Sherlin Barends is one of the three voices that help thousands of Western Cape commuters get to work in good spirits each morning.
Alongside Darren “Whackhead” Simpson and Sibongile “Sibs” Mafu, her unique wit and affectionate personality are two of the reasons the trio walked away with the Best Breakfast Show prize at last year’s Liberty Radio Awards.
“Working with Darren is unpredictable, you never know what to expect,” Sherlin exclaims when asked what it’s like to rub shoulders with this local radio legend.
“He has been in the industry for more than two decades and still shows up every day as if it is his first/last show. Although Whackhead is known for his pranks and humour, he has touched many lives on a deeper level. Just the other day a woman shared how Darren’s previous radio show in Johannesburg ‘saved her life’ during a stint in rehab.”
Sherlin describes Sibs as incredible at what she does, and the team member who brings much-needed sport and spice to the show.
“My work wife and I have shared various special moments off and on-air. Last year the two of us were featured in Marie Claire’s last Naked Issue, which was all about self-love and self-acceptance.”
Asked which memories stand out as a student at Stellenbosch University, Sherlin reveals that, while her grandfather worked there, her own mother wasn’t allowed to study there.
“Therefore, graduating from this once segregated institution definitely stands out for me. Also, being part of SU’s postgraduate journalism class of which only 25 students are accepted each year. Lastly, being named Presenter of the Year at MFM92.6 was another major highlight for me.”
She believes her experience in campus radio, while also studying full-time, has helped a lot to prepare her for her current responsibilities.
“I wanted to leave university with more than just my degree. I was part of Aurora’s HK, played soccer, worked as a part-time waitress and joined campus radio.
“The latter changed my life and opened many doors. I learnt most of what I know from MFM92.6. I would not be the person or presenter I am today if it was not for MFM.”
It is incredibly important for entertainment professionals today to wear multiple professional hats at the same time, she says—adding that, while it is a lot of grafting, she finds it rewarding to be able to work and express herself on various platforms.
“No matter the platform, your content needs to be authentic. Consumers and brands are smart, don’t attempt to fool them. Being yourself can fuel your passions and pay the bills.”
She’s had the opportunity to interview a host of famous local and international icons as part of her career, but who stands out?
“Sitting down with Carlos Santana and his wife/band member Cindy Blackman was a personal highlight. They’re both so aware and in tune with their passion, purpose and power. It’s a beautiful sight.”
Sherlin says she does not buy into the idea of being busy and productive all the time, but rather in striving for balance.
“Working hard and playing hard. I love to hike in Cape Town (it’s prettier than any gym). Eating good food and drinking good wine is always a good idea.”
With her presence found on radio, TV, print and social media, 2019 is certainly proving to be a very busy one already. What’s next?
“Season 2 of the Afrikaans gameshow Wat Maak Jy? is currently airing on VIA (Mondays at 18:00). I’m hoping to record and host the third season later this year. I also write a weekly column for Weekend Argus. It’s a space where I have the time to air divisive opinions.”
She’s always wanted to be the person behind the microphone and camera, however, once you’re in the industry, Sherlin says, you realise that people behind the scenes are actually often the ones with the real power and influence.
“I’m planning to present and produce a feminist digital series later this year. I don’t just want to host content, but produce original content as well. I don’t ever want to stop growing and learning.”
- By Steyn du Toit -