HARD WORKING and constantly thriving to perfect her career - Anele Mdoda says she doesn’t believe in celebrating the beginning on things despite having the biggest year thus far in her career.
Since March loads has occurred for the 32-year-old, who was awarded the talk show host gong at the South African Film and Television Awards, while also being announced as the first lady to ever host a commercial radio breakfast show for 947 Highveld Stereo.
In the same month her show Real Talk with Anele, went from being aired at a dull hour to prime time and also started broadcasting live, something that has pilled on more work for Mdoda, but she is taking it at a stride.
“I do have too much to do ne?” she says but also doesn’t seem sure if it is or not.
She has just added a new gig where she is working on a television show with Thabo “Tbo Touch” Molefe - which will make this Mdoda’s third job. Well, it’s a fourth as she also has the toughest job of being a mother to 21-month-old Alakhe, whom she says she makes time for everyday no matter how busy her schedule seems.
She said she had everything planned down to the last 30minutes of her day which commences at 3:30am on weekdays which is when she has to host her breakfast show starting at 6am.
"My day starts at 3:30am in the morning, begrudgingly I will snooze my alarm once but I set two other alarms after that which I do not snooze. Then I wake up, shower, take my computer, bag, make a shake and I am out of the house.
“I drive to work and get to work by 4am, the team gets to work around 4:30am, we discuss the show and 6am show starts and the key is to be warm by 6am. You can tune in by six but I can’t tune into life at 6am, I must have tuned in by 4am.
"I would rather deal with the pain of waking up early than dealing with a show that wasn’t good because my team can see that I don’t handle a show that doesn’t go well at all, I immediately get depressed for a good five hours when this happens,” she said.
Once the show ends at 9am, Mdoda and her team will spend another two and a half hours debriefing and rating the show while also using the time to prepare for the following morning. And then she takes an hour off to spend time with her son, who she says she goes home to feel lunch and spend time with despite him being under the care of “two awesome nannies”.
“This is Alakhe’s time, even if he’s sleeping I will just get into bed with him and nap for an hour before I head to my next workplace,” said Mdoda.
This is where the magic of her television show happens, Steyn City, where her production company Cheeky Media shoots the talk show concept which is similar to Oprah Winfrey, Felicia Mabuza-Suttle or most recently Noleen Mahulwana-Sangqu’s concept.
Her’s is a younger spin, using cool urban words like lit, selfies and features big young names.
The day of the interview was exactly the same, from arriving at the location to the end, Mdoda oozed with spunk and dominating power over the entire set where she was to interview rapper Nasty C. Even he was shy in breaking out of his shell as he sat opposite Mdoda who constantly joked with the young rapper during commercial breaks.
But she is no diva, when her PA accidentally forgets to take a scarf off after a make-up artist leaves it just after a touch up, she chuckles hissing at him to get the scarf just seconds before the director of the show screamed “and we are live”.
And perhaps that is how Mdoda has maintained her staying power, by not being a diva, since she started radio in 2004 while she was a politics and international relations student at University of Pretoria a gig she worked with her friend and co-host Grant Nash. By 2007, the pair were scooped by Joburg based Highveld Stereo, a gig that only lasted about a year when they were snatched by national radio station 5FM in 2008.
That year, Mdoda was selected as part of the celebrity contestants of the fifth season of Strictly Come Dancing where she was partnered with professional dancer Brandon Eilers, a competition which she made it all the way to the finale, even though she never won, Mdoda’s television career started to flourish. The following year she was announced as the host of SA’s Got Talent alongside comic and actor Rob van Vuuren and in 2012 she got even more jobs as the judge for Miss South Africa pageant and for singing competition Clash of the Choirs.
In 2013 she hosted M-Net documentary realist series Dream School SA, before signing on to co-host the show Tongue in Cheek which was an epic fail - but it opened the channel for her to do her own talk show last year.
And some of the biggest moves in her career have happened and none might only hear of them after because Mdoda said she wasn’t one to “throw party launches and always announce what I am doing”.
“I started working the hardest when I was 25, that’s when my mom was sick, I acted out to avoid feeling the breakdown, by the time she passed away it was less traumatic and I was in there working away.
“I don’t believe in celebrating myself all the time especially not in the beginning. The beginning of something is not an event, the event is consistency and seeing the product going and growing constantly,” she said.
And she does this all while keeping her family and friends in tow.
She is the third child of four girls in her family with her eldest sisters Unathi, Thembisa (who’s know for hosting Our Perfect Wedding) and her youngest sister Zamalisa,a student in New York.
And two years ago they learned they were actually five children to her 60-year-old father who revealed he had an 11-year-old son Lulo who lived with his mother in Johannesburg.
“We only found out about our brother two years ago, he’s very dramatic like Zama but when it comes to my father I think Unathi is the favorite child while Zama is the most special.
“I can never tell with my father because when talks to me on the phone he makes me feel like the only child, but he gives us all our time in the sun. His motto to all of us, is that he’s only as happy as his unhappiest child,” she said.
When it comes to her friends, it’s without a doubt Anele is surrounded by a successful peers - comedian Trevor Noah, entrepreneur Sizwe Dhlomo, marketing head Khaya Dlanga and advertising guru Xolisa Dyeshana - who were dubbed the Fourways Mafia by blogger Mika Stefano in 2009. And they are pretty close, making time to see each other like recently the three remaining locally visited Noah in the USA.
“Before I my crazy schedule, Sizwe and I would always talk after his show at 11PM but that no longer happens and he always complains that I no longer have love for him but we’ve had o move our chat to 12midday, he’s like a brother to me,” said Mdoda.
And through it all, Mdoda’s son is what run her life and recently has made her make headlines first for having travelled abroad with the nanny and then for buying the nannies “Forence and MaNdlovu" a car. They are the two miracle worker’s who assist Mdoda in caring for her son
“I used to be a control freak at everything now I directed that to myself although Alakhe does control what I do now and i do my best to instill structure in him that he must abide by and teach him about work ethic in future.
“I never want my son to to feel like I was never a good enough role model for him, my son is happy because he is watching a happy person live her life which reflects in him because he is always happy,” said Mdoda.
FIVE FUN FACTS ABOUT ANELE
Why do you love Beyonce?
I love her work ethic
What come first to Anele?
What does Anele do to remain Anele?
Reflect, chastice, reprimand and sleep a lot. I spend most of my weekends sleeping, on Saturdays I don’t even bath, I spend the who weekend in my pajamas, reading and sleeping.
Who do you still yearn to interview on your show?
Oprah Winfrey, Graca Machel, Winnie Mandela, Michelle Obama, Mamphele Ramphele, President Jacob Zuma, khanyi Dhlomo, Shonda Rhimes and Glen Lewis.
What was your first pay check?
At my first job at 947 when I did a graveyard shift, I earned R4500 and I spent it on Creme de la Mere cream. - edited version of the article was published in Sunday Times LS Cover