DJ KCI back on the air
Owes comeback to God - 'Everything fell apart the day I was fired. But I thank God because being jobless for five years helped me understand myself better'
IT IS AMAZING what life can do. It can bring down the mightiest of egos through its trials and tribulations. That is what it did to popular Umhlobo Wenene FM jock Mthobeli "KCI" August.
In his heyday, it was almost impossible to get an interview with the flamboyant DJ. But these days he is as humble as a lamb.
The ever-daring radio DJ, who is known for his witty sense of humour and outrageous dress sense, tells Sowetan that the past few years of unemployment have taught him a few lessons about life.
August, who hosts Masigoduke, a very popular afternoon drive show, was first suspended and then fired from the station in November 2007 after a fall-out with then station manager Nada Wotshela about his choice of music.
However in April this year, he was re-hired by the station. The changes came at a time when the station was not doing well.
"Everything fell apart the day I was fired. I lost friends and my music dreams fell apart.
"But I thank God because being jobless for five years helped me find myself. It made me understand myself better."
He says that while he was off the air, his childhood friend Melumzi Mhlawuli was his only source of hope, inspiration and a great support.
"Melumzi was there for me. He always reminded me of the things we used to do when growing up. His understanding of the person that I am was very instrumental in making him an inspiration."
August says he had to do small gigs including being an MC at imigidi (traditional parties), weddings, concerts and parties to make a living.
"Things were really tough for me. I literally lived from hand to mouth. I had to go back home to Adelaide in the Eastern Cape to find myself. I even changed my name back to Mthobeli. But my fans still insisted on calling me KCI.
"The love I received from my radio fans was wonderful. I did not know how to respond to it. People still lauded me as their star. It was very humbling," he says.
He says he was at home minding his own business earlier this year when the Umhlobo Wenene boss came knocking at his door.
"I was invited back by the radio gods. My boss told me that I was needed urgently. It was a very beautiful feeling. I knew when I left that it was not the end.
"I believe so much in prayer that the moment I was shown the door I knelt on my knees and prayed to God about my fate. My grandmother who raised me taught me to trust in the power of prayer."
During his five-year absence, the memories of August's breezy banter, coupled with a readily identifiable choice of jokes, kept him in the hearts of his listeners.
Immediately after his dismissal, some fans demanded his reinstatement, but to no avail.
When the news about his return to Umhlobo Wenene reached his fans' ears, the social networking pages went gaga.
So where did he get his surreal sense of humour?
He says contrary to the belief that his sense of humour comes naturally, he writes down his jokes and rehearses them before going on air.
"It comes from years of experience of being a comedian.
"While I was a student at Thubalethu High in Fort Beaufort, selling fat cakes, I used to entertain people with the way I marketed my wares.
"Everybody knew my name."