Growing up in the small village of Dithakong East, 15km outside Mafikeng, a young Thabiso Khambule would sit for hours recording his own voice, editing his ‘reports’ and then playing them back to himself – loving the sound of hearing his own voice ‘on the radio’. Today he is a familiar voice to thousands of Jacaranda FM listeners as he guides them through the traffic each day with his traffic reports.
A career in radio was always within me,” says Khambule. “But it seemed there were so many people following this career that I decided to choose an alternative route, studying travel and tourism with Boston City Campus & Business College instead.”
His choice of Boston was based on two reasons, firstly his sister referred him to Boston and said it was very good and secondly it was Khambule’s observation that most of the students at Boston that he knew were able to get a job after completing their studies as they had good practical experience as well as theoretical knowledge.
“I chose travel and tourism because after school I had a temporary job that took me around all nine provinces. I loved it and wanted to experience more about travel both in South Africa and abroad.”
In the long run this has provided a fantastic foundation for the job Khambule now finds himself in, as traffic reporter for Jacaranda FM.
“I must also add that the travel and tourism course was broad in that you completed a broad range of subjects which included n computers and accounting. These skills can be applied to any job or career, in fact I use these skills daily in my job and my life,” he says.
Getting his blessed break in radio was a game of patience and persistence but it paid off in the end.
“One of the people I really admire is DJ Fresh, who himself graduated at Boston. So I called him to ask how to get into radio. He invited me into the studio and showed me around. I spent quite a bit of time visiting and observing and while I tried to get a job at stations such as Metro and 5FM. It was Fresh who suggested widening my search to other stations including Jacaranda FM, as I am totally fluent in both English and Afrikaans,” explains Khambule.
He followed his mentor’s advice and while he did not get his foot in the door straight away, he finally got the station manager to listen to his demo and the rest is history.
After two months of training, Khambule made his debut traffic report on Jacaranda FM and his dream of hearing his voice on the airwaves became a reality.
“I love my job – I am responsible for monitoring various traffic services, putting the traffic report together and giving this information out on air. I really enjoy helping people through the traffic and the response from listeners is great. You feel so good when you have made someone’s day a bit easier by getting them to work or home safely and with less stress,” he says.
Khambule also enjoys the interaction with the DJ’s, especially icons like Barney Simon with whom he has built a special relationship. However, this rising star has big plans for the future – he has proved himself at Jacaranda and he is currently on the Breakfast show after moving from the daytime traffic slot. He also hopes to one day get his own show and TV is also on his agenda.
“I am excited about the future and my message to youngsters starting out is that they need to realise they need patience and they need to be dedicated – whether it is to their studies or to their job. Never take “no” for an answer and keep chasing after your dream.”
Khambule believes that he has a lot to thank Boston for as they provided a sound grounding and prepared him well for the working world. He comments that the head master and the vice headmaster of Boston in Arcadia, where he studied, pushed him to achieve his full potential by giving him a lot of input both academically and personally.
Commenting on the world of radio, he is realistic saying that every job has its ups and downs but having the right attitude makes all the difference. He adds that it is a competitive environment and when you first get into it, your colleagues can sometimes seem threatened but once you have proved yourself and found your niche it is really great!