Joburg’s Lerai goes international with African slot in Nickelodeon awards

09 April 2022 - 13:38
Lerai Rakoditsoe is the Africa host at Saturday night's Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.
Image: Supplied Lerai Rakoditsoe is the Africa host at Saturday night's Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.

Politics student Lerai Rakoditsoe is about to become the first African host of the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.

The show honours the year’s biggest hits in television, film, sports and music, as voted by Nickelodeon viewers throughout the world. It is best known for its signature “slimefest”, when stars are randomly bombarded from head to toe with bright green slime.   

The award ceremony on Saturday night (1.30am on Sunday, in SA) will be held in Santa Monica, California, hosted by iCarly actress Miranda Cosgrove and US footballer Rob Gronkowski.

While Rakoditsoe will not be present at the awards, she will feature in pre-recordings used as inserts.

Rakoditsoe, who is studying political science and international relations at the University of Pretoria, was raised in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

“This is the first time we’re doing this in Africa, so expect our rich African culture and heritage to shine through in a fun way,” she told TimesLIVE. “From the celebrity fashion on the orange carpet, to the performances, to the kids and families — expect some local flair mixed in with international flavour.”

An audition video during the pandemic in 2021 first connected Rakoditsoe to Nickelodeon. “Due to Covid-19, it wasn’t like the usual long line of people waiting to audition, so I just submitted my video and forgot about it for a month or so.  Then I got a callback, which was a screen test at the Paramount Africa offices.”

When she got the job “I just started stomping my feet so hard in excitement, that literally my feet turned red”.

Monde Twala, senior vice-president and general manager for Paramount in Africa, lauded Rakoditsoe's talent and poise.  “Lerai made history as the first African influencer and presenter for the channel when NickMusic launched in May 2021,” he said.

Expect our rich African culture and heritage to shine through in a fun way
Lerai Rakoditsoe

“Now, she has been named as the first African host of the Kids’ Choice Awards, which is incredible news. We will continue to support her in her growth and be a partner in driving her talent to new heights in her career.”

An only child, Rakoditsoe says her single mother Nyarai is her greatest inspiration. “She’s taken on the role of my manager and life coach. My mom has taught me how to be self-reliant and a smart businesswoman.”

She hopes her platform will help bring about positive change in her community. 

There is a foodie slant to Rakoditsoe's plans for the future.  “I recently started my YouTube channel — and I’ve got a cooking show I’m working on.”  

Nominees in the favourite African star category include rapper Focalistic, amapiano group Major League DJz, singer Makhadzi, soccer manager Pitso Mosimane — all from SA — and Nigerian singer Tems.

The favourite African kidfluencer category includes Nigeria’s Adaeze Onuigbo, Uganda’s Masaka Kids Africana, Durban’s Sassy Taylor Morrison, Sbahle Mzizi — who is the daughter of actress and TV personality Ntando Duma — MTV Base VJ Uncle Vinny from Johannesburg, and SA TikTok star Witney Ramabulana.

Check out TimesLIVE for the winners. The awards will be broadcast on DStv on Tuesday.