Presenter

Bongani Bingwa

Bongani Bingwa is the host of the Breakfast show on 702. He is the former Afternoon Drive show host. Before joining 702 he was a presenter and journalist on Carte Blanche.

For the last ten years, he has been a presenter and journalist for South Africa's longest running investigative television programme Carte Blanche. He has interviewed thought leaders, senior politicians, and captains of industry, authors, celebrities and high flyers on the global stage. Not a few wrongdoers have come under the glare of his probing questioning for the show.

Bongani Bingwa’s passion for broadcasting began at young age in 1993 when he worked as a presenter for children’s television on SABC’S TV1. He quickly progressed to hosting adult content on shows like Your Own Business and on DSTV’s Channel O.

For the last ten years he has been a presenter and journalist for South Africa's longest running investigative television programme Carte Blanche. He has interviewed thought leaders, senior politicians, and captains of industry, authors, celebrities and high flyers on the global stage. Not a few wrongdoers have come under the glare of his probing questioning for the show.

His career as a journalist began in 2005 on Talk Radio 702 as a News Anchor and quickly progressed to hosting his own show Talk At Nine. He is a recognized industry leader and was highlighted among a select few journalists and media specialists for Vanity Fair's July 2007 Africa feature.

He studied politics and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UNISA.

Follow Bongani on Twitter @bonglez

Find out more about Bongani...

Q: What is the best advice you have ever received about radio and TV presenting? Be yourself. People want to engage with you. They want to know how you’re feeling, what you think, your perspective, your views. You’re in their homes, you’re in their cars, you’re in their ears, you are in their intimate space, so they want to feel that they are comfortable around you. Hopefully, they might even like you or even if they don’t at the very least they respect you, but they’ve got to know who they are dealing with, so you have to be yourself.

Q: Which medium is your favourite, radio or television? In a live environment, you are dealing with the same kind of things, but I suppose radio gives you the luxury of not worrying about what you look like or what you are wearing or even your expressions – everything on television counts. I might be interviewing somebody that perhaps I don’t really like and my responses in terms of my body language and non-verbal cues say a lot. So on television, you got to be aware and you’ve got be alive to those things. Radio is a lot more fun, you can be a lot more relaxed – you roll your eyes, you make notes, you remonstrating ways that the other person will never know.

Q: What is your pre-show routine? The exciting thing about being back in a live environment is that news is going to break quite constantly, particularly on the Afternoon Drive, so there’s that sense of you’re really need to be plugged in about to what is going on. There is going to be that moment, there is going to be that day that no matter how prepared you think you are that might throw you off.

The night Mandela died, everyone and their uncle in media had an ‘M-plan’. We had been thinking about it for years. The night he died I went to bed early I didn’t know about it until the next morning. I got a call from my boss who said, “I want Thabo Mbeki in studio on Sunday” and he dropped the phone and I’m thinking “Oh wow like I’ve got him on speed dial”. Obviously, we made a few calls and the answer was get a crew to Thabo Mbeki’s house, here’s the address, in half an hour. This is exactly what I said to [my boss] and then I put my phone down. The tricky part was that there was some water failure in my neighbourhood. There was no water! This is the day that I get to sit with Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela has died, the country needs to know what is going on and I didn’t wash! I hadn’t showered, but you know you put on your clothes and you show up and you engage. That interview went out that very afternoon on television because obviously, we went live on that Friday Afternoon. So no matter how prepared you are there is always something in the background that viewers and listeners will perhaps never know about until an interview like this.

Q: What is on your bucket list? I don’t have a bucket list because every day is a new day. I am an in-the-moment person. I’ve got ideas, I’ve got plans, but I’m here, I am present.

Q: What do you look forward to most about hosting the Afternoon Drive? I can’t wait to talk! I can’t wait to talk to the callers, I can’t wait to talk to the listeners. I have had the privilege of working on Carte Blanche for the last 10 years and our particular strength, along with the investigate pieces, but to provide analysis. People sit in front of their television screens and they think “I kind of heard what happened on the read, but what does it mean?” That’s a powerful way of telling stories, that is a powerful way to inform people about what is going on, but it is not immediate, it is not as it happens when it happens. I want to be part of that conversation. There are people who are smart, there are people who are informed, there are people who are challenging, there are people who have crazy views and they are all part of the conversation. This is what I am most excited about for this opportunity is that I’m going to be talking directly to them as events unfold. We are gonna learn together, we’re gonna disagree, we’re gonna grow together and we are gonna unpack it together in real time. That for me is the most exciting part of this opportunity. I want to talk!

Q: What type of person are you at the dinner table? Am I the life of the part at the dinner table or am I the listener? I think if you are a person who is curious, who is interested in what is going on you have to be a little bit schizo. There are days where I am the fly on the wall and I want to listen, particularly if I think people are not going to speak once I have spoken. So there are times when I am the fly on the wall, there are times I will just throw one or two questions and kind of get the ball rolling and let people speak. Because also the other thing is that when you are in the media you always want people around you to be able to feel that they too can be heard. It can’t be your show, especially around a dinner table. But of course there are moments where no, I will not allow that, not in my presence, not at my table, I will challenge that. Let’s go, come, duke ‘em up, you and me baby, you said that, you are not getting away with it. It’s a bit of both.

Q: How do you unwind? A good glass of red wine is a prerequisite. Music! Music is a big part of my brain, it’s a big part of how I relax and ultimately being surrounded by family. There is nothing like being home and your kids are just excited to see you, because they are not interested in what you think, they just want daddy. And when I get home and I leave it all behind and I walk through the front door, even when you feel tired just that second there’s that smile that greets you.

Q: What is your favourite soul food? A food that I eat that reminds me of a good time[and] childhood, is probably a food I shouldn’t eat. Amagwinya Nolusu (vetkoek and tripe), oh yeah, you want to kill me? That is what you put on the table.

Q: What music are you listening to? I find the Chainsmokers the hottest thing right now, so that is what I’m bending my ear to now.

Watch the video below:

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