Growing up carefree in Escourt, a small KwaZulu-Natal town, Nomfanelo Dlomo, 27, never envisioned being a radio producer one day. But today Nomfanelo is the engine room behind the popular radio show, ‘Midday Shandis’ 12-3pm, on Gagasi FM that draws close to a million listeners.

Nomfanelo is quick to point out that her journey to success wasn’t the easiest:

“I lost my father when I was 13 years old. I was on the brink of puberty and the next few years were a rollercoaster ride. I lost myself in a spiral of alcohol and got into an abusive relationship in high school that nearly killed me. But with life lessons, I had learned from my father before he passed away, and support from family, I was able to steer myself back to the right path.”

Nomfanelo was back on the right path but she did not qualify for the course she had set her heart on:

“I never intended to study Public Relations. I wanted to study Biotechnology and qualify as a pathologist but my matric results were not so great. I chose Public Relations and upon further research, I realized that this is where I was supposed to be. Everything about Public Relations suited my personality. I’m forever grateful that I didn’t qualify to the Biotechnology program. I would be so bored in the lab with a white coat!”

Pathology’s loss was radio’s gain because Nomfanelo produces a fresh, vibrant show with a large following. But success didn’t just fall in her lap, Nomfanelo had to go out and grab her dream:

“I had been working on a few events with a Gagasi FM presenter. I heard that one of the radio producers had resigned so I took a chance and applied. In my public relations qualification, we were taught to work with all media platforms. I was able to convince the station that I was what they needed.”

Determination and drive have brought Nomfanelo to working as a Radio Producer. But what does a radio Producer actually do, Nomfanelo?

“A radio producer is the engine room of a radio show. We research content as well as direct and assist the presenter to execute content in a creative manner. It is a job that challenges and stretches my creativity. When I come up with content, it cannot just be about what interests me at that time. A radio producer has to constantly think like a listener and a producer at the same time. You need to ask yourself, ‘As a listener at home, would I like hearing about this topic? Would I pick up the phone and engage the presenter?’ I love everything about what I do.”

Today’s gig economy is fluid, it allows you to be able to have more than one income and Nomfanelo is no slouch.

“Besides radio production, I’m also a public relations consultant using my company, Andwele Media. I’m basically doing what I love and studied for – helping people, brands, and products communicate their messages to the right media channels.”

Nomfanelo is a firm believer in the constant pursuit of dreams:

“As I tick off my goals, I have a desire for more. I really want the Midday Shandis 12-3pm to reach a million listeners. Personally, I want to be a sought-after content producer. I want to grow my company to be a reputable PR company that services big clients.”

Nomfanelo draws inspiration from a variety of sources:

“I learn different things from different people. My family inspires me because I want to make them proud. My friend, Nandi Khumalo, has taught me so much about love and perseverance. I read books because some of the best knowledge is found between the pages of a book.”

Nomfanelo is also passionate about youth development and mentorship. She was recently appointed Deputy Curator for Durban Global Shapers:

“The Global Shapers community is a non-profit organization registered in Geneva, Switzerland and housed at the World Economic Forum. Global Shapers Community is a network of inspiring young people under the age of 30 working together to address local, regional and global challenges. We champion various youth programs in the city of Durban. One of these is Talk 031 which are dialogue events that tackle various issues that affect young people.

“We also have Meet-The-Leader sessions where we have round table discussions with mentors that we have identified. We also launched the ‘Open Africa’ initiative across the African hubs, where we lobby for open intra-trade between African countries.”

One can’t help but feel that greater success is within Nomfanelo’s sights.


Tell us: What did you learn from Nomfanelo’s story?