Specialist journalist: SABC TV

Asanda Magaqa

Despite being told she was too young and assertive and it was too dangerous for a female to go on certain assignments, Asanda Magaqa managed to justify why she deserved to report on hard-hitting current affairs issues, winning numerous awards to back up her statements.

Born in Butterworth, Magaqa sees her rural roots as an opportunity to shed light on the stories of our “forgotten people”. That’s why, when a law was passed in Hamburg in the Eastern Cape that prohibited vehicles on the coastline, Magaqa showed how severely it affected the livelihood of the local people who used the sand to manufacture bricks. After her investigation, legal concessions were made for the locals to go about their work.

A cross-language reporter with a focus on English and Nguni languages, Magaqa has won many awards for her reporting, including two Vodacom Journalist Awards, and has worked as a specialist journalist at Special Assignment. At 29, Magaqa currently works as a field reporter, presenter and television anchor for the SABC, where she had been a radio anchor and reporter and was the youngest person, at age 23, to host a current affairs flagship show, which attracted 4.6-million listeners.

Magaqa remains connected to her roots, citing her parents as role models who taught her that “presidents and peasants are all human and definitions don’t make one better than the other”. She applies her father’s words to her work, reminding herself that “when it comes to matters of principle you cannot be of two minds”. In this family tradition, she too has become a role model, giving talks at rural schools and creating a body of work that proves it is possible for a woman from a rural area to become an award-winning journalist.

— Zeenat Mahomed

Twitter: @asandamagaqa