Crown The Brown : Discover The Diaspora – Sureshnie Rieder
Crown The Brown : Discover The Diaspora Series brings you Sureshnie Rieder. South African Radio Personality, MC, Content Creator, Entertainer, Voice over artist and momma dearest Sureshnie Rieder has won our hearts with her endless banter, love for her community and thought provoking segments.
Sureshnie has always been a pillar of strength and representation in our community for many years. We wanted to commemorate her work by knowing more about this powerful woman and life behind the mic! Here is what Sureshnie shared with us!
Sureshnie Rieder, radio personality, MC, DJ, Voice over artist, content creator, entertainer and momma dearest! Wow, a woman filled with purpose! How would you describe the work that you do and yourself to those that might not know you?
I’ve always described myself as a Juggler, keeping all segments of my life up and active. I’ve always enjoyed leading a busy and layered life. My day starts at 4am for the Roger Goode Show. Wraps up late in the evening with either school work or a good Korean series. The in-between is filled with voice overs and interviews. Mostly getting school supplies before my daughter comes home to help with her homework and family time.
I’ve been in the Broadcast industry for 23 years. My life has been the most amazing adventure at 4 different radio stations. Working hard to create my own unique brand. If you and I met for the first time, it would a day filled with Tea, spicy food and endless laughter. I live with the mantra that if you believe in yourself, you can make it happen.
I truly owe a lot of who I am to the family I come from. I’m a proud South Indian South African with the wildest set of dreams. I’m driven by passion and I pride myself in being culturally and spiritually connected to my roots. I will always endeavor to leave you in a better space than when I first met you. I’m sunshine like that!
You’re extremely involved in the world of entertainment and it makes us so proud to see the work that you do. What inspired your love for radio and entertainment in general?
I grew up in a home that fully encouraged culture and music. My parents always had the radio on. For me it was an actual physical interest in the radio set. I was so fascinated by these voices that as a little kid, I was convinced that the presenters lived in this booming box. Spent my youth, writing song lyrics that I heard on the radio, mimicking the voice artists on adverts or just spending hours listening to every song and every link.
Similarly, I loved that ‘Theater of the Mind’ world that radio created. I was a very imaginative child. Radio truly fueled my love for fantasy and the arts. I pursued Journalism and focused on Broadcast media as my speciality.
As a South African Indian in the entertainment industry, we’re sure you were able to represent to the best of your ability and it’s admirable to see. You’ve gained a lot of experience in your line of work, what are some of the highlights and challenges you’ve experienced throughout your career?
I think for me as a South African Indian, I looked beyond the idea of being stereotyped. I’ve always wanted to work at 5fm, and that was my ultimate goal. I was lucky to be exposed to so many cultures and integrated societies as a child. Each radio station I worked with, afforded me opportunities to really cement my love for diversity.
I faced many challenges, but I knew how invested I was in this dream, I really wanted to make it my reality. My career has taken me to all parts of the world. I got to stand on the orange carpet in LA at the Nickelodeon Kids choice awards. Interviewing the likes of Will Smith. I’ll never forget as a young reporter meeting and interviewing Fidel Castro and at a 5fm meeting and interviewing Taylor Swift all the way in Nashville Tennessee.
When I was growing up, I obsessively listened to the World Chart Show. That was the only show I wanted to be on. Years later my dream came true, where i got to host the 5fm Top40. My ultimate highlight was winning a radio award for this particular show. For me it was the most powerful validation that your affirmations do come true.
Jayan Moodley, director and writer for the movie Keeping Up with the Kandasamy’s gave me an opportunity of a life time in my cameo role as myself in the second installment of that franchise. That was a life changing moment and for that moment I will be forever grateful to the Jayan and her stellar cast!
You’ve always been a pillar of strength, unity and diversity on your platform and you’re very vocal on the love of unity in the rainbow nation. What does representation mean to you and do you think that the industry has been more inclusive over the years from your own experience?
Thank you for all these warm and kind words. I am so humbled by them. For me representation for brown people, is very important. It is important for many people to see a piece of themselves in others to truly have a sense of belonging.
Many are trying to dismantle a system that has held them oppressive for many years and shut them outside the door to a world with so much possibility. I always fought to break down those ‘doors’ and not allow myself to be boxed or stereotyped.
I always wanted people to hear Sureshnie the Broadcaster and not be defined by my Race group. So I have always pushed those boundaries and also used my voice to call out practices that did not sit right with me. I have always made my path and I think I have won people over with my hard work, loyalty and commitment to any project.
Representation on all levels means we each can see a part of ourselves in others. We can each as individuals aspire to reach those levels in society and unveil another layer of possibility. My industry has been extremely inclusive, and I’ve grown to work with fascinating and talented humans from all walks of life.
With all the issues happening worldwide , as a mom it can be quite triggering to see the news in terms of gender based violence, human trafficking and more. As a mom, what are some coping mechanisms you’d advise others regarding protective measures with young kids and the issues currently impacting our youth?
This topic absolutely numbs me to the core. As a parent to a daughter, I have so much to navigate with my child. Then having to focus on issues like this is just a treacherous path to walk. From our side of parenting, my husband Leigh and I approach everything in life with our daughter with open and honest conversations.
Pavani learns from what she sees and experiences from us. So we are very cognisant of the examples we set. We are always monitoring our social media footprint and we choose when to have our child on social media etc. When it comes to Gender based violence, we make sure our child sees what a healthy relationship looks like.
When she is in the world navigating her way, we hope she remembers the examples we set. So that she can suss and differentiate between what is love and what is not. I’m constantly advising her about her own safety and that of her friends. How she needs to be alert and aware. It absolutely breaks my heart that this has become the focal point of her childhood. We can’t be as carefree.
However, we have made it a lifestyle practice when it comes to safety and being alert. Social Media monitoring and being observant on what your kids consume off the internet is so imperative in protecting them. I truly urge all parents to find apps where you can monitor what kids are exposed to. It is a very frightening world out there.
On our page, we focus a lot on representation and the issues impacting on the South Asian community on a global scale. What are some social issues that you think we as a South African Indian community are impacted by and can work towards changing?
I think there are many social issues affecting our particular community. We need to rally on several things in order to restore what has been lost. Either from a moral side or a social side. I would love to see our youth mobilise themselves to become community builders. We have a lot of apathy when it comes to local politics or being present when it comes to issues that affect a community.
I would love to see more young people and youth organizations take a more active role in building a community. Fighting poverty and crime. We also need to take a very strong introspection into Mental health and especially suicide and depression.
Growing up one of the issues that I always felt was prevalent in my community was colourism. The unhealthy obsession of being light skinned. That struggle used to haunt me and still does today. But it took many years of realizing that it is skin deep. There are many ways to dismantle that horrible stereotype.
I truly hope that in the era we now live in, we can move away from the superficial obsession with skin colour and focus on improving our service to humanity.
As a community, there is a lack of support at times. How can we as a community work towards creating more support and empowerment?
I think all communities can do with help and support. During the COVID pandemic, many people were retrenched, reshaping their idea of creating financial support. I used this time to support local in every way.
I shop local and I make an ardent and earnest effort to get behind the small and micro enterprises in my community to help them make a living. For me that is the best form of empowerment. Support people’s dreams by buying into them. Support them in every level that you can.
Having faith and belief in the community around you can only make for a stronger civil society. Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains.
What are some future projects we can look forward to?
I’m absolutely loving being on the Roger Goode Show, and I’ve been extending my radio work to other broadcast projects too.
I’m launching my podcast series soon. I’ve been sitting on this content for years. I think now feels right to share a little bit of Sush with the world.
I’m always immersing myself into new projects. The pandemic has truly reshaped the traditional form of my industry. It is exciting times and I have lots coming through.
What advice can you give other aspiring creators or entertainers wanting to create change or wanting to find their way in terms of the industry?
My advice for others is based on a stunning quote from Rumi – ’The flower does not compete with the flower next to it, it just blooms.’ So if each if you focus on what makes you happy, your purpose and your ambition, it will help you carve your own path. Its important to find your own voice and be authentic to what resonates with you. If you are authentic to your craft it will ensure longevity in any industry.
Hard work never killed anyone. I try my best to give every project I do, a 100 percent of my love, attention and mostly respect. Research is so important. I know we live in this ‘microwave generation’ where we want instant gratification but it does not always work that way.
Put in the effort, take time to research what you want to do and practice your craft. We can’t be clapping for mediocrity either. You need to truly be proud of the effort or work you are creating. That becomes part of the legacy you leave behind.
The moment you are able to liberate yourself off of the opinions of others, the moment you can live with your truth and your authenticity, is where you will find your own peace. That is how I choose to move through this world.
“Leaving a little bit of kindness and a lot of sunshine on my path.”
It’s no surprise that Sureshnie has certainly made a name for herself with her outstanding brand and work that she has done in the community. Her love for radio and entertainment certainly reflects, as well as her passion for culture and her roots.
We love the manner in which Sureshnie brings the nation together through entertainment, showing us the importance of ‘ubuntu’ and being proud of your roots! Be sure to follow her journey on Instagram @sureshnierider !