Bernini Squadcast series is back for woman’s month. Image: Supplied
Bernini Squadcast series is back for woman’s month. Image: Supplied
These phenomenal women will share their professional journeys and their personal experiences on the road to success, along with insight and advice regarding topics that affect women and their lives.
First launched as a podcast series during Women’s Month in 2020, The Squadcast is stepping up and will now be presented as engaging YouTube video content, reaching millions of women across SA – and for the first-time audiences will have a view of guests and the infectious energy they bring to each conversation. Each episode will embody everything women have grown to love about this popular platform. Among the phenomenal women who will join the conversation are popular television presenter and entertainment personality Roxy Burger, entrepreneur Nomndeni Mdakhi – a passionate proponent of female empowerment, and founder of Agenda Women, and glamorous entrepreneur and digital creator Melody Molale.
Radio broadcaster, TV presenter and all-round media legend Penny Lebyane is the new host of The Squadcast. She is one of Mzansi’s favourite radio broadcasters and television presenters, having worked as a DJ at Metro FM and as an anchor for the e.tv morning show during her celebrated career. We asked her about her career in media, how she juggles the many roles she takes on and her role as the new host of The Squadcast.
Q: Penny, you are a passionate proponent of female empowerment and a legend in the broadcasting industry. How do you measure your success as a woman?
When I was younger, I committed myself to having an impactful media career that l envisioned would be my life’s work. I was told that, as a woman in broadcasting, I would have to make a career change when I reached the age of 30. Fortunately, I’m a woman who follows her own counsel, so I just worked even harder to achieve my goals. l made many mistakes along the way, and I always knew that I needed to constantly improve my skills. I believe I am still relevant today no matter the platform I choose – whether it’s on radio, television or social media platforms. I don’t see myself as being legendary though. I think I am just an established ‘brand’ on her way to being legendary. I understand why people say l am a legend, and I truly appreciate it.
Q: Tell us about your journey – how did your career begin and what do you love about being a woman in the spotlight – I’m sure it does come with its challenges?
I started out working in community radio whilst still attending High School. My first real broadcasting position was as a trainee radio presenter t Soweto Community radio. After that, I made a move to the now defunct The Voice of Soweto in downtown Joburg, where I presented the News. Since then I’ve hosted e.tv’s Morning Sunrise, women’s talk show Motswako on SABC 2, and the daily breakfast show on Massiv Metro, among others. I love being a catalyst for important and difficult conversations as we evolve as a people. I love having the opportunity to meet and possibly inspire people from all walks of life. When it comes to challenges, it’s no secret that l was marginalized and that definitely had an impact on my mental health. Ultimately though, it has made me the woman l am today.
Q: As a successful and glamorous woman in the spotlight, you wear many hats – mother, sister, friend, broadcaster, TV presenter and so much more. How have you managed to stand up to a world that tends to stereotype women into one-dimensional roles – and to show the world all that you are?
I wear all my hats with grace and humility and I always aim to add value, in whatever capacity l am working. Glamour is of course part of the package. I believe I am a good friend, but the role I enjoy most is that of being a mother. It’s the greatest blessing that God has given me. I have yet to be a wife and am looking forward to that, one day. I think I will be a good marriage partner.
Q: You have had your fair share of struggles to get to where you are today – what are some of the biggest challenges you have overcome and how have they made you stronger?
The biggest challenge I faced was losing confidence in myself and my belief that I am destined for a career in broadcasting – especially radio. This led to anxiety and depression. I had to learn how to manage these feelings and then work my way back to believing that I am worthy and capable. I did this through sheer perseverance and by making an impact through my work. I developed my own inner strength and compass, and this made me stronger. Now I know my worth and trust my intuition and I live by my Truth. I am committed to me and to living intentionally, day by day.
Q: The theme for the 1st episode of The Squadcast is Women’s Rights and Feminism and this resonates with the aims of Women’s Month. What is your take on Feminism? Do you think there is such a thing as being ‘too feminist’?
My take on Feminism is that as women we deserve equal opportunity to men in the workplace – we deserve to be paid exactly on par with men because as women, our contribution is just as valuable. I believe men and women who are in a position to do so, should use their voice for change, to ensure that women achieve equality in all spheres of life. This needs to happen in this lifetime. I don’t believe or agree with the statement ‘too feminist’. What does it even mean?
Q: How important is the role of the women in your life and why?
The women in my life are an important part of my life’s journey. My grandmother passed away in October last year. She was my guide to achieving self-reliance. As a young woman l watched her walk away from my grandfather’s homestead after an abusive incident. She chose her own path. She chose peace of mind and she gave me her blueprint for ‘self-love’. My mother is industrious, independent and confident, and has always set goals for herself. My sister, cousins, and friends are my support system. I have come to rely on and learn from each of them over the years. I am so grateful to be surrounded by beauty, brains, wisdom and love. I have a great connection with my peers in the media industry too. I believe in ‘sisterhood’. Period.
Q: I’m looking forward to viewing the 1st episode of The Squadcast on YouTube on Monday 9 August. What is the theme for this one, and what will the topics of conversation be around?
I am so excited about it! The role of host of The Squadcast is very important to me. I see The Squadcast as a space where women can find strength and support in a network of women connected across SA, and where they can find inspiration to succeed in their own lives. The theme is Feminism and Women’s Rights and the conversations will inspire our female viewers to show the world all that they can be. It’s about having the courage to let your voice be heard, and inspiring women to be true to themselves and to stand up to a world that tends to stereotype women into one-dimensional roles. I have always resisted this. We touch on topics like ‘‘Is the GBV situation in South Africa improving’ and ‘What does success look like for a modern woman’.
Watch the first episode here
Bernini supports responsible drinking and encourages all South Africans to consume alcohol responsibly, wherever they may be. Alcohol Not for sale to persons under 18 years.