Legendary South African sports broadcaster, Zama “ZZ” Masondo, affectionately known as “Mr Laduma”, is officially a Unisa alumnus in his 70s. Masondo recently graduated cum laude with a Master of Arts in African Languages. He says: “Knowledge is power, and you are never too old to acquire any form of education.”
Zama “ZZ” Masondo
Masondo was admitted through the Recognition of Prior Learning process. His master’s supervisor, Professor Stanley Madonsela, who is also the Acting Chair of the Department of African Languages in the College of Human Sciences, says that Masondo’s application went through a vetting process by the department’s Higher Degrees Committee, which recommended that he be admitted for the qualification. Madonsela explains: “He was admitted on the basis that he holds an undergraduate degree majoring in African languages. His vast experience in the language and development sector as a sports commentator and his contribution in coining a great deal of soccer terms and phrases in isiZulu were considered valuable traits.”
Masondo began his career at the South African Broadcasting Corporation in the early 1980s as a translator/writer. His love for education and the drive to empower himself made it possible for him to keep improving his qualifications. “It is clear that everyone should have something to fall back on in life,” he says. Over and above his job as a sports commentator, Masondo resumed his activities as a skills service provider in tourism and hospitality. “My wife played a vital role as she had the same qualifications that I possessed,” he says.
Briefly reflecting on the past, Masondo remarks: “Sports in South Africa was considered to be a racial thing, and as a result sports commentating in African languages was not so popular.” He adds: “Due to economic sanctions that were imposed by most countries against South Africa because of its apartheid policies, sports teams and African commentators were excluded from international events. This took away the opportunities for African languages to develop in the sporting fraternity.”