Thando Thabethe has her eyes narrowed on the pink Macbook in front of her. It’s five minutes before her new 5FM drivetime show, The Thabooty Drive, goes live on air and she’s calmly readying herself for today’s live broadcast from the Southern Sun Hotel at Hyde Park Corner.
When Cassper Nyovest arrives for his interview, the first thing he does is compliment her on how beautiful she is – and he isn’t the first to do so today.
Their interview is an interesting one. When Cassper boasts about his Rolex and takes every opportunity to mention his new clothing store and his line of branded clothing, she plays it cool and switches the focus to more pertinent questions about his album Thuto.
Thando has been making waves on the radio since she started off at UJFM almost 10 years ago.
Today, she’s the first woman to fill the 5FM drive-time slot. “I didn’t anticipate that it would happen so quickly. That was always the goal, I just didn’t think it would happen this quickly.”
This is the biggest audience she’s had during her time on the radio, and she’s excited about having an even bigger platform than before.
“It’s like being in matric, you’re at the very top of the ranks. So that’s really cool. But just the fact that I was entrusted with all those listeners makes me really proud,” she says.
The bigger audience comes with a bit more pressure. She tries not to think about it too much so that she can focus on the job at hand. “If you do think about it, it’s a big deal and I feel pressured. I pressure myself, it’s not coming from the outside. I think when you’re here, it’s no longer about back announcing and speaking well, it’s about the content that goes into the show.”
Thando attributes this latest success to talent, experience and just being herself. She says the last couple of days that the show has been on the air have been a great experience and the show has been very well received.
She and her co-host, Msizi James, who joined 5FM from East Coast Radio, are also beginning to gel. “I’ve got along with him really well. The people I’ve spoken to from his previous radio station have only great things to say about him. He’s very talented and I’m excited to see what will come of it.”
During her interview with Cassper, I watched as his dad called in to congratulate him on his success. As Cassper cried, her eyes started to well up too. She aims to create moments like these so that, instead of just doing the typical interview or engaging her audience on internet stories, like she did with her previous slot, she can provide some intriguing and insightful commentary.
Thando loves sharing through radio, and she hopes she’ll still be able to do what she does for the next few years.
She is also looking to continue her acting career. Last year she co-starred in Mrs Right Guy and this year she’s got a project in the pipelines that she’ll disclose in due course.Her vision for the next five years is to break into the international film and television scene.
Until then, she’ll just have to settle for being a maverick making waves on South African radio.