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Vaylen the princess of sport

2017-09-28 07:00
Vaylen Kirtley (Photo: Gallo)
Vaylen Kirtley (Photo: Gallo)

TV PRESENTER Vaylen ‘Nkosazana’ Kirtley graces our mornings with her daily dose of sport reporting on one of South Africa’s biggest shows, Morning Live, on SABC2. But while growing up, the mother of one, who has become a force to be reckoned with in her field, had no plans of being a sports broadcaster, let alone a media all-rounder.

GROWING UP

The Cape Town-born presenter, who has lived in Joburg even before starting primary school, recalls wanting to feed her love for animals and the outdoors by becoming a veterinarian (animal doctor). But as most children do, she changed her mind as she was growing up and fell in love with drama and communication because she wanted to tell stories through being an actress. Nonetheless, she had always been very sporty as a child.

PREDOMINANTLY A MALE PLAYGROUND

She says sports broadcasting chose her and not the other way around. It was with the SABC sports department, formerly called Top Sport, that she got her first opportunity to do something sports-related on national television with a junior sports show called SportsBuzz. “I grabbed the chance to do the two things I love; be involved in sports and television broadcasting,” she says about her break into the industry. But her journey has not been without challenges, especially as it is predominantly male dominated. However, she takes it in her stride and is not intimidated at all. “Half of my life has been about broadcasting, with sports as the content. It is so much a part of me that I don’t feel I am out of place despite it being predominantly a male environment,” she assures. She has become a sought-after talent and the SABC saw it fit that she replaces Minnie Dlamini on SoccerZone. “They asked me to get involved with the show,” she excitedly shares and assures her fans that she’s not leaving the other shows. Asked about challenges she's faced as a woman in sport, she uses the opportunity to advocate for other women in sport and calls on the powers that be to support and sponsor women’s sport.

THE LIGHT OF HER LIFE

Other than sports broadcasting, there is another love in her life and that is her daughter. She says there are no words to describe how her daughter, Tehya, has changed her life. “My daughter, who turned 10 in December, is the light of my life, and motherhood has had the most profound impact on my life, one that I am incredibly grateful for,” she says. Just like her mother did with her, Vaylen will not dictate what her daughter should be when she grows up. “I always encourage her to follow her heart and be the best she can be in the career she chooses. She is a smart child and I know that with passion for whatever she chooses to do, she will be successful,” she concludes.

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