Michael Junia Stainbank

Sports journalist, eNCA

Junia Stainbank is a multi-award-winning journalist with a particular passion for highlighting women’s sporting action in South Africa. Having studied theatre and film in New York City and attending The National School of the Arts as a child means that self expression, passion and and creativity are key for him. Broadcasting runs in his blood.

His father, Mike Stainbank, was one of the first black news readers in the country. Years later, he himself is in broadcasting, but is solidifying his niche in the world of sport. His contribution and passion for storytelling in sports has had him named the current Vodacom South African Sports Journalist of the Year as well as South African TV Sports Reporter of the Year.

” I wake up because the athletes wake up. I need to reach people and tell their stories,” he says. It is one of the biggest factors that keep him going. After struggling to find employment, his transition into the world of sports as a career happened by chance.

“With little to do, my friends and I would sit around watching, analysing, talking about sports throughout the 2010 FIFA World Cup.” Fool Time — a web-based series — developed from there, becoming a light-hearted sports analysis show with a very small audience base. Due to financial constraints, the project was discontinued. He then applied at eNCA, where his professional career took off and he now thrives. He believes he can learn from everybody. The late artist Prince continues to influence him greatly. “His reluctance to be constrained allowed him to be the best version of himself to the end,” Stainbank says. Closer to home, his eldest sister Corrine Louw is his role model.

“She sees what needs to be done and does it with humility,” an inspiration he draws from for his own life. Defining the legacy he wants to create involves integrity-which he sees as knowing what is at stake at all times and not compromising himself at any cost. “The best thing you can be is of some use,” he says. While he has a strong focus on highlighting women’s football, athletics and cricket for the nation, he is also passionate about the arts. Creating documentaries is also on the cards for him — involving himself in work that challenges the status quo.

— Leigh Wils

Twitter: @mjstainbank