Let’s talk

2013-12-13 11:00

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What happens when you put a newscaster, a model and a comedian on a couch in a tv studio and let the cameras roll? A sparky talk show, that’s what.

Would you marry someone who is HIV positive? Why do you think South Africans are so violent? Would you use a traditional healer?

What are your thoughts on fancy coffins? These are just some of the questions posed on Ek Sê, Let’s Talk With Masechaba Lekalake, the new TV talk show on the eKasi+ channel, e.tv’s new HD satellite service.

Masechaba, 30, is well-respected in media circles, having hosted shows such as current affairs programme Weekend Live and One Day Leader.

Masechaba Lekalake.
Picture: George Rabe

And to keep the conversation flowing in studio, albino model Refilwe Modiselle and comedian Tol Ass Mo add their opinions to the mix.

While they seem an unlikely trio, listening to the three debate everything from relationships to current affairs makes for an interesting melting pot of ideas, perspectives and opinions.

Masechaba admits that when she first received a call from the production company she wasn’t convinced she was the right person for the job.

‘I was working on One Day Leader on SABC 1 at the time,’ she recalls.

‘That show entailed grooming young South Africans for leadership by taking them through various challenges to develop their leadership qualities. But I was keen to hear what Uzanenkosi Mahlangu [creator of hit show Intersexions] had to say because I respect his work.’

Initially the blonde-haired TV personality turned down the gig, even suggesting other people she thought would work well.

‘I just didn’t think the timing was right,’ she explains. However, many meetings later she decided to take the leap. ‘I believe in listening to my gut and praying about whatever decision I need to reach. Once I knew in my heart and spirit that it was what I was supposed to do, I decided to make the change.’

Masechaba and the production team then had the exciting but daunting task of finding her co-hosts.

‘I wanted to be very involved in who we chose because the kind of chemistry we wanted cannot be faked,’ she says.

‘I was also very clear that I wanted strong personalities who would defend their opinions, no matter how heated things got.’

Tol Ass Mo and Refilwe Modiselle were eventually chosen from hundreds of hopefuls. The connection was almost immediate, Masechaba says.

Refilwe Modiselle. Picture: George Rabe

‘We just clicked. I felt like I had known them forever – we became like family very quickly.’

And like any happy family, there’s a host of in-jokes and good-natured ribbing on camera.

‘The show gives me a chance to show parts of my personality I haven’t always had the space to display,’ Masechaba explains. ‘People are finally getting to see the more human and fun side of Masechaba.’

Refilwe and Mo already knew each other, having both attended Varsity College in 2004. And the striking model is relishing having a voice on camera.

‘I’m used to being just a picture. Here I get the chance to show I have a brain and a personality – who wouldn’t be happy about that?’ she laughs.

Mo, who isn’t used to holding his tongue, says the show has taught him just how unhappy South Africans are about certain matters.

The wide variety of topics discussed has also made the comedian more confident in his opinions.

‘Always be true to who you are,’ he says. ‘Nobody can ever determine how you should feel, other than you. Free your mind and you will be in control.’

When asked why people should tune in to see these three new friends talk through a range of topics, Masechaba says, ‘The show allows people to broaden their views. The three of us often don’t agree.

‘We also learn a lot because the show has a segment where Phillip Malepa [aka the Pied Piper of eKasi] takes to the streets to canvas public opinion. Getting to know other people’s views makes all of us think more, and makes us more tolerant of the fact we won’t always agree. I think that’s a lesson the whole country could learn.’

Behing the scenes

The girls of Ek Sê, Let’s Talk give us the lowdown.

What has surprised you most about your co-hosts?

Masechaba: Mo has a very serious side. He’s also quite a softie and is extremely loving and nurturing.

Tol Ass Mo. Picture: George Rabe

I’ve never met a man who’s so in touch with his feminine side. Phillip is the opposite of his out-there persona in the street inserts. He’s a true gentleman and a soldier. Refilwe is both sweet and fierce at the same time...

My kinda gal!

Who is the most conservative?

Refilwe: Definitely me. I remind myself my mom or aunts could be watching!

Masechaba: Miss Goody Two Shoes Refilwe, possibly because of her religious background.

What do you love most about your co-hosts?

Refilwe: Masechaba has an encouraging spirit. She’s always the one to cheer on a job well done.

With Mo there’s never a dull moment. His spirit is one of love and laughter. He also gives good advice.

Masechaba: Mo is crazy and extremely funny. We struggle with takes sometimes because we’re always in stitches!

Refilwe is so easygoing and brings a touch of glamour to the show. Phillip is as real as they come; he keeps the show grounded.

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