The first lady of sport, Carol Tshabalala graced the cover of BONA in August 2014 as a formidable woman in sport, as an anchor. Her star has grown from strength to strength having achieved major career milestones. Today, South Africans hooked on the 2018 FIFA World Cup get to see her regularly on their screens. We look back at our interview with her where she revealed a few things we didn’t know about her.
Why she’s not Manana
Carol was married for six years to her first love and got divorced in December 2006 while she was pregnant with her second son, Solomon. Carol expressed that she felt trapped in her marriage for the longest time and had to get out. Overall, the marriage was one where she was emotionally and physically abused. In 2011 when she left SABC Sport to join SuperSport, Carol used this opportunity to start afresh and use her maiden surname, Tshabalala. Carol Tshabalala is who she is now.
How she survives being a woman in a man’s game
For years, Carol had been the female face of SABC Sport, but says it was difficult at first, trying to get respect from fans as a young black woman presenting sports. She had to work twice as hard as her male colleagues, but the fans and some of her colleagues were ruthless and doubted her knowledge of the game. Coaches and the athletes weren’t used to her and doing interviews in the dressing rooms was awkward. It was a lonely journey in the beginning. “When I started in sports, I looked at my male counterparts and thought, why can’t women do this? Being one of the first few female sports anchors in the world motivated me to start a trend and break the mould.” she says.
Why she left SABC Sport for SuperSport
Ten years after being with SABC Sport, Carol decided to join the pay channel SuperSport in 2011. “The channel gave me an opportunity, I grew my career within it and that’s something I’ll always be grateful for. However, when the 2010 World Cup arrived, I thought there would be an opportunity for me to really shine. But I didn’t. I remember Walter Mokoena and Tshepo Mabona were given chances to anchor, which I didn’t have a problem with. It bothered me that the channel didn’t have enough confidence in me to consider me for such a momentous event. I wasn’t used to my full potential at the SABC and that’s why I left.” Confessed Carol.
She loves being a mom
Despite her fame and success on screen, Carol’s a mom first. She’s got three sons, Joel (16), Mpho (14) – her late sister’s son whom she’s taken in and considers her own – and her youngest, Solomon (11). They’re sports fanatics too, and proud of mom and her work. “I’m still a mom even if I’m on another continent. We Skype every day and I make sure homework is done at all times.”