Mothepane Kotele - DG of LNBS - Pushes For Equality In Africa’s Broadcasting And Media Landscape
The acting Director-General of the Lesotho National Broadcasting Service (LNBS), Ms Mothepane Kotele has, in her role, put great emphasis and effort into creating equal opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
As an industry leader, she has taken it upon herself to empower women at every opportunity by including them in the workforce and in the content decisions of the LNBS.
Broadcast Media Africa (BMA) spoke to Ms Kotele recently, discussing a variety of issues and subjects, and it was clear from our conversation with her that she is a driven leader with great ambitions of inclusion and equal opportunities, not only in Lesotho but in the greater Africa’s broadcast space.
Below is the conversation BMA had with Ms Kotele discussing her role as the acting Director-General of the Lesotho National Broadcasting Service and her hopes and plans for the future of the national broadcaster.
BMA: You have the very crucial mandate of heading Lesotho National Broadcasting Service. In your role, how do you go about promoting diversity in the broadcast industry?
Mothepane Kotele: I believe in equal opportunities for all and thus always look for ways to attract a broad range of people with a variety of backgrounds and experience to work for Lesotho National Broadcasting Services (LNBS).
As a woman, I also take into cognisance that we are often marginalised and where necessary, I set specific targets to include women not only in the workforce but in our programming.
I have always been very open-minded in as far as talent is concerned and believe that the glass ceiling is just theory. It can be broken, and at LNBS, more than half the management is made up of women who play a very vital and admiral role in both the creative and content decisions. I have also gone a step forward to give broadcasting opportunities to the disabled members of society.
Presently, I have a brilliant and blind young man, Mohlomi Tlali, who is a presenter for an afternoon show on the Ultimate Radio. And he is doing exceptionally well and is actually one of my proud engagements.
BMA: Where have your strongest influences come from as a female leader in the broadcast industry? Who have you looked up to in your career?
Mothepane Kotele: Given that Lesotho is entirely landlocked by South Africa and that the local media industry does not have a lot of female leaders that came before me, my strongest influences in media leadership have always been imported. As far as leadership as a whole is concerned, I have looked up to my grandmother, Nkhono Mathabiso Mosala.
In a very patriarchal society, she stood against all the odds to bring women together to train them in life skills and also spearheaded the opening of pre-schools around the country. At eighty-nine (89) years, she still calls and texts me to encourage and sometimes rebuke me when things don’t go right.
BMA: What stands out to you as your proudest achievement in your journey within the broadcast industry?
Mothepane Kotele: To date, my proudest achievement is hosting the SADC news programme, which will be known as SADC 360. This programme will open regional opportunities not only for the LNBS but will give workers regional experience and improve professionalism in the broadcasting industry.
BMA: Please tell us how you see SADC 360 Radio developing and what goals you hope it achieves?
Mothepane Kotele: SADC 360 is a project very close to my heart. It will kick-off as a 30-minute news programme broadcast twice a week, and I hope to eventually see it as a daily news programme. I hope this programme will tell the African story through well-researched stories that will have an impact.
It should be a platform that brings the region together for a shared understanding and promote the SADC we are all so proud of.
BMA: What role do you see Lesotho National Broadcasting Service playing in taking Lesotho’s broadcasting space to the next level?
Mothepane Kotele: With the imminent transition to digital radio and television, this is an exciting time to be alive.
I am looking forward to LNBS taking over three more channels and freeing up and leasing channels to local producers to showcase their talent through appealing content and making sure that the industry becomes competitive.
Content on demand is the future, but we will only get there if the local creative industry is on board.
Ms Mothepane Kotele is the Acting Director-General for Lesotho National Broadcasting Services (LNBS), substantive Director of Lesotho News Agency. She is also a researcher and part-time media studies lecturer at the National University of Lesotho. From the political economy school of thought her research experiences centre on how power relations structure the distribution, production and consumption of media content.
Ms Kotele has written many articles on an array of subjects within the media but mostly on how ownership and control patterns impede news production.
Her book titled “Identities Of News-Workers In A State-Owned Newspaper’ is available on Amazon and other online books stores.