Siyabonga Ntuli: The roller coaster of being a female camera operator.

Life has its own detours. It requires the tenacity in order to identify the pivotal aspect of it. 

Most women whirl around with fear, intimidation and scepticism because of the hostility that's roaming in the media industry. On the bright side the few women who are already in the industry have mastered their craft while others are in the process. In essence, Some women find it hard to adapt because of how the society has shaped the perspective between women and men. 

Today we had a chat with Siyabonga Hlengiwe Ntuli who was born and bred in Soweto. Her journey started at Damelin where she completed her diploma in broadcasting journalism and filmmaking. She is currently a Senior camera operator in the sports industry at Vision View Productions. She also owns a production company called Siyacharmer Production which focuses mainly on LGBTQ content.

In 2008, She broke out of a long-term unemployment with an internship at the very same company she is working at now. Throughout her journey she encountered different challenges but soldiered on. She had an opportunity to travel varying countries covering sports such as 2012 Paralympics, Olympics, 2010 World cup, 2014 Commonwealth games etc. Her tenacity and thrive started paying off the day she scored herself an award from then minister of sports Fikile Mbalula.

Siya said that she chose camera because its seldom to find a woman behind the scene. Her aim was to top it off and break the record. It took her many shoots to realise that the camera has an impact on her as a female in the sports industry. Now, she has accepted that we live in a patriarchal system-Men haven't accepted the fact that both genders have the same mental and sometimes physical capabilities. She also stressed that men are insecure...women can dim men's light.

Have you ever encountered unfair treatment due to your gender?

" Earlier on my career I had to deal with a countless of them and  the only way out was to do what I do best and shut the nay sayers doubters. So I really let my work do the talking."

Please Share an incident you remember

" I had to interview one of the broadcasters. When I was setting up, he looked at the guy I was working with and said no no you cant be the one shooting me, I should let my senior, the guy who was training me to shoot, and I will ask questions,  also a lot of people thought I cant shoot so why not be a PA or stay in the office and do logistics and send emails"

So how do you defend yourself or where do you draw the line? 

" I don't fight or need to defend myself. The stereotype that women must fight must come to an end. I think throughout the years I have developed a thick skin and I don't let people phase me. I borderline don't care or the need to prove myself."

How is it working in a male dominated industry? 

"I don't think I am aware of enjoyment of it as a female. I just think and wish there was balance of both sexes that there is representation, diversity and inclusion."

What can you tell an entry level to lookout for? 
" Not necessarily lookout for but to know and understand, the hard work it takes to get to a certain level and there are no shorts cuts.

Lastly. please give three words to describe your experience as a female camera operator in the sports industry.

Thank you for taking your time to share with us your thoughts and take out pointers of being a female camera operator in the sports industry.
I would love to know other troubles in which women face in the media industry. Please Let me know in the comment below

Love Musa. 




  1. Very inspiring and carying essence. Surely by today we should be realizing that gender was never designed to be a limitation of to anyone in any way. We thou jeopardize ourselves by at times thinking less of our capabilities. Nice piece to read


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