Lesedi FM’s Twasa on her 20-year-long career – ‘I don’t find being controversial exciting’
Seipati “Twasa” Seoke. (Photo: DRUM)
She didn’t know if she’d have a job when the radio station she worked for shuffled their line-up, but it turns out Seipati “Twasa” Seoke had nothing to worry about.
Lesedi FM didn’t only renew her contract – she’s become such a hit on the airwaves that she was crowned queen of breakfast radio at the recent Liberty Radio Awards. When she pops into DRUM’s offices for a catch-up, the pint-sized radio host is a bundle of energy, despite her long day.
Twasa rises long before the crack of dawn so listeners can tune into her Monate Breakfast Show from 6am-9am, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Radio is home for me, I don’t feel like I’m tired or I’m at a job,” she tells us. “I can count the days I’ve been off-air or off sick. My listeners go crazy when they don’t hear me, they ask where I am.”
Twasa started her radio career in 1999 but became a household name when she replaced Vinolia “V-Mash” Mashego on SABC1’s hit music show Jam Alley back in 2002. She found fame on TV, but radio has always been her first love. “I’ve built credibility with the listeners. They trust me and come to me for advice.”
The broadcaster has barely aged from her days as a TV presenter. “I haven’t aged because fitness is my life,” she says. “I go to gym every day, not to lose or gain weight. I go because that’s what I do every day without fail. It’s a lifestyle.”
This year Twasa celebrates turning 40 and her 20-year radio career, but she doesn’t look a day over 30 thanks to her healthy lifestyle. It’s all because of a childhood pact she and her brother made while flipping through old pictures of their parents.
“We saw how they gained weight through the years, and decided how we wanted to look at 40. We started going to gym and eating well.”
Her hard work has paid off. It’s hard to imagine the sexy, successful radio personality has been single for two decades. She’s had one relationship in the past 20 years, but things didn’t work out. Twasa would love nothing more than to have a family “but I’m not going to have a child because my biological clock is ticking. A child deserves both parents and I will wait for as long as I can.
“I get asked a lot when I am getting married. I don’t know, but I can’t wait.”
She’s been single for half her life “but just because I’m single doesn’t mean I’m a virgin”, she blushes. “Because I’m a born-again Christian I’m only allowed to have sex after marriage, but I do have a crush.
“Eish this guy doesn’t see he’s my crush, though. I’ll wait, maybe he’ll get it one day because I’m too old-school to ask a guy out.”
She’s no stranger to the dating scene, but Twasa simply hasn’t found Mr Right.
“I’m looking for someone who sees me as an equal,” she says. “A person who wants to see me succeed and doesn’t just see a successful person, someone who wants to build with me and grow old with me.”
She plans to stay celibate until she meets her dream guy.
“Sexual purity is important. I’ve kept my church leaders close to me and they’ve helped to keep me accountable.”
Her faith has always kept her grounded. Eight years ago, Twasa opened up about being raped when she was six years old. “I didn’t know it was rape then, but I realised what it was as an adult and I decided to come out with it for my own healing,” she says.
The experience had long-reaching effects. “It made me angry. I didn’t hate men but for many years I was very competitive with men.”
She sought counselling for her anger issues and her faith also helped her find peace. “Had I not been a religious person, I would’ve been very rebellious.
“I don’t live my life this way because I’m special, but because I’ve always been aware of the power of choice because it comes with consequences,” she says.
“I haven’t given myself the room to misbehave, I don’t find being controversial exciting.”
She’s a stickler for rules but Twasa admits she’s made some bad decisions in the past. “I know when people see me they think boring, goody two-shoes, healthy, perfect, but that’s not always the case. I’ve had some expensive lessons.
“If I was money-wise growing up, I would’ve been further than I am with my life and career. I would have paid off my bond much quicker. I wouldn’t have taken a balloon payment option on my car. But at least I learnt those lessons and ditched the big Mercedes for a smaller vehicle I could afford.”
She’s been doing a lot of introspection after losing her beloved father, “Bra Chips” Seoke, who passed away on 10 April. He was buried on his birthday, 17 April – a few days before Twasa was honoured by her industry peers at the Liberty Radio Awards.
“I wish he was there to see that moment,” she says.
Days before his passing, Twasa visited her father at his sickbed in QwaQwa. “Those 10 days were the best. I got to say my goodbyes. I told him how proud I was of him and how he has done so well in raising his children.
“His passing left me with a unique appreciation for time and who I give my time to.”
Her father has always been her rock. When she was eight, Twasa’s mother, Ntaoleng Seoke, died of natural causes, leaving her father to raise her on his own until he remarried.
It took a village to raise her. “When my mom died, the community stepped in,” Twasa says. “My former teacher taught me how to wear pantyhose and how to choose a bra. Another teacher took over plaiting my hair. My former pastor’s wife taught me how to use sanitary pads, how to stay clean and how to carry myself as a woman. “I was raised by the community.”
When Twasa was 16 her father married her stepmother, Agnes-Manoni Seoke, who she loves like a biological mom. “She’s the only parent I have left, Twasa says. “My parents have lived a good life. I hope to meet a man like my father one day.”