News & Media

"Unisa is an environment for growth and opportunities"

The zestful and multi-talented media personality, Luyolo Mkalipi, says he is grateful to Unisa for the experience gained at the institution’s radio station, which advanced his media career. Mkalipi is a former Unisa Radio volunteer and an alumnus of the institution, having completed a National Diploma in Entrepreneurship in 2016.

Luyolo Mkalipi

Established in 2008, Unisa Radio is a talk radio station that strives to bridge the gap between the university and its communities, such as employees, students and management. It provides a channel for these stakeholders to articulate Unisa’s vision, raise concerns and seek resolutions for immediate problems. The station’s vision is "The African voice, it’s all about you" and it strives to educate, entertain and inform the youth and Unisa communities about Unisa, general higher education matters, as well as current affairs. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for Unisa students to gain practical exposure and training in broadcasting.  

Mkalipi is a proud beneficiary of the radio station’s practical broadcasting exposure and training. "I was taught to produce and present radio shows mainly focusing on sports, then current affairs. I also had an opportunity to learn more about social media and cover various sports events across Pretoria." Excited about Unisa’s 150-year milestone this year, Mkalipi urges the university to continue providing learning opportunities to its communities. He remarks: "Unisa should embrace the evolving world and remain an environment for opportunities."

Making a name for himself in the media industry

Having grown up without much, Mkalipi says that he and his grandmother owned a radio set and as he kept listening to it, he became intrigued by the medium. Briefly reflecting on how he joined Unisa Radio, Mkalipi states: "It was a coincidence as I was accompanying a fellow-student to the radio station to enquire about it." He continues: "The then Programmes Manager, Talifhani Munzhedzi, asked me if I was interested in radio and if I knew sports. The next day, he asked me to script something for former show presenter, Edgar Rathelele, about a previous Manchester United game."

After graduating at Unisa, Mkalipi says that he joined TEAMtalk Media in Cape Town as a sports journalist (2016 to 2017), while simultaneously working as an African sports correspondent for Ubuntu Radio at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. He adds: "In late 2017, I joined the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s SAfm as a sports producer, then later moved to one of the largest radio stations in South Africa, Umhlobo Wenene FM, as a sports producer and on-air contributor." Mkalipi notes that he joined TruFM as a sports presenter in 2021 and is currently a sports presenter and co-host of its TruBreakfast Show.

"I continue to develop and make a name for myself as a sports programme director and have hosted several Athletics South Africa-affiliated programmes such as Eastern Province Athletics runs," he remarks. Among other honours, Mkalipi was also the programme director and announcer for the 2022 Council of Southern Africa Football Associations’ Women's Championships in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.

He asserts that he found Unisa convenient as a leading open and distance e-learning institution as he preferred to study while working on a part-time basis. So, this mega-university that reclaims African intellectual futures provided him with the flexibility. "I was, therefore, able to ease the financial pressure on my parents and was able to move from the Eastern Cape to Gauteng," he maintains.

Mkalipi encourages Unisa students to volunteer in their respective fields to gain the required work experience. "Embrace the opportunity to explore and learn a new skill," he concludes. "You will never know where it takes you, you might even make a career out of it."

#Unisa150      #Unisa150Stories

* By Nancy Legodi, Acting Senior Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2023/02/20

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