Luxolo Mantambo

Luxolo Mantambo

Personal information Luxolo Mantambo was born in the rural village, Tsomo in the former Transkei. He spent his childhood between Tsomo and Nqamakwe – another small town about 15 kilometres from Tsomo. He moved to East London at an early age in search of quality education. He grew up with his cousins and has on sister and one brother. He has two moms (one a step-mother, but she is a mother to him).His father’s name is Brian September. Luxolo is single with no children and is basically “still in the market” Luxoxlo has enjoyed readind from a young age. He enjoys sport and has got a fetish for cars although he stays within the speed limit. Running is Luxolo’s hidden talent. In high school he used to be the champion in the 100m sprint. Luxoxlo is motivated by God. What keeps him going is the fact that he hates failure. He works hard to avoid it by all means. His late grandparents, Monima Mantambo and Eric September have played a vital role in his life, equipping him with a strong belief system. He never had super heroes growing up as a result he was labelled as boring by his mates. Growing up as a “serious child” he wanted to be a lawyer. Amongst his many goals he dreams of working with the SA Cricket team and hopes that one day he will become an editor because “journalism is in his blood”
Luxolo cant leave home without: My phone, laptop, self-belief and a great attitude. The latter is everything. Please complete these sentences: Love is...a complicated subject. Don’t venture in it if you aren’t willing to be hurt and compromise. I know for certain that...I will die one day. But I want to make a difference in people’s lives before that happens and most importantly, with Jesus in my life. I cant stand...people who are always late for appointments. I’m impatient by nature. If you were the president for a day what would you do differently? Build houses for the poor, come up with a radical plan to eradicate poverty and introduce a law that makes it compulsory for young people to go to school. Democracy is about delivery, people are not really interested in your intentions – so I would focus more on making realistic promises to the people.
Luxolo Mantambo furthered his studies at Walter Sisulu University. He never wanted to do Journalism; he wanted to be a lawyer. “When I was in high school, I was writing for the school magazine and the Editor of the magazine took me aside one day and said I must consider writing as a career. I didn’t take him seriously. But on my last day in matric, a lady by the name Verona Ladin, sat me down for about an hour and persuaded me to go to journalism not to law,” said Mantambo. He says it was an awkward position for him but he saw that many people believed that he has a future in writing, and so he went for it. “I must admit, at first, it was not for the love of it. But what helped me a lot is that I was already an avid reader by then. So, this happened by chance – it was one of those moments whereby you are just lucky to be surrounded by the right people,” he said. He says that journalism was never his first choice; he says it was a calling for him. “I didn’t choose it, it chose me,” he added.

Career information Luxolo Mantambo started his journalism career with Daily Dispatch’s supplement, Indabazethu. Shortly after that, he then moved to the main body of the Dispatch, which is an East London newspaper covering local news, sports, business, jobs, and community events. Mantambo was given a two weeks internship job by the Daily Dispatch in 2003 and never looked back since then. A lot of people might think that Mantambo’s career has been a bed of roses, but that has not been the case. He had been rejected and told that he would never make a good journalist. But what differentiates Mantambo from the rest is that he refused to listen to those who had little or no faith in him; he knew he had talent. In 2004, Mantambo was offered a freelance-role at the sports department. This is where he flourished and simply exceeded expectations. It only took him a few more months to lift his first award. Mantambo worked for the Dispatch for about five years when he joined Kickoff magazine – the biggest football magazine in Africa - where he worked for about four years. Mantambo has also worked for the Four-four Two SoccerLife publication as their freelance feature writer; has featured on a number of newspapers, and was a columnist for Mail and Guardian’s Sportsleader in early 2008. Mantambo also had a career in broadcast - he started with the then Border Technikon campus radio station as a sports presenter for over a year. He then briefly joined the Link fm sports team but only stayed for a few months. He then joined SABC’s Trufm (it was then CKIfm) as a sports presenter. Mantambo has featured on SuperSport’s Backpages as an analyst. Towards the end of 2008, Mantambo got the biggest break of his life (unexpectedly) when he joined the world’s football governing body, FIFA. Here, he also works as the Editor of FIFA.com – the biggest sport website in the world.

Recognitions and awards

Luxolo Mantambo was one of the Eastern Cape region winners in the prestigious Vodacom journalist of the year 2008 awards. He won the Vodacom sports journalist award (provincial) three times and he says that all those awards were special to him and that they were a huge motivation. When he won the first one, he was still very young. “Recognition is good,” he says. Mantambo was in the top three SAB sport journalists of the year awards. He didn’t win in all the three but he says that being recognised as amongst the best three writers in the country for three consecutive years is overwhelming. “I have been competing with people I grew up admiring – seasoned writers,” he said.
Mantambo also got an award for best sport journalist in Daily Dispatch in 2005. He says that he didn’t expect that one and it was a huge shock for him. “It was such a special blessing,” he added. He was only 21 at that time. “I remember when I was announced as the winner, I struggled to fight back tears – it was such an emotional affair for me. And, it was my second award,” he said. In this one he was nominated and voted by other journalists which is what made the award special.
Mantambo won an award for 2005 swimming writer of the year. This is the award he will never forget because he was only 20 when he got it and it was the first one. He says a nomination at that stage for him was just enough as he was very young among the experienced journalists. “When they called my name on stage, I was sweating; I thought it was a mistake. One of the sad things though, is that some people felt I had been given the award because of the colour of my skin (swimming being a so-called white sport) – that hurt me. It was like they were saying I didn’t deserve the award,” says Mantambo. “It was my first award, so I think people thought it was a fluke. That is why it was so important for me to win more, to achieve more to prove to myself that I earned this one,” he added.
Mantambo is a people’s person. He also involved himself in community engagements. He says giving back to the community is very important to him. He helps with two football teams. He buys them soccer balls, and helps out wherever he can. He says one of the things he wants to do is to help students who want to study or are currently studying journalism to educate them about the industry. “I don’t know everything about journalism, but as someone who has achieved some sort of success in the industry, I’m sure I can share a thing or two for them. I cannot call myself a mentor, that is reserved for people who are more experienced than me. But mine is to simple assist people who believe they have the talent and hunger to be journalists,” Mantambo says. He says he wants to empower them on how to handle early success in this unforgiving industry, how to deal with pressure, how to motivate yourself when you are down, all those things are critical in a young journalist’s life. “I know because I have been there before,” he says, “People seem to think I achieved everything overnight, but that is not the case. I know how it’s like to be at the bottom and having to climb back to the top again,” he added.

Other professional activities

Aside from his work at FIFA and his passion for journalism Luxolo Mantambo is an investor in the property market. Mantambo says that he is a bit of a conservative in that he does not like to drive flashy cars and the like instead he prefers to invest his money in property. This modest approach seems to be a part of his nature though as he is also involved in charity work but does not brag about it. He believes that when someone starts bragging about the charity work they do then they are no longer doing it for the right reasons and just want some glory instead.
“I do a lot of charity work. I believe when you have been fortunate in life, you must make sure you help those who have not been as fortunate as you have been. Where I grew up, I saw so much poverty. I knew that when I have the means, I will make a difference, no matter how small or minute it is,” Mantambo says. His love of soccer is also reflected in his charitable contributions of equipment to his local soccer clubs.
Mantambo is a journalist with many years of experience under his belt. He says that he started working as a journalist in his first year of university and has been in the profession ever since. Although he now works for FIFA he is hugely involved in writing and editing their website, FIFA.com – the biggest sports website in the world.


References:
Primary Sources
Luxolo Mantambo
Cell: 0722239024
E-mail: luxolo.mantambo@fifa.org

Secondary Sources
http://www.fifa.com
http://www.sportsleader.co.za/luxolomantambo
http://www.vodacom.co.za/mccrdetail.do?id=1141&action=detail
http://www.dispatch.co.za/