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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

‘Radio is such a boy’s club,’ says Dineo Ranaka as she embarks on culinary journey

Ranaka has launched an eatery, The Untrained Chef, which she began working on in 2017 on Instagram.

Broadcaster Dineo Ranaka has lambasted the toxic nature of the South African radio landscape, highlighting its bias against women in the industry.

“Radio is such a boy’s club. If you are not born male, it’s difficult to even get executives to take you seriously; it’s difficult to get advertisers to take you seriously,” said Ranaka in an interview with Newzroom Afrika on Saturday morning.

“Being abused by the hand of a female executive… that hurt me the most…and I was like ‘we’re not going to do this, we’re going to leave this right here’,” she said about one of her previous jobs.

Her last radio job was with Kaya FM, where she left last year after sharing that she had been diagnosed with Severe Chronic Depression. She hosted the station’s breakfast show with Sol Phenduka.

The breakfast slot has since been taken over by Sizwe Dhlomo, who had been covering for Ranaka.

ALSO READ: Dineo Ranaka celebrates her Kaya FM dismissal

Penny Lebyane has also spoken about the pay disparity between black female broadcasters and their colleagues of different races.

Unhealthy radio space

Ranaka said she hadn’t taken a permanent break from being a broadcaster. 

“I am not taking a break from the media. I was on a spiritual hiatus, I’m very much spiritually inclined,” she averred.

Ranaka said this wasn’t the first time she’s stepped away from the limelight and being active on social media.

“I’m not dictated to by modern day societal norms and so forth. When God wants to speak to me, on the side in a corner, I’m able to listen without the pressure of having to post and keep relevant. God sustains my relevance all the time,” Ranaka stated.

“[I’ve] definitely taken a break from radio broadcasting, but television media across the board, those are the talents that God gave me to serve. There’s no way I could take a break from that. I would lose my mind.”

“I do it [radio] because I’m good at it, I’m brilliant at it but am I healthy in it? I’m certainly not,” averred the former Metro FM jock.

“I don’t think radio has space to contain a vessel like Dineo Ranaka. You can’t seek to force me into your change. You can’t seek to force me and mould me to fit in.”  

“Botswana named a hurricane after me,” she quipped, referring to Tropical Cyclone Dineo,  which was one of the deadliest tropical cyclones on record in the South-West Indian Ocean and Southern Hemisphere.

It largely affected Mozambique and some of its neighbouring countries, including Botswana.

“I’m not saying this from a place of arrogance, but I think it’s important for a person to have a strong sense of self. I know that I colour outside the lines, I work on platforms that allow me to be myself.”

“Not platforms that want to mould me and force me into being what they see fit for me, radio does that,” said former YFM DJ who has a YouTube channel, The D.R.C (Dineo’s Republic of Content), with more than 30 000 subscribers.

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Food for the soul

Describing herself as a healer, Ranaka said she feels fulfilled to heal through food.

“Being placed in the kitchen is something I’ve loved to do,” she said.

She said her eatery, The Untrained Chef, was established on Instagram in 2017, where she posted content of herself cooking and feeding her loved ones, but the idea to push the envelope and go into business came to her recently.

“Only this year, through the backend of last year, has God said to me ‘my child, this is where you are happy and where you feel fulfilled’.”

Ranaka shared that dietary changes she’s gone through have accelerated her healing from depression.

“With the Untrained Chef, I’m able to sell self-love on a plate, the taste of God on a plate and conscious living and eating on a plate.”

She said patrons come to the Untrained Chef for ‘guilt free comfort food’. 

“We’ll take seven colours and turn it into a seven chakras. You eat for the alignment of your spiritual discs and the alignment of yourself as a human being,” she averred.

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