katlego maboe tv personality interview Perkolate Online

January 2017. Interview by Marelise Jacobs. Cover: Katlego Maboe - Courtesy of Fabrizia Degli Esposti. Photograph by Michael Le Grange.

Having been awarded the SAFTA Presenter of the Year two years in a row, Katlego Maboe has grown year-on-year into a well-known TV personality, singer, MC, and actor. Fluent in Setswana, English and Afrikaans, Maboe is accompanied by an on-point sense of humour and maneuvers effortlessly around any given situation. We spoke to Katlego, whose biggest passion by far has always been music, about his plans are for the future now that he has reached the thirty-year milestone.

Now that you've reached the thirty year mark, are there different goals you will be chasing?

Katlego Maboe: The goals essentially in terms of my career and so on are the same. I'm thinking a lot more maturely, in terms of my pursuit of one day wanting to have a family. I think what's most important, what's most different now for me, is that it feels that all of it comes with a lot more clarity and sanity, compared to the frantic years before. I feel a lot more clear minded, I guess purposeful, more so convinced of my purpose. Without being too philosophical about it, that's what I find.

I thought I might regret turning thirty as one does, you think oh my gosh, it's the beginning of the end, that's what people say. But it's just the beginning of it all really. I feel like I understand so much more of who I am and who I want to be at this stage than before.

“...I feel like I understand so much more of who I am and who I want to be at this stage than before...” - Katlego Maboe

Where did your singing career begin?

Katlego Maboe: The singing started way before my university years, back in school. I used to be part of the North West Children's Choir and the the North West Youth Choir. I've always been part of school choirs, school reviews and production groups. That part of my life has always been alive and kicking since as far back as I can remember. Even my mom says when I was much younger, when she used to carry me on her back I used to hum songs from church, so singing has always been a really big part of my life. The acapella group Flip a Coin started when I met the dudes in University and that's when we started pursuing it as an actual career.

Success came with that and it was a huge blessing to us all because that's essentially how I found my way into the broadcasting industry. I was getting the chance to audition for TV shows and that's when I had my first job on De Kat which was about six or seven years ago. Every TV job that I had done subsequently has been as a follow up of that. With people that I work with appreciating what I do and how I do it and leading to them saying hey, give this guy a chance, let's see what he can do in this kind of medium and in live TV and pre-recorded television, in nature and wildlife. I was given a chance and fortunately I was able to deliver when the calling came.

You are currently a presenter on the SABC 3 breakfast show Expresso, what time does your day start?

Katlego Maboe: Between half past three and four o'clock is the time that I usually get up in the morning. We are on set between five o'clock and half past five and in that time we have final preparations, sorting out wardrobe and make-up and hair and technical run through, or at least revisions of certain segments of the live shows that might have changed that you need to be aware of. Prepping the first guest, hopefully getting the first cup of coffee in and by six o'clock we go live to the country.

Speaking of behind the scenes, do you have input on who goes on the show?

Katlego Maboe: Yes, certainly. There has been many occasions where I have perhaps seen a music group or an artist or an interesting guest that I think makes great content for the show. A lot of the time those suggestions are not only considered but they take you very seriously on board and people end up being on the show.

And of course we have an entire production team that is responsible for sourcing content according to themes. Sponsors also play a big role in the show as well but we as presenters certainly have a lot of input and certainly take on board a lot of responsibility with regards to the content of the show.

Being on an early morning show means you have a very demanding schedule to keep to every day, how do stay focused and motivated?

Katlego Maboe: I think it's because everyday I make the choice to do it, and of course there are times when it's not that easy. When you are suffering difficult times personally, whether family tragedy or whatever the case may be, but you understand once again the purpose of why you're doing what you're doing.

The fact that God has given you an opportunity to perhaps make a difference in somebody else's life that might need your motivation, your energy, your inspiration on that day and not performing that task or that duty you are denying somebody else a potentially life-changing moment. You'll be surprised at how people are affected by the smallest things, times of where you're not even aware that you're doing it but it affects somebody else's life.

For the time that I'm on screen and that I'm dealing with personal tragedy or whatever that may be, I made the choice to be on air, and so I owe it to the people that tune in to our show to give them my best and nothing less. Everything else that I need to deal with, I'll deal with in my own good time when I have the time to do so, but the motivation comes from knowing that I've got a responsibility. Not just to my family and my friends, but to my audience and ultimately to God because without him it wouldn't be possible. He gave me the talent, the abilities and the opportunities to be able to do this.