The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) flagship morning current affairs programme Morning Live, is celebrating a two decade milestone today. The show which is simulcast on terrestrial television channel SABC 2 and on SABC News Channel (DStv channel 404), is the longest running breakfast show in South Africa, representing people from all walks of life.

Over the years, Morning Live has evolved from being a magazine show to being a current affairs programme and is known for being a trusted daily source of information and a platform of public interest for all South Africans.

The show which is completely produced within the SABC carries daily stories centered on issues of socio-economic, political, financial markets, science and technology, crime and educational matters, sports news, live weather and traffic reports. It has also contributed to the development of the arts industry, by showcasing talented emerging and established artists through countless live performances.

Phathiswa Magopeni
Photo by: Lungelo Mbulwana

Ms Phathiswa Magopeni, Group Executive: News and Current Affairs stated “as we celebrate this important milestone of being on air for 20 years, Morning Live intends taking its audiences on a journey down memory lane dating back from 1 November 1999. Tommorow’s special broadcast of Morning Live will showcase the incredible impact the show has had in the lives of South Africans, by not only being the nation’s alarm clock on details on the news agenda for the day, but by being a continuous reflection of our country’s democracy and its diversity through its current and credible content.”

Being fully established in the digital space, Morning Live intends to go beyond its second decade as a platform for national debates and conversations amongst the millennial and perennials; affirming its role as a citizen-centric news show, with a responsive temperament to the news and information needs of the public.”

Morning Live Presenters Biographies

Leanne Manas

Multiple award-winning TV presenter, radio host, MC and style icon, Leanne Manas, is a renowned leader on the South African media circuit. From Oprah Winfrey to Nelson Mandela, Leanne has interviewed an impressive range of public figures, heads of state, thought-leaders and local and international celebrities during her decade-long onscreen career.

She is instantly recognizable as the face of SABC 2’s flagship breakfast show, Morning Live, a hard-hitting news broadcast that she has anchored since 2004. Prior to taking on this demanding role, Leanne found recognition presenting a number of prominent business shows including SABC 3’s Business Update and Business Focus.

Her ability to move seamlessly between media platforms can, in part, be contributed to her roots, having started her career as a weekend and late night news anchor for Talk Radio 702. She has since done extensive work for South Africa’s leading radio stations including Radio Algoa, Jacaranda FM, SAfm and East Coast Radio.

Driven by her passion for her birthplace and fellow South Africans, Leanne reached even greater heights, both personally and prefessionaly, on Mandela Day 2015 when she summited Africa’s highest point, Mount Kilimanjaro, during a successful fundraising expedition. She was handpicked by Former President Nelson Mandela to be among the powerful and influential faces of the 46664 campaign. She is also a High Level Influencer for the UNHCR and does work on the continent to highlight the plight of the African Refugee.

An impressive career met with unwavering professionalism has seen Leanne take on the role as MC and guest speaker at functions for several high-profile corporations, among them Emirates, Mercedes, Vodacom, Nedbank and Carducci.

Leanne received her Speech and Drama teaching diploma from the prestigious London Trinity College. She also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Communications with Honours in English. Her interest in finance journalism led her to completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Economics Journalism from Rhodes University in South Africa.

She was appointed a UNHCR GoodWill Ambassador at the beginning of 2019.

  • Sakina Kamwendo

   Sakina Kamwendo is the co-anchor, with Leanne Manas, of SABC2’s flagship breakfast show ‘Morning Live’ which is on air from 6 to 9am every weekday. Prior to that she was the host of SAfm’s flagship show AMLive which aired from 6 to 9 am. Sakina can still be heard on SAFM’s midday show, Update at Noon. Sakina is also an award-winner for the work she did on METRO FM’s ‘Talk with Sakina’ which was voted the ‘Best News & Actuality Show’ at the MTN Radio Awards for 2 years in a row. Sakina’s radio journey started at Radio Eldos, a community station in Eldorado Park. Her big break came when Talk Radio 702 allowed her to screen calls for the overnight show, but she soon moved on to produce weekend and then early breakfast shows – and all this while still holding down a fulltime job at the Maths Centre.

When she was offered the position as Traffic Reporter on the David O’Sullivan Show, she decided to quit the Maths Centre to concentrate on broadcasting full time. In addition to traffic, Sakina also hosted the“graveyard slot”at 702 which gave the station’s management the confidence in her ability to ask her to “stand in” on other shows and to produce the legendary ‘John Robbie Show’.

  • Simphiwe Ncongwane
Simphiwe Ncongwane

In 13 years of journalism & broadcasting, Simphiwe Ncongwane has covered the major political and economic events of the day. High profile exclusive interviews include African leaders such as Swaziland’s King Mswati III, Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Outtara, Cabinet Ministers, African Ambassadors and other political leaders. He anchored over the live broadcast of the State of the Nations Addresses, covered the 2014 and 2019 general elections, the 2016 local government elections, presented the pre-election show and presented at the Gauteng IEC Results Operations Centre.

A public speaker, MC of note and dialogue moderator, Simphiwe has hosted high profile events for corporate companies and government departments locally and internationally. He was recently the MC and moderator for UNFPA as they celebrated 50 years of existence, South African Breweries/AB InBev’s annual launch of “#NoExcuse”, a Programme aimed at tackling gender-based violence, preceded by “Youth Talk, a China- South Africa Experience – 20 Years On”, an event held in Beijing, China in June 2018, celebrating both countries’ 20-year bilateral relations, amongst other corporate events.

A gentleman with excellent interpersonal skills, a good communicator with high integrity and a robust voice, he is a critical thinker who is tactical, strategic and proactive in his approach of any issue being discussed. He has worked for South Africa’s media powerhouses, firstly with eNCA as a Reporter, News Anchor and Online Editor before joining SABC in 2015 where he is currently. He hosts late night news on SABC News on DSTV channel 404, hosts the weekend edition of Morning Live – South Africa’s flagship breakfast show, anchors news on SAfm and presents and produces Yilungelo Lakho on SABC 1 – a consumer affairs programme which helped trigger his social activism. He was previously the Spokesperson for the Minister of Sports, Culture & Youth Affairs in the kingdom of Swaziland for two terms. This is a results oriented gentleman, focused on productive and high yield activities.

  • Pearl Shongwe
Pearl Shongwe

Born in Soweto, Johannesburg, Ntombifuthi Pearl Shongwe an entrepreneur, youth pioneer and humanitarian, has always dreamed of a career in broadcasting. Having started auditioning for TV commercials at the age of 12, to later on being a ‘Miss Soweto 2011 Finalists’, her passion has not died – in fact it’s spurred her on and has been the driver behind her continued diligence, excellence and dedication to her craft. With her sparkling personality, relatability, compassion, eloquent personality, Pearl has found herself on the anchoring chair, behind the mic and some big stages where she leads ceremonies as an MC, Program Director and Facilitator.

Her broadcasting career kicked off in 2009 when she worked for youth radio station YFM as an entertainment reporter, alongside youth pioneer and DJ, Mo Flava, for over two years. She then went on to work as a floor MC at Silverstar Casino (West of Johannesburg), where she learnt the art of connecting with audiences. Having sport as one of her passions, led her to work with SABC Sport in 2012 as a reporter and voice artist to their flagship programs, including a children sport show, ‘Sports Buzz’.

Through hard work and determination, by 2014 she found herself presenting on the SABC 24hr News channel as a sports host on Sports Live. Her versatility has since seen her move into the news and current affairs arena – where she now co-hosts SABC’s longest running show ‘Morning Live’ on weekends alongside Simphiwe Ncongwane since 2017.

In 2016 Pearl joined national radio station Metro FM as newsreader on the mid-morning show, ‘The AM Edition’ and has since worked on the stations afternoon drive time show; ‘The Drive On Metro’ (15h00 – 18h00) and currently on the breakfast show ‘The Morning FLAVA’ as a newsreader and on-air contributor. Her talent does not end there, she is also the presenter of SABC 1’s youth leadership show, ‘One Day Leader’ (currently on Season 6) this was another opportunity for this gem to refine her skills in-front of the camera.As a voice artist, Pearl boasts an impressive client list – having worked for a variety of programs and adverts which have aired on both TV and radio, she is one of the most sought-after female voices and her voice is behind the recent adverts for prominent brands such as iWYZE Insurance, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, Sta-Soft, Clere, Clinique, Cadbury to name but a few. She’s also had the honor to be the ‘voice of god’, during major award ceremonies such as the SA Sport Awards, The Barclays L’atelier Art Awards, the Regional Sport Awards, The G-sport Awards and The SA Boxing Awards.

Pearl dedicates her time and skills in mentorship. She currently has two ladies under her wing, with whom she imparts her knowledge and offers career guidance. She also advocates for the grass-root development of sport, with a specific focus on women & children. In January 2019, Pearl was appointed as a board member of the ‘Far North Academy’, a film and television academy based in Polokwane Central, Limpopo which is the first of its kind in the province and offers 11 courses that include film and television production, scriptwriting, directing and producing. Pearl believes in social justice through education and an inclusive economy & society.

When she’s not pushing the envelope in the creative space, she enjoys dance-sport, literature, the arts, politics and travel which are among her passion-points. She is an ambassador for #Caring4Girls – a sanitary towels distribution program which strives to help keep adolescent girls in school during their monthly cycles and an activist for menstrual hygiene. In support of this, she successfully summited Africa’s highest peak, mount. Kilimanjaro, alongside South Africa’s former public protector Prof Thuli Madonsela in August 2019 in order to raise funds and awareness on the plight of disadvantaged girls who lack access to sanitary wear.

  • Thabiso Sithole

Having been bitten by the News Room Bug whilst in High School at the age of 15, the transition from a Law to Journalism was a forgone conclusion by the time I was invited to become an intern at the SABC in 1999. 3 Months into the 6 month internship programme I was stationed on the East Rand to cover the Local Elections. By April 2000, I was a permanent employee at the SABC and scooped up by the Sport Desk. In September 2000, I covered my 1st of FIVE Olympic Games when they were held in Sydney Australia. Later on in the year when Morning Live was launched, I alongside Matlhomola Morake were charged with All Sports Content on South Africa’s Premier Morning News Programme. I went on to become Sports Anchor on Morning LIVE for about 4yrs working alongside Tracey Going, Vuyo Mbuli and Lee-Anne Manas. Missing the On Field Reporting say my return to the Sports Desk where I have gone on to cover All Major Sporting Events including World Athletics Championships, Olympic Games from Beijing, Athens, London to Rio. Cricket, Rugby & Soccer World Cups to the All Africa Games throughout the African Continent. My time as a Show Producer on Morning Live has held me in good stead as I am now part of a Team responsible for the SABC News Channels’ Daily Sports Programme called SportsLive.

  • Vaylen Kirtley

Born in Cape Town, bred in Johannesburg, Vaylen Kirtley has over 17 years’experience in the broadcast industry, as a TV and radio sports presenter. Vaylen holds a BA Communications degree with UNISA and is currently completing her Masters in Journalism and media studies at Wits University after achieving her honours at the school in 2014. She is affectionately known as the “Nkosazana” of sport.

Vaylen is currently the sports news presenter and producer on the SABC daily breakfast show, Morning Live. She has been presenting the live sports news bulletins since 2012.

Vaylen has also hosted sports TV shows for the SABC such as, The Ladies Club; Soccer Zone and Amakrokokroko – a show dedicated to the physically disabled; Road to Rio – an Olympic preview show Know Your Game – a sport medicine and injury magazine show; Nedbank Green Mile – a road running show; Spike – a weekly volleyball programme; and XSS-Extreme Sport Spectacular.

Her radio career started in earnest at YFM in 2011, where she spent two years producing and presenting the sport bulletins on the drive time show. While at Y-FM, she also conceptualized and produced a weekly show, Yired on sport. She then moved to SAFM, where she was the sports anchor for the Drive Time Show.

She has received many accolades and awards in the industry, and these include 2017 & 2018 SABC Sports Media Award – sports presenter of the year; GSPORT for Girls award- Style Star of the year and a Ministerial award of recognition – contribution to sport broadcasting.

Vaylen has hosted many live broadcasts for the SABC. She is the go-to girl for SABC live broadcasts, especially road running. She has hosted many international sports broadcasts for the SABC.

All photos taken by: Lungelo Mbulwana

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *