Hailing from eMalahleni (formerly known as Witbank) in the Mpumalanga province, Shaun Lukhele describes himself as a triple c kind of a guy (cool, calm, and collected). He began making appearances on SABC 1’s “YoTV” as a guest presenter several times in 2006/7, and at age 17, he fell in love with radio and was determined to make this medium his happy hunting ground.
Fast forward to the year 2011, when he was 17 years old, he was granted his first radio on-air shift doing the early morning slot on the weekends. Since then, he has never looked back and is excited to see his STAR continue to shine even brighter.
Shaun currently presents an entertainment and music show called ‘The All-Star Sunday Chillout’ on Johannesburg community-based radio station, Star 91.9FM, every Sunday from 2-6pm.
- Tell us a little bit about your career and how you started?
Look, I’ve always wanted to be a broadcaster – particularly on TV but living in eMalahleni there wasn’t much opportunity (if at all) for me to pursue my dream. In 2011, I decided to take matters into my own hands – that’s when I decided to contact a regional radio station, MPower FM, in search of a graveyard shift and a shot at radio. And that is when the bug bit me, since switching on the microphone that day I have never looked back. With a career spanning over 11 years, I’ve come full circle in this medium having worked in commercial, online, retail and community radio.
2. How can we support or be an ally to the LGBTQ community?
Living in a society riddled with homophobic hate crimes, especially in rural communities where being homosexual is considered taboo, it has become important now more than ever to rally those that are willing to learn about the issues faced by the community. The more people learn about the community, the better. They will be the ones going out there debunking stereotypes about the community.
One of the ways in which FAME Week Africa can support the community is by spreading awareness, highlighting the issues faced by the community and encouraging people to learn to be more supportive and really just drive home that above all, we’re all human and that it takes just a bit more understanding and acceptance for the LGBTQ community to feel loved and seen.
3. What is your favourite thing about what you do?
Ahh! There are so many things I love about being on radio. But my most favourite is the ability to spread happiness and joy through the wireless – when a listener says “Shaun, thank you for making my day. Great show!” I feel truly fulfilled. I honestly can’t imagine myself doing something else. I feel like I belong when I step into a radio studio – nothing else matters as soon as the microphone switches on. It’s like being on a rollercoaster at Gold Reef City with your hands in the air, a feeling one can’t explain.
- If you could give some advice to someone in the LGBTQ community and starting their career in the creative industries what would it be?
By virtue of you being part of the LGBTQ community – you won’;t be everyone’s cup of tea and that is okay! Not everyone is going to like or want to be around you. But always remember to be yourself. When you go back home and look at yourself in the mirror, make sure that the person you are seeing in the reflection is one that you can recognise. You don’t have to change yourself to “fit in”. What’s even more challenging with the creative industry is that it is highly competitive and the only way you can truly stand out from the crowd is by being authentically you.
- How do you think we can grow the creative industry and bring African content to the world?
It is highly encouraging to see platforms such as FAME Week Africa bring focus to African content. This is definitely a step in the right direction. Africa is not only rich in diversity, but our ability to tell our unique stories is what makes us a continent filled with so much potential.
Over the past few years, there has been a concerted effort from production houses and streaming platforms alike to bring to the fore African stories. Budgets focused on African productions continue to increase which ultimately gives African artists and crews the ability to craft content of high standards. All we need is a chance, a shot at creating great content. All it takes is one person to believe in our stories, the rest is up to us.
6. We know you recently went on your first flight ever to visit Cape Town for the first time. Tell us a little bit about your experience in Cape Town – The host city for FAME Week Africa.
Oh, where do I even begin? Cape Town is a beautiful city. It comes nothing close to any place I have been before. The people, the sea, the breeze – oh, the food. It was love at first sight. The moment the plane flew a little bit over the ocean, I just knew that I need to make the means to move to Cape Town soon. The wine farms, the landscape, oh – the Table Mountain.
Cape Town is one of the places in this world that makes you REALLY believe there’s a higher power. Everything just makes sense. During my holiday, I had the chance to speak to celebrity chef, Siba Mtongana, and she told me how there’s not only a better quality of life in Cape Town but also a good work-life balance. Feel stressed after work? Just go chill at the beach, bro.
7. What and who inspires you?
I look for different qualities in different people. Everyone has something special to offer.
8. What does pride mean to you?
Pride can mean different things to different people, but for me, pride is a celebration of diversity and LGBTQ+. It is about reinforcing equal rights for all. It’s also about living authentically and true to who you are inside – with no shame and worry about what others think.
Read more FAMEous friends here