Outspoken Radio Host, Feminist, Cape Town, South Africa

Introduction to Ms. Jasnine Roberts was through this WOW WOMAN. Jasnine was a firecracker on air and in the studio. I was really taken by her positive and forward demeanor - she was unapologetic about asking a mixture of fun and tough questions and was frank about things she didn't know about and needed clarification on. I really admire her fearlessness and ability to connect to her audiences. She expressed interest in WOW WOMAN, the journey and wanted to interview me. I admire women who just "get stuff done". She was the boss who, in two seconds, secured an interview and booked another gig. In a humble concession I have much to learn from her demeanor. 

Bush Radio - 89.5 FM, where Jasnine shines, started out during the last stages of the struggle against apartheid. Its programmes were distributed on cassette tapes. Many of its volunteers and programmers were students from the University of the Western Cape, which did not at the time have its own campus radio station.

After being denied broadcast licenses on two occasions by South Africa's broadcast regulator, the station launched as an illegal pirate radio station on April 25, 1993, but was shut down by authorities within a few hours. With the democratization of South Africa around the time of the 1994 elections, however, the station was soon granted a temporary broadcasting license, becoming one of the first media outlets in South Africa not owned by either the government or a commercial media company. 

For a while, due to bureaucratic difficulties surrounding the country's transition to democracy, the station received yearly temporary license renewals until being granted its first permanent broadcasting license in 2002.

1. Name

Jasnine Roberts.

2. Where is your hometown?

I am from Cape Town, South Africa. I grew up in a place called Dark City Elsies River.

3. What is your profession/career/title/self-label/designation?

I am a radio presenter/content producer at Bush Radio.

4. What was the journey like to get where you are (in life and career wise)? What are some accomplishments you’re most proud of?

To be honest my journey has been hard and I had to overcome a lot of obstacles. I will say right now that I do not regret anything I have gone through as all of it made me the person I am today. I am a fearless risk-taker, I never back down if I believe in something, and persist in fighting for something I want in life. 

I lost my father at 13, and as a result, was forced to grow up quickly. By taking responsibility for myself (and trying not to worry my mother), I decided to enter a workforce. I worked as a cashier in a movie theater, where I was first introduced into a professional work environment and was earning a paycheck. I also learned the value of hard work, saving money and putting in long hours to work for what I wanted. This experience has taught me independence, and taught me that being inquisitive was important for learning. There is no such thing as a stupid question. I used to always try and "steal as much info as possible" by always watching others and how they did things. If something didn't make sense, I'd ask questions afterwards. From there I got into retail and quickly realised that was not for me. What I learned from all the shops, was being able to adapt to various environments, listening to people, to their stories and hardships. This prepared me for my work in media industry.

My family was not sure how this was going to work (as in the beginning I was on a 3-month internship at the radio station), but they were very supportive, until a year past by and they saw me still enjoying every bit of my work and helping people in the meantime. Working in media is truly more passion than work for me. I enjoy the feeling of making difference in people's lives, listening to their stories and learning from them. I continue learning constantly. It's been a long and hard work to get where I am today, and I'm very proud of my accomplishments. I continue to learn, take workshops, attaining more qualifications and take courses. If I'm having a bad day, I just look outside at some of the hardships people experience, count my lucky stars. I refuse to be another statistic representing social ills in Cape Town.

5. What did you study in school?

The subjects I chose in school I could have easily ended up anywhere in life: Mathematics, Biology and Science. Through sheer determination I ended up in media (although I do count myself a bit lucky to have gotten in without any experience or qualifications in journalism.)

6. How is your life different from what you pictured at 20?

I never thought that I would be such a strong and influential individual. You see, at 20 I was the most stubborn and foolish person that always though things had to go my way. 

 7. What was your biggest disappointment and plan to overcome it?

I had some regrets for not pursuing studying interior decorating, but looking back i’m glad I didn't. For if I did, I would have never ended up where I am today.

8. Advice for other women?

Try to always believe in yourself and to never degrade or undermine yourself for anyone. We are all unique and have a talents. Use what you have to flourish in life and not make excuses. Further, it is perfectly okay to make yourself a priority sometimes in life. This doesn’t make you selfish at all; it is necessary to become a better version of yourself.  

For young women readers, for someone working as a cashier but dreaming of working in the media world: be inquisitive, do research on the media house you applying for, sell yourself, make yourself indispensable, take pulse of what goes on in your community, get interested in reading/watching news and invest time to understand local politics. Most importantly, be dedicated and always open to improvement.

9. Knowing what we know now in current political climate, can women be "all that we can be" in today's world? What is the way forward, as you see it for "feminist values"?

Yes why not, it just means you’ll have to work thrice as hard as males, but when were women ever afraid of hard work? Females need to stop standing in the background like shadows. We are not here to make men look good so it’s about time we start to shine brighter. We are not just a "pretty face". And another thing: it is perfectly fine to cry if you not able to do something! BUT do not keep crying over the same issue. Change the process, use the wheel-barrel if the equipment is heavy. We have the greatest minds to become anything we want!

10. Where in the world do you feel “tallest” (i.e. where is your happy place)?

 Mostly in my home, but come to think of it anywhere when I am able to put music in my ears.

11. What extra-curricular activities/hobbies are you most proud of? Why?

Reading. At the end of the day, as the late Nelson Mandela used to say, knowledge is power.

12. What do you want to be when you grow up? Future goals/challenges?

Still up for debate. I know I want to make more of a difference in the world and have a positive affect on how society perceives various South Africans. I may still pursue interior decorating route one day, who knows.

13. What fears are you still hoping to overcome?

I have wonderment (if not fear) about settling down and bringing up children in this world.

14. Anything you'd do differently if you had another go at life?                                                                

I would have used people’s lives as a mirror on my own actions sooner, and learned from their mistakes, to avoid having to make the same ones in my own life.

15. What inspires you?

I get inspired daily, when I interview various folks on air, and get to hear and learn from their stories. 

16. What are some ingredients to a good life?

Perseverance, determination, dedication and having the ability to listen to others.

17. What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?  Try to become a leader, not a follower (be it at work, at work or in the community)

18. What are you reading now? (what books do you gift most and what are your favourite reads?)

I’m enjoying Trevor Noah's "Born a Crime"

19. Who is a WOW Woman in your world who inspires you and why? Can you nominate three women you know who perfectly fit WOW WOMAN description?

My Mom and every woman that walks through the studio doors. There is just too many to name. Their stories inspire me and make me strive to do better in my own life.

20. Where can others find you/your work (links to websites, blogs, etc.)?

Social media: Facebook

Blog: Sakhisizwe