On: Ayanda MVP

Hustle in silence. Let your success be the noise. These words are strewn over the side of Ayanda MVP’s T-shirt and, in a sense, they mirror the radio and club DJ’s trajectory. Born Phindile Ayanda Mdluli, this 26-year-old has been working away in the broadcast arena without getting caught up in the trappings of instant fame. “Of course you can sit there,” she flashes me a smile and motions for me to take a seat next to her as she steers an incredibly intimidating desk into the airwaves. “This is my good, non-face-beat side,” she laughs referring to her make-up free face. She’s relatable like that. You can catch her 947 shows every weekday and even on Saturday. This weekend, she will attend her first 947 Huawei Joburg Day and she’s got some tips to share. “The biggest thing for a first-timer is to come with your squad,” she tells me after her show. “Don’t come alone. And once you have your squad ready, you need to make sure you experience the day from the get-go, so get there early.” Tunes mean a lot to the tall DJ, who studied at the National School of the Arts and then took a gap year to audition for musicals. While getting on stage to sing didn’t pan out the way she’d hoped, Ayanda MVP didn’t complain. She hustled in silence and figured she’d study languages and then psychology and criminology at the University of Pretoria. “This career was not the plan,” she admits. “I was just on campus during orientation week and I saw a stand with a radio and a mic, but I’d never tried radio before.” She became a Tuks FM DJ and “that was the best two-and-a-half years of my life on campus”. After Tuks, she started at YFM where her distinctive deep voice, coupled with catchphrases like “molifeng” – meaning “in this life” – and her charismatic on-air persona established her as a fave. But there was also the big, red, natural hair. I ask her if she felt pressure to change her hair because she is no Read More …

On: Wilson B Nkosi

As a part of The Love Movement, which revolutionised the way South African weekend radio is programmed, Wilson B Nkosi became the Voice of Sunday. As he celebrates 30 years on air, he reflects on his journey and specifically, how it runs parallel to the iconic Metro FM which became a bastion for urban music in Mzansi before and after apartheid. The station celebrates its birthday through an event called the Summerlife Festival this weekend. How did your relationship with music begin? I was born in Mpumalanga, but days later, we moved back to Swaziland where I spent my formative years. In boarding school, I was grounded all the time because I would stay up and listen to music inthrough my headphones long after the prefects had told us to switch off everything off. I couldn’t sing to save my life, but it’s not by default that I’m doing what I’m doing. How did you get into radio? I wrote to the SABC to ask for a job as a broadcaster. At the time, there was Springbok Radio. They responded by saying there’s nothing happening there at ?the moment so I should try Radio Swazi – which is Ligwalagwala FM now. I know beggars can’t be choosers, but I told them: “No, I want to be on Springbok Radio”. In 1986, I received a letter saying the SABC would be launching Radio Metro and that I should audition. I didn’t have a demo. I had never even seen the inside of a radio studio before! I was 19 years old and I made arrangements to come to Johannesburg. I auditioned and I have to assume they liked what they heard because I am still here. What were those first Metro years like? I was a part of the Dream Team. You had Treasure Tshabalala, Lawrence Dube, Timothy Modise, Shado Twala, Sheila D, Lucky Ntuli. And some no-name brand from Swaziland (laughs). It’s a blessing and a privilege to have been a part of that. It was the team to beat. Did the Dream Team believe Radio Bop was the competition? Read More …

On: Fix Moeti

South African-born world traveller Fikile “Fix” Moeti is making a comeback to radio. She spoke to Helen Herimbi about home, hair and the hustle. Memories don’t live like people do/Baby, don’t forget me, I’m a travelling man/Moving through phases, space and time, I’ve got a lot of things I’ve got to do/But God willing I’m coming back to you. Way before he changed his name to Yasiin Bey, Mos Def rapped and sang those words on top of a DJ Honda instrumental and Travelling Man became a hip hop classic. Fikile Moeti, better known to the public as Fix, may not have had anything to do with that song, but she sure lives like a Travelling Man. “I love South Africa,” she tells me, “and you know what? When you’re away from home, you become the proudest patriot of your life. Like, if anyone dares to say anything about South Africa, I’d be like: ‘What are you talking about? South Africa is the best country in the world’. I guess you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” But don’t cry for Fix, Argentina. Fresh from more than a year spent abroad, the multimedia maven has announced that she will be returning to 5FM on April 1. In the year she spent studying business entrepreneurship in Chicago and then a few courses at New York University in their summer, Fix didn’t attempt to be a radio jock. “I thought about being a campus radio DJ, but I was really enjoying the entrepreneurship gig and I was focusing my life around that. With radio, you have to tie yourself down, but I needed a break. The point of going out there is to explore. But I missed it,” she says introspectively. “That’s the truth. I missed it. Radio and TV will always be my number one. I love, love, love, love, love it!” When she returns to 5FM at the top of next month, Fix will be a contributor to a weekend breakfast show (9am to noon) that will be anchored by Rob Forbes. “I’ll be a contributor,” she explains. Read More …

On: YFM’s legacy

“We were young lions then, and children of kwaito,” utters Sibusiso “The General” Nxumalo – YFM’s first Music Manager. But now, 10 years after YFM’s inception, the children aren’t the only ones who’ve grown up. The General spoke to Helen Herimbi about the radio station that pioneered the kwaito movement. When YFM first went on air in 1997, it was clear that it would become a force to be reckoned with. After all, it was the only station that catered specifically for the youth and prided itself on playing kwaito music. The General shares: “The youth needed broader representation. Radio Metro was the only station for urbanised black people, but it wasn’t catering for the young market. Kwaito wasn’t played on Metro and that music needed a platform.” And so a group of friends brought the YFM dream to fruition and invited The General to be a part of it. He explains: “I ran a club, Politburo, and the core group who went to the IBA (Independent Broadcasting Authority) to propose the YFM idea, used to come there. The day they got the licence from the IBA the place was packed. Suddenly Dirk (Hartford) leaned over a tequila and said to me: ‘How would you like to be the Music Manager at Y?’“ Six months later, Politburo folded because, The General says: “I was giving away too many tequilas and drinking too many of them.” And he had a new job lined up. YFM took shape in Bertrams and, because the target audience was the young, black person, it was “a convenient and logical home for Y.” Also because, “the original ethos of Y was that it was to be a revolutionary voice of the post-’76 radical youth. It was way beyond house music and was political, albeit funky.” He continues: “But the move to The Zone tore most of us apart.” Some might argue that this move was proof of the station‘s prosperity and widening audience exposure beyond the township. According to The General: “That’s not where we’d imagined this conscious radio station to be, it seemed to have moved past Read More …