Heart to heart with ‘the Rebel’ Rebafiloe Monnapula

’MAPALO NKHELOANE

Popular radio presenter, Rebafiloe Monnapula, better known as ‘The Rebel’ is without a doubt a woman of many talents. Besides being a gifted writer, The Rebel is also a seasoned news anchor and an accomplished poet who also acts.Monnapula says she has always known from an early age that hers would be a life in the entertainment and media industry although initially she had no idea what exactly she would pursue.

As a child, she loved to emulate top actors and musicians and had always been good with words. When she completed high school at St Catherine’s in Maseru in 1994, she moved to Johannesburg, South Africa where she studied speech and drama at the National College of Drama or Ishashalazi Drama College at the Windybrow theatre under the tutelage of the founder, Margaret Hearle. She studied alongside successful South African actress Melanie due Bois of the long running Afrikaans soapie, 7 de laan broadcast on SABC 2.

She is also a qualified performer as well as a speech and drama teacher. However, hustling her way up in the dog-eat-dog industry of Jo’burg soon proved to be too taxing for the young unknown actress from Lesotho, so the only option left for her was to return home and start all over again. Upon arrival in Lesotho, an old friend of hers, Tšepo Nteso introduced her to radio life and ensured that she auditioned for a job as a presenter at the then popular youth radio station Joy FM. The owners of the now defunct radio station were completely blown away by her talent and quickly offered her the job.

During her stint with Joy, she wrote several dramas which were aired on the radio and she was later promoted to the position of programmes and production manager while she also hosted numerous talk shows on air. Her passion for radio further developed after she lost her father and she believed that being on air entertaining listeners would help her cope with her loss. Radio presenting has since became her way of life and along the way her moniker The Rebel, which she adopted at school in South Africa when her lecturers could not pronounce her name stuck.

In terms of local standards,The Rebel has most definitely become a household name in the entertainment industry in Lesotho. She has worked alongside some big names in local radio like The Rated R (Relebohile Mafatle), the late Bokang Ntene who was better known as Dr Love, the late Pearl Ocansey and Rethabile Phakisi who has also since passed on. When the proprietor of Joy FM, Klar-Williams passed away, the radio station took a nose dive and at that moment, Monnapula decided to return to school and further her studies.

Later when she returned from varsity armed with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Pastoral Care and Counselling from the National University of Lesotho (NUL), she met Roxy Lerotholi who encouraged her to join government owned youth radio, Ultimate FM. “Joining a popular radio station like Ultimate was a huge struggle as I had to prove myself beyond doubt that I deserved to be among the cream of the crop and bring something unique to the table. The then director of the station, Mr Lefu Manyokole recognised my rare talent and made me part of the radio,” Monnapula recalls.

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