The Courage To Forge New Paths
Good Housekeeping South Africa|November - December 2019
When Basetsana Kumalo was crowned Miss South Africa in 1994, she quickly became the face of the country’s new democracy. In this extract from her autobiography, Bassie shares her experience of becoming the first black presenter of Top Billing - the first step in her journey to build ing a media empire

To this day, I remember the first shoot I did for Top Billing. I don’t know how many takes I had to do. We worked probably 10 hours just for a one-hour show. I can still see the red-and black chequered pantsuit I was wearing as host Neil McCarthy and I walked down the staircase and delivered our first link. Well, Neil walked down the staircase – I tripped down it! You basically had to glide down and simultaneously deliver your lines and make it look effortless. I couldn’t even get my words right. It was a complete mess.

But I stuck with it and learnt as I went along. It took me a long time to really perfect my craft and to feel comfortable in front of the camera. The tough thing about television for me was that I had to learn on the job, live, in front of a television audience. I didn’t necessarily feel comfortable or confident, more like I was winging it, but I absolutely knew that I wanted to do it. I understood what a great opportunity it presented.

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