Up Close & Personal with William Lehong
E.tv's sports news anchor and radio presenter William Lehong is the kinda guy that has every reason to walk around with a chip on his shoulder. You must have seen the man on your TV sets and heard him on radio, with his "aaaauuuuwww!" signature of his Pyjama Party show.
If so, surely you agree that it would be hard to deny that the sassy presenter, also known as the Black Chinese, displays all qualities of the modern age man - success complemented with good looks.
In a society that is money-, sex- and status-driven it's not strange to also expect someone of that calibre to be somewhat pompous.
But meeting the host, it's refreshing to discover that he's quite laid-back, and this is well reflected in his outfit: A plain shirt and blue jeans.
And how can I forget to mention that he is a whole hour early for our meeting. Impressive! William also describes himself as a simple guy.
"I'm still to date the most down to earth guy," he says. "I'm humble. Humility is key in this industry."
Could his admission to that statement be an indication of the opposite, I ask - after all who doesn't want to sound smart, be liked and be the guy everyone says about, 'Oh, he's soo humble!'
He insists he isn't posed or rehearsed; that what you see is what you get. And it doesn't take too long to see where his sense of assuredness comes from. He shares his admiration for his parents and grandparents, the people he says groomed him to be the person he is.
".nothing makes up for spending time with family at home," he beams.
"When you go home you feel at home, there's a homely spirit. I have no qualms about staying at home and chilling with family."
He fondly recalls memories of his late grandfather who taught him how to ride a cart.
And his never-say- die grandmother who he says is older than Nelson Mandela and is still going strong.
"My grandmother still does everything for herself, she plants watermelon and mielies," he says proudly.
He smiles and adds that his parents, though they divorced and re-married new partners, always showed him support, a role he's more than happy to bestow on his younger siblings.
"I've always been that guy that they look up to. Both my parents - my mom and dad - still say [to his siblings] '.go to your brother, he might know.'
"I'm that go-to guy," he laughs. "I play the role, because that's how I was raised, I have younger siblings, so naturally that protective spirit takes over."
Something he says his 10- year-old daughter also reminds him of daily.
"I've learned that I need to be grounded, that I'm not just a guy, I'm a dad. I need to be selfless," he says eminently.
He chuckles: "But I'm a disciplinarian. My kid knows [that] if you're good you're rewarded, if you're bad you get nothing."
The presenter is also a singer - another feather in his cap.
"Since 2009, I've been taking voice coaching lessons with [songwriter and producer] RJ Benjamin.
"It'll come as a surprise to my followers that I can sing. I can compose and make music, I am self-taught, so I can't read your musical notes but I have an ear for it."
He sits far back on his chair, pauses as if to take it all in. He says he'll be recording house music and hopes to release the project early next year.
"I can't dance to save my life. My motto when I do come out will be 'I can't dance, but I'll make you dance'," he says, laughing.
William has to leave - he has to prepare for his slot on e.tv night news.
Once again, he reiterates that how he was raised has everything to do with how he handles himself in the public eye.
THIS & THAT
- Born William Moyahabo Lehong.
- Is 31 years old.
- Was named after his grandfather.
- Grew up in Katlehong, East Rand.
- Studied Electrical Engineering at the Vaal Triangle Technikon.
- The Black Chinese guy was birthed in primary school when his white friend assumed William Lehong was a Chinese name.
- Was a good athlete in high school, running 100m relay, "but the problem starts when you start having sex and noticing girls".
- Got his first radio job in 2007 at BBC Radio Today.
- Later worked at Radio 702, Yfm and now Metro FM.
- Loves watching reality TV shows.
- Hopes to get married and have three more children; and
- Hopes to voice Disney movies.