Anele Mdoda still making her voice heard
For two glorious years of Real Talk, vivacious Anele Mdoda positioned herself and captivated the country as the go-to talk show ace.
Through her happy-go-lucky interview tactics, she mastered in a short period the art of making brilliant TV.
From Julius Malema to Taraji P. Henson, her couch became the sought-after spot for A-listers.
Then without a word of warning, in May, the 34-year-old TV maven dropped the mic and broke the nation's heart when she decided to exit the Safta-winning show.
"That chapter is not closed, people leave jobs. That was me leaving a job. I'm going to be doing talk shows," she insists.
"Why would I stop asking people questions? It's a skill of mine and I'm really good at it.
"Remember, praise can keep you longer in situations that you would not have been in longer than a certain time."
Top of the list of the people she didn't get to interview on the show is former president Jacob Zuma.
"I loved what the Julius interview did for him and me. For me, older people took me seriously and for him, I didn't speak with Julius the politician," she says. "After speaking to Blair Underwood in New York he told me it was his best interview in 20 years."
Mdoda is making her TV comeback as the new host of The Voice SA. The third season of the hit music competition show, getting a facelift, returns in February on M-Net.
"This has been a dream of mine for years, since I was in matric. When I got offered it I screamed in the meeting for like three minutes. That happened in June, so to keep that a secret, because I can't keep a secret, it's been long."
Rocking an edgy and curly half-shaved 'do, she welcomes me into her radio home at the 94.7 studios in the heart of Sandton for our tête-à-tête.
She's even more perky in person as we connect about her upping her fashion game lately and her love for Beyoncé - she has seen her live in concert more than five times.
With her 16-year radio career, her 94.7 show Breakfast Club with Anele was recently voted the best breakfast show in Joburg in the annual Best of Joburg Readers' Choice Awards.
Later this month she will duke it out with DJ Fresh, Selby Mkhize, Dudu Khoza and Thuso Motaung for favourite radio personality at the second annual DStv Mzansi Viewers's Choice Awards.
"I love my radio show because people feel like it's theirs. I think that's why it's getting awarded.
"This woman came to me this week and said, 'you feel like home'," she says. "I love what I do, so I'm already winning. But to get awards, ultimately I'm accountable to the listeners."
She is also nominated for favourite TV personality against Carol Tshabalala, Lerato Kganyago, Pearl Modiadie and Thomas Mlambo. Last year, her sister Thembisa Mdoda scooped two awards. "Thembisa can tell you ever since we were young if she bought shorts, I did the same. So at best I'm a daunting little sister who wants to be her sister!"
Mdoda is the proud mother to her three-year-old son Alakhe. "I want another one, but don't tell my bosses that. I really love it. He's at that age where he's just a delight.
"My boyfriend has got two girls which we spend a lot of time with. they are wonderful, I love them."