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'I'm grateful' — Penny Lebyane talks about her 28 years in broadcasting and longevity

“I'm grateful to be doing what I love, and loving what I do.”

Penny Lebyane said although things have improved, there's still a long way to go
Penny Lebyane said although things have improved, there's still a long way to go
Image: Instagram/ Penny Lebyane

Seasoned broadcaster Penny Lebyane has been in the broadcasting space for 28 years now and as Mzansi commemorates Workers' Day on Sunday Penny shares with TshisaLIVE what she is grateful for in the many decades she has been behind the mic.

Workers’ Day has been officially recognised and observed since the first democratic elections in 1994.

Though she recognises the strides made in the work space, Penny admitted there is more that needs to be done.

“There's been a lot of progress I would say that and definitely things can continue to improve, but it's still got a long way. I mean right now I'm working in Cape Town and it totally feels different from the experience that I've had in Johannesburg in terms of how things happen on set.

“Things like gender balance to representation and inclusivity. I think I always wear the different caps based on the work that I do so I look at things through that lens. So I wear the gender lens, I wear the LGBTQI+ plus representation and what I understand about issues around enabling environments or mental health so people can be able to function at their optimal best. And it's all based on what's happening on set and you know long hours and things like that,” she said.

The holiday serves both as a celebration of workers’ rights and a commemoration of the progress made, Penny says more education is needed for new people joining the world of showbiz.

“We need a lot more people who are getting into the industry to understand  what are their rights vs what they have believed to be industry norms that perpetuate abusive behaviour and exploitive experiences. This industry is very exploitive and that just leads to people not performing at their optimum and the mentality of people pulling each other down, stepping on each other to remain at a certain level where if things were open and regulated, things would be clear. Understanding things like fees and rates for people who are starting out vs people who are established, there's a lot that needs to be done.”

She is a TV host, radio presenter, an MC and an activist of mental health, LGTBQI+ and many other causes. She dons many hats and is grateful for where she is in her life right now.

“I'm grateful for the opportunity to tell SA stories, to be part of empowering to be part of bringing difficult conversations to the fore, and enabling people to navigate through taboo subjects. Being a voice and a personality that can be trusted with sensitive issues and also shaping the trajectory of women in media and telling African and black stories from a SA context and popular culture.

“I'm grateful that I still have work 28 years later and I'm grateful to work going forward and I have been able to look after my family with the remuneration under difficult circumstance. I'm grateful to be doing what I love, and loving what I do. I'm excited about the opportunities that I'm getting, like working on Honey [TV] now which is a continental platform and I've always been committed doing work that speaks to the regular content and showing up as a South African to the rest of the continent and the world as myself.”


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