‘Charming’ Rawmarsh student wins BBC’s search for a new presenter

By Adele Forrest | 08/02/2019

‘Charming’ Rawmarsh student wins BBC’s search for a new presenter
Winner Sile Sibanda

AN “ENTHUSIASTIC” Rotherham student has landed her dream journalism job at the BBC after beating dozens of other hopefuls to become a new presenter.

Sile Sibanda (21), of Rawmarsh, was announced this morning (Friday) as the winner of BBC Radio Sheffield’s search for a new star competition, This Is Me.

The former Rawmarsh Community School pupil has won a 12-month paid contract at the radio station after being whittled down from 150 entrants.

“I’m speechless to have won," said Sile. "It’s wonderful.”

Sile said she had had a spooky premonition about working at the BBC, adding: “Before I knew about this competition I was walking past Radio Sheffield with a friend and said that one day my picture would be among all the presenters at Radio Sheffield. And now I’m going to be working there. It really is a dream come true.”

The announcement was made to listeners on Toby Foster’s breakfast show this morning (Friday).

Toby said: “All three finalists were brilliant but Sile just edged it. She’s fun, charming, has a great personality and she’s passionate about our patch.  

“She wants to make a difference and now she’s got the chance to do just that. We can’t wait to get her on board.”

Sile is also a poet, public speaker and a lover of puzzles. She was born in Zimbabwe and moved to Rotherham with her family when she was 12 years old.

She is currently in her third and final year at the University of Derby studying forensic science and psychology and attended the This Is Me auditions at the New York Stadium in December.  

Budding broadcast journalists auditioned in front of judges Toby Foster, BBC Look North presenter Amy Garcia, and Radio Sheffield editor Katrina Bunker. Magid Magid — the Lord Mayor of Sheffield and one of the station’s evening show presenters — also joined the judging panel for part of the day.

The top 15 candidates attended interviews at Radio Sheffield last month and following that a final three were selected. Sile was up against the two other finalists — Matthew Weigold and Abby Russell, both of Sheffield.

Sile will be fully trained and supported by experienced BBC producers and journalists and alongside reporting for Radio Sheffield, she may also appear on other BBC radio, TV or digital programmes.

Katrina Bunker, BBC Radio Sheffield managing editor, said: “Sile has fought off some really tough competition to win This Is Me. We had over 150 applicants and Matthew, Abby and Sile all stood out.  

“Sile was the final winner because her sunny personality, curiosity and enthusiasm for radio and her passion for the area came together in the perfect package.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part in the This Is Me auditions. The calibre of the applicants was incredibly high and I was genuinely blown away by the talent out there in our region.”

Sile will start her new role in the spring.