Born at 105 Circular Road, Freetown, Lloyd Randall is a Sierra Leonean TV presenter, actor, documentary-maker, show host, published author, educator, motivational speaker, and currently presenter and Operations Manager at StartimesTV based in China. Born into humble beginnings, his Dad was TV technician and mom was a businesswoman. Lloyd Randall like many Sierra Leoneans while growing up in Sierra Leone had a terrible experience during the civil war that greatly affected his childhood experience. He was among the many young people in Freetown on January 6th 1999 when rebels attacked Freetown, the capital city, and killed thousands of people.
Lloyd Randall attended the Fourah Bay College primary school where he attained his Primary school education as one of the top pupils. He later enrolled at the Sierra Leone Grammar school where he completed his BECE and WACCCE examinations. He scored the best grade in Sierra Leone with an aggregate of six at BECE and got the second best result at the WASSCE examination with 6As and 3Bs. Upon conclusion, he enrolled at the college of Medicine for a year and later left for China after receiving a scholarship. In China, he studied basic Chinese at the Beijing Language and Cultural University, and later scientific Chinese at Tianjin University. He currently holds a diploma in Chinese Language, a Bachelor in IT, and a Masters in Corporate Management/MBA from the Beijing University of Astronauts and Aeronautics- one of the top Universities in China.
In school, Lloyd Randall was a member of the Sierra Leone Grammar School Quiz team which is one of the most decorated in the country after winning most of the inter-secondary school quiz competitions nationwide, He was also a member of the Sierra Leone Grammar school Athletics team, Cricket team and also served as a prefect in his time at the school. .
Lloyd Randall is active in grassroots organizations with an ambition to raise the image of Africans in China and throughout the world, as well as raising the profile of his home country.
Moving to china, Lloyd Randall experienced a lot of challenges ranging from language barrier to a vastly different culture. He relocated to China at time when there were not many blacks/Africans in China that led to culture shock. Through perseverance and dedication, Lloyd Randal was able to learn the Chinese language and this opened a few doors of opportunities for him.
Lloyd Randall has won several accolades for his stellar work across several continents, countries and languages with his name taking a prominent spot in the education history of Sierra Leone through his excellent grades made from primary to secondary school. He is multi-lingual, speaking English, Mandarin and Krio, whilst also currently learning German and Korean. Lloyd has worked alongside globally renowned TV, movie and sports stars, such as Mike Tyson, Steven Seagal and Yao Ming, just to name a few.
Lloyd Randall has covered and hosted big events like; the FIFA football world cup, FIBA basketball world Cup, beauty pageants and starred in commercials for big corporations such as Nike, Lenovo, Tencent, and TikTok.
At Salone Messenger, we had an exclusive interview with him via Whatsapp call a year after he left Sierra Leone
Have you ever dream of becoming a journalist?
“I’m not a journalist in the traditional sense because I did not study journalism in school, In fact I was a science student. It is actually quite interesting how I veered into this career. I have got a degree in IT, Corporate Management and a diploma in Chinese proficiency. So I wouldn’t say I am your quintessential journalist – but I had an experience working with the camera because I was an actor and I had shot some movies, TV shows, advertisements and so on .So when I saw the opportunity to audition for the TV presenter role, I went and like they say ‘the rest is history’. I received some training in presenting/hosting/ at StarTimes. I learned on the job. I don’t think you have to go Journalism school to become a Journalist.”
When were you employed by Startimes? What would you say enabled you to secure the job?
“I started working for StarTimes in 2016, I think I got the job because I had an experience working with camera like I mentioned before. I had shot movies, commercials, TV Shows before I became a TV presenter. These experiences helped me a lot. I am also quite comfortable as a public speaker. I just try to be as authentic and natural as possible. When I went for the audition, the director was like “you are a natural with the camera plus your eloquence helps”. Another advantage was my experience with the Grammar school quiz and debate team. I had the experience of dealing with pressure because we used to compete with the top schools in the land. Some of those quiz competitions had a live audience. Some were aired on national radio and TV. I think that laid the foundation for me.”
What type/kind of journalism you’re doing?
“I will say I am a Jack-Of-All-Trades. I am comfortable as a sports anchor but I am also versatile. I do documentaries too. The “World Cup Trekker”, the documentary I presented in Russia is a fusion of history, culture, geography, travel and sports. When the Covid-19 pandemic started, I was in the newsroom giving weekly updates on the spread of the pandemic. With my masters in Business, I am equally adept at handling Economic news -especially involving Africa and China.”
How is it in the newsroom? What challenges do you face as a young journalist?
“I feel when you work in a very competitive environment, you have to bring your A-game everyday. Sometimes we are sent to cover big global events such as Die-Klassiker, the biggest football game in Germany between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. We also covered the Football World Cup in Russia in 2018 and the Basketball World Cup in 2019. The pressure to deliver is immense. So I will say the biggest challenge is competition. But if you are good at what you do, your talent will do the talking. I have always been very competitive
Which local and or international journalist(s) inspired you?
“Growing up, I used to look up to guys like David Vandi, King Milan, and now there are lot of young people coming up who are doing well. Phebian Swill is doing a good job at AYV, she is hosting some big events and excelling. I am proud of her. Jaime, who writes for the New York Times is like a bother to me and I have the utmost respect for him. I remember reading the sports section of Awoko newspaper a lot when I was a kid and it inspired me. There was a time when Daniel Moseray seemed to rule the airwaves. Isha Sesay being a Sierra Leonean who worked for a major network is also a source of inspiration”
As changes are inevitable and everyone is entitled to one, where would you want to be in the next 5 years? What are your aspirations?
“In the next five years, I want to be more involved in Sierra Leone. I want to shoot movies, TV shows, and documentaries. I feel it is time we tell our own stories; we cannot continue to rely on others to do that for us. So I want to be in Sierra Leone shaping the narrative. If possible I want to have my own media house to guide and encourage young talent. This is my biggest motivation to be back home in some capacity working with my other half (she is in the same field), improving the entertainment and media industry. I will be very happy to do that. I have had a lot of experiences here shooting movies, commercials, advertisements, TV shows, etc. I think with all the experience I have garnered in China and in my travels around the World, I can go back home and pass down what I have learned. That’s the ultimate goal and vision.”
What would be your message to other young journalists coming up or those that are dreaming of becoming one in Sierra Leone?
“For young people in journalism, I think it is a very difficult field because it is not the most respected profession in Sierra Leone, but I will say keep working hard, you need to have passion for it because it is not as lucrative as other carriers might be. It is a field you cannot go into if you don’t have the passion or motivation. Keep motivating yourself and try to fine-tune your craft. Like I said before, it is not the most profitable, but if you want to make a change and positively impact lives, I think you can do a lot in this field/career. Journalism is evolving now. Be willing to listen to people with better experience and knowledge. Learn something new every day, because we all need to keep learning and evolving.