Shift with Rhulani Baloyi
Rhulani Baloyi, born in a small rural village Elim, near Louis Trichardt in Limpopo, shares a little about herself. She is co-presenter of Shift, screened on SABC1 Mondays to Wednesdays from 13:30 to 14:30. Shift gets viewers thinking and talking about shifting mindsets and changing attitudes.
“From grade one to matric I attended Siloe, a school in Limpopo for the blind and partially sighted. The Catholic Church influenced the school founded by them and the order of the day was to attend church twice a day, mass in the morning and rosary recitation in the evening.”
At school Rhulani enjoyed asking all the questions and getting answers from the teachers. She loved to read to her classmates and worked hard because she wanted to leave school the first chance she got. She had friends at school but was not a groupie; she preferred to operate on her own, making independent decisions and following her heart.
“I wasn’t a conformist; I was the one to defy the rules. My favourite subjects were English and History. I wanted to be a teacher because I thought teachers knew everything and had authority in whatever they did. Maybe it was also because my late mum and granddad were teachers.”
Rhulani is the first-born child of six children. She has two brothers who are twins and three sisters. She grew up mostly with her maternal grandparents. She says, “My grandfather influenced who I am today. I'm told that at the age of four when taken to boarding school and my grandma was very disapproving. My Granddad told her and my mum that they must let go and said ‘we never know what this child will be when she grows up’. My Granddad was an avid believer in education and wanted us to learn English from English-speaking people.”
Rhulani studied and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at Wits University; she says “I measured in Sociology, English and Religious Studies. After that I completed a Higher Education Diploma which was my mum's idea, she said I needed something to fall back on, in case my career in broadcasting didn't take off. Who knows, maybe one day I might be a teacher!”
One of the highlights of Rhulani’s career as a journalist is the time a soft drink maker reported her to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission. The complaint was about a story she covered on TV when a customer found a condom in an unopened soft drink bottle. A mugging at gunpoint while covering a story in Soweto is one of her lows.
Among others Rhulani received a PANSLAB award for multilingualism on Shift and the prestigious CityPress/Rapport Women's Achievement Award. Rhulani is also an experienced court reporter, she says “I enjoyed those days, serial killers and other murderers fascinated me, I always tried to understand what made them do what they do.”
Rhulani listens to African jazz; her favourite musicians include Oliver Mtukudzi, Thandiswa Mazwayi and Hugh Masekela. She has some reggae moments with her favourites, Jimmy Cliffe and Bob Marley. Depending on her mood a little soul is okay and after a long day at work, something loud and fast is good. Sundays she listens to Gospel music.
Rhulani is a light sleeper and doesn’t like to be woken up in the middle of the night by trivial phone calls. People who pass remarks about her blindness, assuming she can't hear what they are saying annoy her. She would like to travel the world, she has been to Australia and America, and hopes to visit the Caribbean, attend the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup and visit England during their summer.
Something Rhulani doesn’t like about herself is that she sometimes speaks her mind and it hurts others, she thinks she has to learn to shut up. Failure and being broke scare Rhulani, if granted a wish it would be to be able to see again, this time with full sight.
In her leisure time Rhulani reads, her favourite book is Yesterday I cried by Ianal Vansand. She enjoys authors, John Gresham, Patricia Cornwell and James Peterson. White Wedding is Rhulani’s favourite movie and as a blind person she appreciated the narration of Ray Charles’ life because she could associate with most of it. Rhulani loves SA soapies, Isidingo is her best and she enjoys the crime and investigation channel.
See more of Rhulani on SABC1 Mondays to Wednesdays at 13:30 on Shift, an SABC Education programme that informs, inspires and entertains. Shift provides a forum for discussions on various subjects; finance, self-esteem, entrepreneurship, empowerment, health, success stories, parenting, gender, education, tourism, environment, technology, arts, culture and social issues.