As a young, soccer-mad boy living in rural KwaZulu-Natal, Robert Marawa listened to the commentary of local football derbies on a small, crackling FM radio. As a teenager, he spent hours practising his presenting skills on his family’s home video recorder, reading from newspaper clips his mother had carefully kept for him while he was at boarding school in Hilton. Marawa’s dream was to be a sportscaster who would be beamed into the homes of South Africa’s footballing fans.
Robert Marawa’s career has exceeded his wildest imagination. ‘Madluphuthu’ has become arguably South Africa’s most popular and most recognisable sports broadcaster. With his quick turn of phrase, his baritone voice and his direct, no-nonsense approach, he has earned a loyal following on radio and television over the past two decades.
In Gqimm Shelele, his signature sign-off phrase, Marawa shares his broadcasting journey from hosting World Cups and interviewing presidents to his multiple firings, controversial suspensions and what he believes are the political forces behind attempts to end his career. He confronts the cabal that has repeatedly driven him off air, the tabloid reports about his personal life and his multiple near-death experiences and health scares.
With his trademark passion, Marawa addresses issues of transformation, sports administration, mentorship, political leadership and why Bafana Bafana keeps failing to win. He also shares his insights on what has made him a successful and popular radio and television broadcaster, giving a much-anticipated, behind-the-scenes look at his career.