Bongi excels at news reading

TruFM news reader, Bongi Baliti-Mantakana.

The Empire Conference and Events Venue in Parktown, Johannesburg, was packed with radio jocks eager to see who would take home the coveted radio awards.

The South African Radio Awards were in their twelfth year. Loyiso Madinga, a comedian, hosted the event this year.

In 30 radio categories, including Campus, Commercial, Community, and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), as well as online radio stations and podcasts, 91 winners were announced.

Bongi Baliti-Mantakana, a news reader at Gqeberha-based SABC youth station TruFM, was one of the night’s winners.

Baliti-Mantakana was named best news reader.

“To say I am happy would be an understatement; I am excited. I finally crossed the bridge after several attempts,” the journalist, who could not contain her joy, said she was expecting the award because it was the third time she had been nominated in this category.

“There was something that told me to pray because I am a person of faith,” Baliti-Mantakana explained.

The award means a lot to the Port Alfred native, who believes it demonstrates good work.

“And being included in the competition with my colleagues who I admire and look up to is what motivates me to stay on track,” she said.

Baliti-Mantakana has been a radio personality for fifteen years. She began her career by working for local radio stations such as Nkqubela FM, Bay FM, and EHfm.

She grew up idolizing people like Noxolo Grootboom, Linda Gqomfa, and Thandile Cekisani.

“I used to impersonate them when they read the news,” the reporter revealed.

The pressure of being busy as she prepares for the next bulletin, she says, is the most enjoyable part of her job.

“Most people are unaware that each news bulletin requires extensive preparation.

“You organise, edit the articles that will be appropriate for the audience based on their importance, edit the sounds, and then you have to understand what is going on in the country and around the world,” the mother of two children explained.

Baliti-Mantakana is also known for her collaboration with singer Berita on the SAMA-winning album, Songs in the Key of Love. Baliti-Mantakana wrote the popular songs Ndicel’ikiss and Jikizinto for that album, among others.