SuperSport presenter Lindiwe Dube says that being a tomboy when she was a little girl triggered her love for the beautiful game.
Today, she is a rising TV sports presenter and is grateful for that little piece of history that has shaped her life for the better.
"I spent a lot of time with boys and I was a bit of a tomboy when I was growing up," she says, gleefully. "That influenced my love for the sport. I started playing with dolls and girly toys later in life. Before, I would play marbles and spinning tops with the boys, I was that girl. Every weekend we would watch soccer at our dusty grounds, on TV, or watch the festive games in December. So, every weekend after my house chores, it was all about watching soccer."
Her story of growing up in a squatter camp has been well documented. She has had to work twice as hard, compared to some in the industry who were born with more access to opportunities.
"Growing up in an informal settlement in Daveyton taught me so much about life. I know how it feels not to have airtime. I know how it feels when someone sends you data so that you can apply for jobs. You learn to appreciate the basic things," she says.
"I'll forever be grateful for the love our mother gave to me and my three siblings (two sisters and a brother). Yes, our upbringing had many challenges, but as a single mother, she instilled in us the spirit of ubuntu and to respect people from all walks of life," she says.
Her face glows when she talks about her journey to the top. It started when, after two failed attempts, she finally cracked it and got into the YFM internship programme in 2012.
"But the contract ended and I did not have any offers for six months. I was just sitting at home applying for jobs and starting to lose hope. In 2014 the MultiChoice Diski Challenge presenter search was launched and SuperSport was looking for young and up-and-coming presenters. I took my chance and at the auditions, there were about 400 girls and because I did not have a job, I was a bit scruffy, while others had hair and makeup on fleek. But yeah, I did my thing and the rest, as they say, is history," she says.
She has since grown in leaps and bounds, having worked with veteran SuperSport presenters such as Carol 'first lady of sport' Tshabalala, Thato Moeng and Motshidisi Mohono. Dube has now covered the Absa Premiership, Telkom Netball League and the Vitality Netball World Cup last year.
"I want to take my career to the next level. I love to pace myself and I believe in hard work and not complacency. You cannot rest on your laurels, and I still want to grow with the SuperSport brand. I may have won the PSL Chairman's Award, but who am I? I spoke to Pitso Mosimane recently and I said, 'Coach, you've won just about everything'. He answered that Sir Alex Ferguson has won more trophies and still wants more — that's the mindset I have," she adds.
The high-spirited Dube looks up to Kaizer Chiefs marketing manager Jessica Motaung in the industry. "I love what Jessica has done with the Chiefs brand over the years. And also, the way she carries herself, she is very professional and has a high work ethic."
Does Dube have any advice for young women looking to break into the sports broadcasting world?
"They must listen to Carol Tshabalala who says that you must want it for the right reasons. You cannot cheat in sports, it's not like entertainment. You cannot just rock up on match day without having done research. As a woman, you want to show that you're knowledgeable about the game and not just a pretty face on TV. How you present yourself is very important, you need to command respect before you even open your mouth, you want people to respect you for your craft," she says.