Women’s Month: Getting To Know Cato Louw

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TV and Radio personality, Cato Louw, has been defying stereotypes in the sports industry for the last 8 years since becoming one of South Africa’s youngest female sports broadcasters.

This month, South Africa commemorates Women’s Month as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. Since then, women have been breaking barriers and doing exceptional things. We think it’s only fitting that we get to know the powerhouse that is Cato Louw.

What do you love most about sports?

For me, sport is about unity and overcoming whatever boundary has been set before you. It’s about that impossible victory, it’s about that moment you get to share with millions of people across the globe no matter your background, income, social status, race, gender, whatever ‘limit’ you have, it’s forgotten. In the moment you or your team are victorious, it’s uplifting, it’s inspiring and it’s an important part of any society.

So, to answer the question: There isn’t only one thing I love about sports, it’s all of it.

How did you discover your passion for sports and create a career out of it?

Sport has always been part of my life; my dad was an avid tennis player. He played for Border, so many weekends were spent next to the tennis court with televised rugby matches afterwards and then having siblings, that sort of automatically activates your competitive gene.

Fast forward to 2007, when the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup for a second time and right there, I decided I wanted to be part of something like that, whether it was part of the team or behind the scenes.

My big dream was to become the Springbok physiotherapist. I know right! Who would’ve thought? I got into the University of Stellenbosch for BsC Sports Science where that would hopefully put me on track to get to the Boks, but life had other interesting plans that led me to MFM 92.6 – our campus community radio station.

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Thanks to MFM I discovered that there is something like sports broadcasting: JACKPOT! I spent about 6 years at the station, going from a volunteer presenter to award winning Breakfast Show host. All this while studying!

From there I was offered a job at EWN Sport as a freelance sports presenter and I also went for an audition to become one of SuperSport’s new rugby anchors, which I got! And the rest is history as they say.

Something I learnt throughout these years is that nothing happens overnight and if you really work towards something, and I mean really put your shoulder to the wheel, it will happen maybe not at the time you think, but it will happen.

Describe the highs and lows of working in a male-dominated industry.

The lows are mostly the same as any male-dominated industry – sexism, lack of opportunities, women tend to replace women which means there’s only ever one or two women in certain rooms etc.

In sports broadcasting though, I’ve struggled with sexism. Sports fans or people in charge are so passionate about their teams or players and the way ‘things have been done’, they are not shy to verbalize how they feel about a woman talking to them about rugby – they will make it heard. If you are having a tough day already, sexist slurs or jokes can be extremely frustrating and just plain unfair. But again, it’s nothing new unfortunately.

A major high for me is that I get to work with some of the biggest legends of professional sport and broadcasting and luckily, my co-workers on productions or radio shows are very supportive and back me 100%.

How would you describe the most memorable moments in your career thus far?

Thrilling! Over the last couple of years, I’ve had some amazing moments, I’ve worked on Varsity Cup finals, Currie Cup matches, an international Junior Springbok series to name a few. For me though, just getting an opportunity at SuperSport was a big moment in my career. Getting to hold that famous ‘S’ microphone and work on a channel I’ve been watching since I can remember.

Last year, I was part of the Rugby World Cup final production team. I was reporting from a fan park in Cape Town and I got to say, within seconds of the final whistle, that “the Springboks are three-time World Champions!” Unforgettable.

I also have the privilege to be part of two great radio shows daily on KFM and CapeTalk (The Flash Drive and The John Maythem Drive Show) where I get to talk about sport which, of course, I love.

What has been the highlight of your relationship with Falke as their ambassador?

All the awesome socks aside, the team have literally stuck with me since Day One! I only just started as a full-time sports presenter on campus radio and they were there treating me like I’ve made it already! I felt welcomed and important, and that has never changed.

So, I would say their loyalty and unwavering support has been the highlight for me. Also, making people jealous with my matching colorful socks has been a personal treat.

What has been your favourite Falke collection or specific sock and why?

Tough one. Personally, I love the ‘Stride’ and ‘Hidden Cool’ collection/sock. It’s comfortable in any brand of shoe and gives the right support for a run or gym session.

Another one I love is the ‘All Terrain’ for hikes or even just long walks, the material is comfortable and breathable while being durable at the same time.

The Falke stockings are also a classic I can’t live without! I’ve survived many cold days at a Craven Week production because of them.