Mmanaledi Mataboge: A Career as a politics reporter

Political senior reporter at Mail & Guardian, Mmanaledi Mataboge, talks about her career and life adventures!
Age: 32
Where on the planet are you currently located: Johannesburg
So what exactly is your job and how did you go about achieving that career path:
I studied Journalism at the former Technikon Northern Gauteng (now Tshwane University of Technology). I was driven by giving the disadvantaged poor a voice and for them to have access to information that matters, information that will help develop them. My career has led me from presenting my own radio show, to being the news and current affairs producer for Safm’s AM Live and Midday Live show's during the John Perlman, Nikiwe Bikitsha and Carolyn Dempster days. Then onto the eNews Channel’s launch team that produced the first News Night for Jeremy Maggs and Redi Direko to now being at M&G!

What’s a typical working day for you?
It begins with reading the newspapers, political stories being a priority, then making calls and attending meetings as part of gathering information for the stories I’m working on. It almost always ends in the evening, sometimes late at night, when I write the stories. Deadline days, such as a Wednesday, are the longest. The politics team sometimes works until after 23h00.
All jobs have challenges, what would you say are some of yours:
Getting people to trust you and to be able to give you that exclusive information for your story. The biggest one though, is dealing with people who take stories too personal and make you an enemy after you had published the story that doesn’t work in their favour.
Where do you see yourself in five years time:
Right now, I’m not thinking anything outside the newsroom, but fate will tell.
Do you believe in studying as a key to success in all careers:
I do, though my experience in different newsrooms taught me that qualifications do not do the job. Some people have got several qualifications, but their performance does not match their qualifications. I however would encourage anyone to study as that would be the first requirement for every job opportunity. ( says: well put!)
Do you have any career role models that helped motivate your success:
City Press editor-in-chief Ferial Haffajee, Simon Marks from the news agency Feature Story News in the US and former City Press editor-in-chief Mathatha Tsedu.
Highlights of your career so far:
Covering the ANC’s 2007 Polokwane conference, the founding of Congress of the People (Cope) in 2008 and the South African Communist Party’s special congress in December 2009. I learned a lot about our country’s politics.
Funniest moment of your career so far:
Getting on board the military’s Hercules C-130 aircraft and finding that the seats are made of some material that looks like fishing nets, there is no toilet on the plane, there is no flight attendant and communication with the passenger is limited to an irritatingly noisy siren. I laughed every time I looked around the aircraft during our two-hour flight to Bloemfontein. I however fell in love with the aircraft after that trip.
Okay serious questions over:
If you weren’t a Scorpion you would be a cheetah.
How many countries have you travelled through in the last 5 years: Three – the Czech Republic, Zimbabwe and Italy.
What is your favourite movie, website and book: Mamma Mia,, And so say all of us by Robyn Goss
If you could live on and have your very own planet what would you name it: Scorpilano
Do you have any role models past and present who inspire you:  My late mom, City Press editor-in-chief Ferial Haffajee, Sowetan columnist and HIV activist Lucky Mazibuko and former SA deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
What message do you have for the youth of the world: We are the future, let’s not waste our lives with things that would not benefit us and the next generations.