Woman Of Wonder

SA's first lady of journalism, Redi Tlhabi

17 August 2020 - 12:49 By Batandwa Malingo
Redi Tlhabi is a highly respected journalist, a talk show host, author of two books and an accomplished long-distance runner.
Redi Tlhabi is a highly respected journalist, a talk show host, author of two books and an accomplished long-distance runner.
Image: Madelene Cronjé


A lionhearted journalist, television and radio talk show host, avid runner, activist and columnist. Those are just some of the titles held by Redi Tlhabi.

We chose not to list all her titles because that would turn into a book, something she is also passionate about, having published two successful books.


Born Redi Direko,  the mother of two has been a broadcast journalist for nearly two decades.

During this time, Tlhabi worked as a news editor at Kaya FM before moving to Radio 702 in 2005 as a senior member of the station's news team.

She later hosted The Redi Tlhabi Show, a mid-morning talk show which became a hit among South Africans from all walks of life, setting the agenda and creating daily trending topics on social media with her commentary.

She has also had her fair share on the small screen with several shows at the biggest TV news stations in the country.

On June 1 2008, Tlhabi was part of a team that put together the first broadcast by eNCA, the first privately owned 24-hour news channel in the country.

She has also hosted Interface on SABC3, and her own Redi on Mzansi on Mzansi Magic.

Tlhabi released her first best-selling book, Endings and Beginnings: A Story of Healing, in 2012, in which she reveals how she got into a relationship with a gangster.

Her pen is also behind Khwezi — The Remarkable Story Of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, which focused on the life of the woman who accused former president Jacob Zuma of rape in 2005.

Writing books, discussing difficult issues on the airwaves and sending tweets are parts of the woman who has also taken to the streets to call for change.

Tlhabi stood with thousands of students who headed to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in 2015 to demand free tertiary education. Seven years before that, Tlhabi led hundreds of women and men in a march against sexual harassment from the Johannesburg Art Gallery to the Noord Street taxi rank in the Johannesburg CBD.

The march came after Nwabisa Ngcukana was sexually assaulted by taxi drivers at the rank as punishment for wearing a miniskirt.


Tlhabi may be the first lady of SA journalism, but she also finds time to train and run long-distance marathons.

She qualifies to be called a long-distance runner having finished both the Comrades and Two Oceans marathons.