Lockdown in London sucks! Former Yo.TV star Sade Giliberti opens up about life, love and her hopes for the year

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Sade still receives tons of love and support from her fans back home in South Africa. (PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ @SADEGILIBERTI)
Sade still receives tons of love and support from her fans back home in South Africa. (PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ @SADEGILIBERTI)

She was a fan favourite for years, best remembered for the bubbly energy she brought to SABC1’s Yo.TV.

She spread her wings and left South Africa for London a few years ago, but local supporters were thrilled to see a clip on social media recently of Sade Giliberti doing her thing on UK TV show It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere. We chat to her to find out all about her life now. 

What was your motivation for moving to the UK in 2015?

A lot happened that influenced my decision, both personally and work-wise. I’d come to the end of a journey in South Africa and needed to try new things – and, of course, in the final hour, as it would happen, I was offered all these amazing roles. Presenting gigs, producing gigs, directing gigs . . . but I turned them all down and stuck to my guns. On a personal level, my sister, who lives in Italy, was having her first child, and I wanted to be closer to her. I’m now two nephews in and get to see my family in Italy as often as I want – well, pandemic aside, of course.  

Tell us a few of your favourite projects you’ve worked on since you left? 

As a freelancer, I’m really diversifying my skill set and doing things I probably never would’ve done in South Africa. I’ve worked on live magazine shows, one of them being It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere. I love live TV – it’s the best feeling ever. Last year I collaborated with an LGBTQ+ and mental health app in the US as well as on a few Ted Talk-style talks, which I thoroughly enjoyed and hope to do more of. Apparently I’m a natural speaker! Apparently I’m a natural speaker! I also got to be the Programme Director for the first ever Global LGBTQ+ Network Conference that took place in 2018, which was such a huge honour.  And recently produced and sound-produced my first audio play, there are talks of another in the pipeline. 

You’re remembered as the vibey, cool, energetic girl from Yo.TV. What lessons from that time are still with you today? 

Ha ha! We’re old now . . . Wow! Everything that I learnt while working on Yo.TV is still very much prevalent in my life today. I wouldn’t be the presenter I am today if it wasn’t for Yo.TV. Learning to read an auto cue when you’re 11 years old and doing live TV when you’re 15/16 years old and continuing to do that until you’re 21 years old will really shape you as an artist. I’ll always be grateful for that time of my life. 

Do you still feel like South Africa is home, or have you fully settled into life that side with your partner?

South Africa will always be my first home. Always. I am settled here, though – it will be six years at the end of February so I’ve been here long enough to feel settled. However, we could also move to another country, or back to South Africa, and start a home there. I believe that home is a feeling and not a place but for now, London is my home with Chané [Scallan], my partner. 

What do you miss most about SA? 

Oh, my days! Besides the people, it’s got to be the food. Every time I come back to SA, I stock up on all the Robertsons spices. The spices in UK supermarkets are just not it, man! I miss the terrain too – South Africa has got to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world and I miss driving through it and exploring all corners of it. Don’t get me wrong, the UK is beautiful as well and I do love it here, but it’s not the same.  How often do you come home? I normally try to come back once a year – well, I used to before the pandemic happened. Last time I was in SA was in November 2019 for an MC gig. 

You use your position and platform to share info and educate others on various social issues like mental health and depression, which you’ve personally dealt with. What has helped you get through some rough days during the pandemic? 

In all honesty, it’s been Chané. I don’t think I would’ve coped at all if it wasn’t for her. We’ve kept each other strong. We actually got a lot closer in lockdown, which I am so grateful for. I mean, when you know, you know, right? She’s just the one. We went on many walks, we tried as often as we could to get out into nature – and not just the local park, I mean going on hikes, going to forests or going to the sea. Nature really does heal.

How has lockdown living in the UK been? 

Lockdown in London sucks, it really does. It’s cramped, even for a big city, and there are always people everywhere. I think the worst are the runners. No offence to any runners, but you can’t just go for a simple walk here without 10 000 sweaty, puffy, spitting runners pushing you or breathing hot air down your back. Big ups to them for keeping it up even in 5° weather, but they can’t keep their distance.

What are you staying hopeful for in 2021?

Seeing my friends and family again. But also seeing more compassion in this world. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we need more compassion. So here’s to more love and light in 2021 and being unapologetically yourself. Of course, career-wise, I’m remaining hopeful that something great is coming, whether in SA or here in the UK. We ain’t out here hustling for nothing.

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