POPULAR Umhlobo Wenene FM radio personality Sthembiso “Sterra” Ngqezana recently added another award to his trophy cabinet when he won the Eastern Cape Premier Sport and Recreation Achievers Award in the sports presenter category.
The Greenshields Park resident produces and hosts Ezemidlalo, a sports programme that airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 3pm to 6pm, and has thousands of loyal listeners.
Ngqezana was one of several achievers who accepted their awards at the East London International Convention Centre on March 8.
“It feels great. I don’t do my programme to gain something, I’m driven by passion,” Ngqezana said.
It was an honour to be recognised because he loved his job, he said.
In December last year, Ngqezana was selected by the National Sports and Recreation Department as one of the 100 most influential people in sports.
He was honoured by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula during the launch of his department’s Little Green Book at the Premier Hotel in Johannesburg, and was in the company of icons such as Irvin Khoza and Lucas Radebe.
The Little Green Book was established in an effort to recognise, acknowledge and celebrate the contributions South African sportsmen and women have made in their respective codes both nationally and internationally.
Ngqezana’s other accolades include the Premier’s Eastern Cape Journalist of the Year, Boxing South Africa Sports Presenter of the Year and New Brighton Football Association Sportsman of the Year.
Ngqezana was born in Port Elizabeth, but spent a few years living in Grahamstown and Peddie. When he returned to the city, he matriculated at Cowan High School in New Brighton. He went on to study for a diploma in teaching at the Algoa College of Education.
The father of two has a passion for sports, having been an amateur boxer and involved in soccer, as well as athletics, at school.
He taught for nearly two decades, but always had a passion for radio. “Unfortunately I didn’t have any [radio] contacts.”
In 1994, the talkshow host received his first big break at the then CBFM – now Bay FM.
“I was the first black person to work there. I was given the 9am to 12pm slot on a Sunday. The music I had to play was not appealing to me, but I did it for my love of radio. Sometimes I would queue the songs I liked,” he said.
His next stint was at Ubuntu FM, where his career flourished. He received positive feedback from listeners after his first show.
Ngqezana was then poached by Nkqubela FM, where his popularity grew.
The popular sports radio personality was introduced to Umhlobo Wenene FM by a friend when he was in need of work.
“I went for an interview and they asked me to do a demo right there. I did it and they gave me the job,” he said.