The media landscape in South Africa has seen significant changes over the last 10 years, but there is still
more transformation that needs to occur. To that end, it’s time to highlight the accomplishments of some of South Africa’s premier female media voices.
While many of the incredible women on this list are well known, some of them are unsung heroes that should
be household names.Check out these 10 incredible women in South Africa media:
1. Ferial Hafajee
No list about incredible South African women in media could exclude Hafejee — media legend, former editor-in-chief of both Mail & Guardian
and the City Press
and currently an associate editor at the Daily Maverick
She has produced some groundbreaking stories, including the tales of ‘disappearing data’ from various cell phone networks, and various goings on between members of parliament and the Gupta family.Check out Hafajee’s Twitter page here.
2. Poppy Ntshongwana
Ntshongwana became a household name while working on air at 5FM
. Having left the station late in 2015, she is now flying the flag for Mix 93.8FM
Along with her successful radio career, Ntshongwana has also made history by becoming the very first female cricket stadium announcer for the Wanderers Cricket Stadium.Check out Ntshongwana’s Twitter page here.
3. Devi Sankaree Govender
Known as the fiery investigative journalist on Carte Blanche
, Sankaree Govender is an undisputed media legend.
Her career has seen her go from reading the news and presenting music shows on radio to hosting her own radio talk show on Lotus FM
. From there, she only went from strength to strength, gaining a reputation for her straightforward approach to dealing with sensitive topics.
In 1996, she made the move from radio to television, becoming a presenter for Eastern Mosaic
and, eventually, she moved to Carte Blanche
Sankaree Govender has numerous awards under her belt for her investigative work, covering stories like corruption at the Medical University of South Africa, the health crisis in the Eastern Cape and the Oscar Pistorius trial.Check out Sankaree Govender’s Twitter page here.
4. Khadija Patel
Despite describing herself as “a simple girl from Mayfair”, Patel has an incredibly impressive resumé.
She currently works as the editor-in-chief of the prestigious Mail & Guardian
, is the co-founder of The Daily Vox
as well as the deputy chairperson of the International Press Institute.
Throughout her career, Patel has produced work for some big name media houses, including Sky News, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Quartz, City Press
and the Daily Maverick
.Check out Patel’s Twitter page here.
5. Verashni Pillay
Pillay is an award-winning journalist and editor, currently working as the head of digital at POWER 98.7FM.
She is also the founder of explain.co.za
— a website dedicated to creating accessible videos and short articles that help people actually understand
On top of that, Pillay also offers a dose of #Verationality via WhatsApp, where users can sign up to receive weekly summaries of the news.Check out Pillay’s Twitter page here.
6. Karima Brown
Brown, a veteran journalist and editor, is undoubtedly a household name in South Africa.
This year, she found herself in the middle of a legal dispute with the Economic Freedom Fighters after leader Julius Malema shared a screenshot of a WhatsApp message sent by Brown, where her cell phone number was visible.
However, it is not this media storm that has defined her place in the industry. Brown was the former chief content officer at Independent Media
, and a former presenter on 702 Talk Radio
.Check out Brown’s Twitter page here.
7. Katy Katopodis
Katapodis is one of South Africa’s most well-known and well-respected journalists and editors. In 2018, after spending a massive 21 years at Primedia Broadcasting, Katapodis made the decision to leave her position as editor-in-chief of Eyewitness News
Thereafter, Katapodis started her own media company along with 702’s
Phemelo Motene and eNCA’s
Penny Peppa.Check out Katapodis’s Twitter page here.
8. Naledi Sibisi
While Sibisi might not be a household name, she is known as a young entrepreneur in the beauty industry. However, she is also the editor-in-chief of The Throne
agency — a 100% black female-owned influencer relations, cultural insights and content ideation agency.The Throne
also publishes an online publication that serves South Africa’s fashion, urban music and creative landscapes.Check out Sibisi’s Twitter page here.
9. Dr. Glenda Daniels
A media legend across the board, Daniels is currently working as an associate professor of media studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is also the commissioning editor at Fesmedia on media freedom, the chair of the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) Diversity and Ethics committee.
On top of all of that, Daniels is a former journalist at the Mail & Guardian
and the author of Wits Journalism’s State of the Newsroom
in 2012 as well as the co-author of SANEF’s Glass Ceiling 2018
study.Check out Daniels’s Twitter page here.
10. Pippa Green
Green is a renowned South Africa journalist, author and editor.
As of 1 April, she began her tenure as the new Press Ombud, as appointed by the South African Press Council.
Prior to her appointment to the role, Green worked at the Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth (REDI), a national independent research project investigating poverty, inequality and unemployment, based at the University of Cape Town.
She also served as the head of the journalism programme at the University of Pretoria, and has received numerous awards including the Nieman Fellowship
at Harvard University in 1999 and the Ferris Visiting Professor of Journalism
at Princeton University in 2006.
Not only an academic, Green’s CV also includes working as the deputy editor of The Sunday Independent
and Pretoria News
, and as head of radio news at the SABC.Check out Green’s Twitter page here.
Who else do you think should be on this list of impressive women in the media sector? Share your nominations with us in the comments below.
This time next year we’re hoping to see even more women in the media space. But how can we make that change happen? Find out more in our article: Women in media: Four steps to breaking through the glass ceiling.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy