’ve got to be in tune with current affairs and world news – you’ve got to be on top of your game because if anything goes wrong on the autocue, you just have to wing it. I had some amazing mentors – Andrew Barnes is a fantastic mentor, he gave me all the training I have today.
What drives you to keep reporting the good stuff?
I am a happy person by nature, and to be able to translate that into telling other people’s stories, what a gift! There is not nearly enough good news being reported in our society and that’s sad…
I have so many! I have done stories on deaf dogs that can understand sign language, I have done stories on a granny who received a black belt in karate at the age of 80 – and she literally kicked my butt demonstrating how she earned her belt! [laughs]. I did stick fighting with a 7-year old kid from Khayelitsha and he also kicked my butt! So I love what I do – I don’t mind getting dirty or getting kicked by a granny! [laughs] Opening of parliament this year was also a highlight – I did a live report from the red carpet. It was daunting because I had to approach the politicians and ask them which designer they were wearing, and then we were thrown off the red carpet and I had to improvise on the spot.
What’s your career goal?
I want my own talk show – coz I talk so much. I would still be in keeping with what I do now and I feel like I have a responsibility to South Africans. I don’t want to veer off that path. A lot of South Africans tune in and to see whats good out there. I want to stay true to that. I want a talk show that keeps it very real.
Your favourite holiday destination?
You’re probably gonna laugh but I do quite like camping. [laughs] roughing it in a tent – I love it!
You’re in great shape – how do you stay fit?
I try to get to gym every now and then – twice a week, I have a 14 year old son that keeps me very active as well so that helps! [laughs] he’s got a lot of mates and keeps me on my toes!
Does he think you’re a cool mom?
Oh no! They never do! I’m just ‘mom’ and if ever somebody says ‘Is that your sister?’ angrily he’ll say “no it’s my mother!” he has to stress the fact! But he’s the only man in my life and I love him to bits.
Your guilty pleasure?
I love sweet things – cakes, chocolates!
source: Watch video interview with Tanya Nefdt